Drug addiction and the holidays do not mix well. I usually couldn’t get a ride to our family Christmas celebrations, but when I could, I usually fought with everyone. One year I remember my mom calling just to see if I was alive. Another year I was in jail.
One Christmas, when I was a new mom, my mother had legal custody of my daughter. I remember going to her house for Christmas Eve. After dinner and presents, she told me I had to leave, that my time was up. I can’t even begin to explain to you how frustrating it is to hear that you can’t spend Christmas Eve with your child because of drugs.
Meth was that light switch I couldn’t turn off. I was powerless against it and it seemed like I was addicted after one hit. Social services took my daughter in 2008; that was the worst day of my life. I can remember telling her that mommy is sick, but will get better. Unfortunately, my daughter remembers it too and probably always will. I have to accept that and move forward.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been in recovery for four years. I am back at Arapahoe House, but this time it’s different. I am on the other side of treatment as a peer mentor at two programs: New Directions for Families (women and their young children) and Aspen Center for Women (pregnant women). I help women who are going through what I went through, which supports my recovery as well.
It is hard on my heart to see these women and know that I was once there too.
What I really like about Arapahoe House is that if someone leaves treatment and relapses, they are welcomed back. Most people don’t understand that relapse can be a part of this disease and it sometimes makes us do desperate, completely illogical things.
I was definitely one of those women who were trying to beat the system and I also struggled with relapse. Looking back, I’m surprised that I ended up as a peer mentor. I feel valued as an added person of support for moms going through treatment. I can connect with clients in a way that counselors sometimes can’t; I truly understand what they are going through and how hard it is to break the cycle. I hope that I’m demonstrating that there is a life so much brighter than the darkness of addiction.
I started using meth at 18, and I’m 34 now. I’m already proud of the future life I’m creating for my family. I just started classes to get my master’s degree; I am very blessed to have a home and my two daughters with me. My goals are to be a great mom, get the education I need to succeed, own my recovery from meth addiction, and never see the inside of a jail cell again.