April 2023

My name is Amanda and I am someone as having a substance use disorder. Looking back on my life; with hindsight being 20/20, it seems that I always have.
I grew up in a family where everyone seemed to be fearless and had no problem speaking their minds. I did not fit in. I was extraordinarily sensitive and had paralyzing social anxiety. I tried to emulate the strong personalities of those around me, people that had control and were never the victim. I started to push any feelings or thoughts that did not serve this purpose from my mind. I became very good at this. Suppression and running away were my go-to. I also learned to manipulate people and situations and never face my problems head on. There always had to be an easier softer way. 
This got me through rough times as a young child to early teens, but when I found my drug of choice, I found the answer. The drugs let me escape with much less effort and a far greater result. I did not have to try not to care anymore because I honestly did not. Within less than a month I was willing to give up anything for just one more beautiful minute of complete and utter nothingness. Over time I did just that. It was easy to give myself away, I hated myself and was happy to see me go. Then I gave up my first 2 children. I put up a weak fight and eventually lost. My family began to get tired of hearing empty promises that always ended with “I just need a few dollars” I was still very much a runner. I would race to treatment or detox or even another country trying to escape one thing or another, but left to my own devices, I was right back at it. 

I had 3 children during all this and I was able to keep it somewhat together for a short time, but eventually the feelings I ran from my whole life came back. I had no tools and was still very much irritable, restless, and discontent. I went back to using and this time harder than ever before. My mother and father tried to hang in there but after 16 years their hope was fading. I eventually ended up under a bridge with absolutely nothing. I overdosed 11 times and each time I was devastated that they brought me back. I stole, lied, and degraded myself. I lived to use and used to live. I had surrendered to the fact that that was what my life was going to be and prayed for it to be short.

On a day just like any other something happened, and the only thing I know for sure, is that it was something I could never have done on my own. I had drugs and money to get more and it was just not working. My soul was re-awakened, and I knew I had to do something different.

On November 9, 2021,I was finally entirely ready to surrender. I went to detox and treatment. I did not have the energy to try to do it my way and running away was not working so my only option was to just be still and follow directions. They suggested that I go to a halfway house and I had run out of any excuses for why I did not need to, so I went. I went to meetings and heard all the things I have heard 1000 times before but this time they made sense. I began to build a support system of women in recovery. For the first time and a long time I felt hope.

I got an awesome sponsor and started doing the work. I started to become honest with myself and in doing so found more than a few character defects to keep me busy. I found a power greater than myself, and while I still cannot say that I fully understand my higher power, I do know that I did not get here on my own and I am grateful every day I do not have to understand for it to work in my life!

Today I am not a runner. I face my problems, my fears, and myself. I have started to clean up the wreckage of my past. I went to court fully expecting them send me back to jail. Thanks to doing the next right thing and my amazing support system, I did not have to go back to jail. In fact, able to pay my restitution and did not even have to be on probation!

I have started working on my art again and enjoy doing the things I used to love. I work on myself little by little and I like who I am today. I no longer need to escape myself. I am still awkward and super shy, but I do things outside my comfort zone and it gets a little easier each time.

I cannot imagine trading all the joy, peace and love I have found in recovery for the complete and utter emptiness I once felt. So, I am going to keep taking suggestions, even when I do not understand why. I am going to keep doing the next right thing, and no matter what I am not going to pick up, one day at a time.