Our Stories

It's A Revolution

January 2004 was an especially cold month to be out on the street.   My boyfriend and I found an empty townhome just down the street from my parents’ home.  This was the perfect place to sneak in and keep warm during the cold snowy nights.  We curled up on the floor, slept in our clothes and wrapped some blankets and jackets around us to stay warm.  Of course most nights were spent stowed away in the utility room trying to keep the candle light low.  Most of the time we were overcome with paranoia.  I was petrified someone will find us, or hear us, anticipating the sound of a siren, and well, then they come for us. Time to run again.  I didn't want to spend the holidays sick and in jail.  

This is my life.  Stealing from cars, garages and stores.  Begging for money from anyone who would spare it.  The party was over.  I spent every single day in agony wishing I could just wake up in my old bed again.  Just one time waking up feeling warm, stretching out my legs, smiling and looking forward to another peaceful day.  I would dream of NOT suffering in pain all over my body, as the panic slowly sets in, how will I get dope today?  How far will I have to walk?  How long will I suffer today?

I grew up in a middle class family.  Always had everything I needed.  There was apple pie in the fridge and food in the freezer.  Everyone in my family was really awesome.  Most importantly though, they really enjoyed having fun with lots of booze.  Those were the days.  Most of the time I felt like my mother enjoyed the booze more than me. I thought often to myself, “Every mom was supposed to love her child unconditionally.”  “Mine however, seemed to hate the look of me.”  I was a young, nearly 5 years old when the doctor discovered the horrible evidence of sexual abuse.

I became the ashamed.  The invisible middle child haunted by demons no little girl should ever have to struggle with.  I was the victim of sexual abuse. I became the invisible, the dreamer who escaped reality.  I could be anything and anyone.  It was just never real.   My life was forever changed right from the get go. I just had no idea, yet, just how much.  I was sent to live with Grandma and Grandpa for a little while.  I changed schools, we moved, and I was told never to speak of this again.  If only that works.

I made friends in elementary school and went on with my life never speaking about the ghosts of my past.  Everything was hunky dory until I went to high school.  I didn't want to be invisible any more. I joined all the clubs, became a cheerleader and even found some best friends.  I finally fit in.  I was getting prettier and popular.  I became a member of student council and the drama club.  I played on sports teams and was a cheerleader for the boys’ basketball team. Everything was so perfect up until this point.  

I was already experiencing whispers in my mind that I was wrong in some way.  That I was unclean.  I knew what had happened to me, but I liked to pretend it was all a bad dream.  If it was, then what kind of person does that make me?  To think such things?  To be this thing that I am, and have a mother who thinks so little of me as well.  

I had already began to experiment with alcohol.  When I drank I felt normal.  It was bad, against all the rules, and that felt extremely good.  The night of the party I got ready putting on my makeup and pounding back coolers while listening to the radio.  I was a cheerleader on my way to my first basketball party. 

As you can guess, I got really drunk at the party.  However, that was not the plan at all. As soon as I came too, I felt like a house had just fell on me.  What did I do?  I’m such a slut.  This was not how I wanted to be remembered.    Worst of all, my mother was right.  I am a sick filthy excuse for a lady.  So much for the popular pretty cheerleader persona.  I just murdered that.  You would think this happening was bad enough, however it was just the beginning.  The thing is, when I was a teenager everything was super momentous.  I was so crazy some days, if I thought I did the littlest thing wrong it was the end of the world!  Then my Grandmother died.  I was now seriously all alone.  She was probably the only person I could have spoken to about this and now she was gone forever.  So I did the next best thing any girl in my situation would do.  I found an older boyfriend who went to a different high school and then I tried to kill myself.

It wasn’t until boyfriend number 6 and well into my thirties that I really gave up on any hope of being saved at all by any man.  I partied and drank at the bar every day.  One failed relationship after another, I was earning the badge of honor for bad daughters.  If my mother really wants to hate me I’ll give her a damn good reason to!  I was drunk almost every day by this time.  It was the new norm for me.  Even for me this life was getting to be too much.

I met the love of my life in a downtown detox.  He was in for heroin and me for my alcohol problem.   It was a match made in heaven!   I had no idea what drug addiction felt like yet.  I was about to find out.  We left detox together in love and optimistic for a new life together.  We completed a month in a supportive recovery home, then found a cute little suite together.  Life was pink clouds and purple rainbows for about six weeks.  I was working, he wasn't.  We had money problems, trust issues, and then one of us relapsed.  I don't remember which one was first.  In the end it doesn't even matter.

I was drinking heavy again.  He was using heroin and crack cocaine.  I tried heroin for the first time in our new place together.  It was less than a month before we couldn’t afford to smoke it anymore and I started doing it intravenously.  I lost my job.  We lost our place.  I dropped my cat off at my parents and we moved to a motel.    Yep, livin the dream.

So how do you afford a hundred and forty dollar a day heroin addiction with no job?  Well I will tell you.  First you start to steal from stores.  Then you need to find someone to fence all your stolen stuff.  Eventually, you get caught and charged with theft under $5000.  Life gets

even worse.  Then you start to do cocaine in between heroin highs.  Finally after you are really sure you ruined any chance at life, you learn to steal cars and break into houses and sell dope on the side.  And there you have it.

The next ten years of my life was spent with no address of my own.   Throughout my ten years on the street I spent most of it couch-surfing, begging my family to give me a place to stay, in recovery houses or in jail. Doing the daily grind to get what I needed also became increasingly more dangerous.  

 I was always on probation, under arrest, had a warrant, or was awaiting trial.  My existence was completely fear based. Today I realize this more and more, as evidenced by my nightmares even 10 years later.  It took many times of being kicked out of places too, going to jail and trying various recovery homes until I finally found a place I fit in.  I checked myself into a supportive recovery home in Surrey British Columbia.  It wasn’t easy.  I got in shit constantly.  However, no matter how many times I screwed up, people loved me until I learned to love myself.  I learned to follow rules.  The same rules I use today to stay clean and sober.  

I got a sponsor.   Got up every day and contributed to the house chores.  Attended meetings and groups.  I lived in a structured community support recovery house for fifteen months.  I even found a job.  When it was time, I was off welfare and paying my own rent.  I moved out.  I practice the principles I learned in my early recovery, every day.  I take part in the steps every day to keep myself sane and sober.  Low and behold it worked!  I love my life today.  I am a loving mother with a family of my own.  I do not want or need for anything today.  I have everything I ever needed to be happy.  Sometimes I just have to look a little harder, but it was all here all along.  I just needed to work for it.

Thank you for reading my story.