I started using recreational drugs, or what I thought were recreational drugs, in high school. I started smoking pot, doing speed and taking acid. When I was 22 or 23, I quit using drugs and, besides a little drinking, was clean for a few years. Then I had two children and a couple months after my second was born I started shooting up. It was 2008 and I was 27.
I had been against needles my whole life, but I found out my husband was doing it every once in a while. I was devastated, but eventually started doing it with him. When he used, he could do it once every couple months, but the day I started shooting up I began doing it every day. I did it for five or six years, every single day, five to forty times a day. Heroin, pills, meth, whatever I could get. I don’t know how I’m still alive.
It gets to the point where you have to do it to survive. You know how they show it on movies when people go through withdrawals? You think it is pretty extreme and overplayed? It is worse than that. You can’t sleep, you can’t eat or drink, it is the worse feeling ever. I remember being sick and not able to get up and feed my kids. My seven year old would climb up in the cupboards to get himself something to eat.
The habit is so expensive, I sold the drugs to people I knew who were also addicted. They would give me drugs if I got rid of some, but I didn’t feel I was a drug dealer. I was giving them to my friends who were sick and helping them, or so I thought. My habit was two hundred to a thousand dollars per day. The electricity and water were always getting shut off, our house was in foreclosure I don’t know how many times. I had a friend who worked at a gas station and she would let me steal things, so I would get convenience store food for the kids to eat. The drugs were a priority over everything.
You are so desperate, you do terrible things. I stole from my family, even my sister-in-law who was in ninth grade. I stole check blanks so I could buy things and return them for cash. My husband had also started getting high every day and if we were high together we got along well, so I just tried to keep us both high all of the time.
When I was shooting up, nobody would have known, except I was skinny and my arms were really bad. You don’t really act any different, or so I thought.
Everybody thinks they start using because it’s something fun, but I believe now, it’s to mask some sort of pain, to escape from reality. I was probably trying to forget some abusive relationships.
My family had an intervention and I lied and said I went to the doctor to go on methadone. Of course I continued using and they had another intervention to tell me they were going to have the kids taken away.
Finally someone turned me in to Social Services, it may have been my family, or the school because my son missed so much. When you first start using drugs your house is immaculate because you clean constantly, but then nothing is a priority except getting high. They came to my house and it was trashed. But, I passed the UA (urinary analysis), possibly because they weren’t testing for opiates back then.
So I had to meet with a social worker once a month and a child advocate would come to help me get the house cleaned up. I was also on probation at the time. (In 2008 I got pulled over, my license was suspended and they found a tin with a pill in it in my vehicle. I was arrested for paraphernalia and put on probation.)
I avoided the social worker so many times, she finally said I had to meet with her or there would be consequences. She then called my probation officer and they searched the house. They found a bag of garbage with paraphernalia in it that we had forgotten to throw away. I was arrested and spent twelve days in jail. That is when the kids got taken away and were sent to live with their grandparents.
You would have thought it would be rock bottom for me and I would decide to get cleaned up and get my kids back. It just seemed so hopeless that gave me an excuse to do even more. December 1st they came to my house and arrested me. I convinced them to put me on house arrest and when they were at my house setting up my ankle bracelet a DEA agent came in, went right to our ‘hiding spot’, and I was sent back to jail an hour later.
I knew that time I was going to prison. I wanted to go to prison so bad, because jail is awful. I was sentenced to the women’s prison for 18 months. That was the first time in my life that I had time to figure me out. There are counselors, case workers, all kinds of people to help.
While in prison I got served with an A Felony and AA Felony. I thought I was never getting out. My mom hired an attorney and he was able to work out an 18 month sentence with five years probation. I went to Jamestown for treatment after a year in prison. I had heard horror stories about that place, but it was the best thing ever. They don’t focus on drugs, they focus on why you used them in the first place. It makes you realize all the things in your life that caused you to use. My counselor was a real tough love lady. I was there four months.
I had called a friend, Dave, a couple weeks before I got out of treatment. He told me he had cleaned up and I was so excited because I was wondering who I was going to talk to when I got out. I had already called my husband and told him we were going to have to live apart because I had done so much work, he was going to have to get cleaned up, too. I had to stay away from that environment. I found out he was in a relationship with someone else and we separated. I got paroled, but didn’t have a place to go. I was finally able to get paroled to my mom’s house.
I had taken Parenting and Cognitive Thinking classes in prison and did twelve weeks of after care when I got out, which was March 15, 2010. I eventually ended up staying with Dave at his trailer, just as friends, and the kids would start coming to stay with me one night a week, and some weekends. Dave and I eventually fell in love, bought a house in October and after a year I filed for custody.
I finally got legal custody in April of 2012, but they had been living with me for a year already. They both go to counseling. I will tell them anything. I want them to know that if you use drugs, this is what happens to you. While you are using, you are not only doing awful things to your family, you are doing awful things to your body. I have to get dentures because my teeth rotted out. I have hepatitis C from needle usage.
In the meantime I had gotten a divorce and became pregnant. Dave and I are getting married October 5th. This is the first time in my life I have been happy. Obviously I will always be an addict, but I will never use again.
When I was really, really sick I would pray that God would just make it go away and make me not want to use drugs. Nothing ever seemed to happen. I remember November 30th, the night before I got arrested, I remember praying and crying for it all to go away. I know God answers prayer, just not always how you want at the time.
Every time I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it got worse. I don’t know if having my kids taken away was the lowest point or the horrible things I did to the people I love…what I put my kids through, what I put my family through. That was probably the worst.
If you don’t have support when you get out, you are destined to use again. Too many people get out and go back to the same environment they left.
I am really happy things worked out the way they did, but when I think about what my kids went through, that is absolutely heartbreaking. When I first got out, I could not even really look at them without crying. They live a good life now and I really feel they are the survivors not me.
On December 1st of this year, Becca will celebrate five years of being clean and sober.