My name is Cassie and I am a recovering addict. I started using drugs at the age of 12 after my brother died by suicide. It started with pot and quickly escalated to crack and pills. I never thought I would ever find sobriety, my family tried everything they knew. Rehabs were a bust, kicking me out on my own only encouraged me to act out, refusing me money and cutting me off completely only set me further into my self destructive ways.
When I was 16 years old I got into a serious relationship with my drug dealer and it quickly became abusive, physically and mentally. I knew I needed out but I couldn’t leave because he was the only source of drugs. I begged my mom to let me come home and that I would get sober. It would work for a few weeks until I found another guy to give me what I wanted. I went to several rehabs but one in particular was for youth with mental illnesses. This is when my mental illness came to light, they tried to diagnose me. Knowing that I had a mental illness just made me want to use and hide more.
A few years later, I came to a realization that it was either jail, institutions or death. I chose death. I intentionally took all of my prescribed medication, thankfully a stranger found me and called it in and waited for the ambulance. Back then Narcan wasn’t available. It was at that point, I knew I needed serious help. I called every rehab in my area, I was admitted for 3 and a half months into a concurrent disorders program. (Mental health and drug rehabilitation). There I was properly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD and manic depression. I refused this for a long time, but I realized I was only hurting myself and my loved ones. My dealers didn’t care, my partner in crime didnt care and nor did anyone that I partied with. I needed to do this for me and so my journey into recovery began.
I spent weeks working on myself; physically, mentally and emotionally. I was a wreck inside and out. When I was admitted I weighed less than 90 pounds, barely sober and hated everyone.
Three months into my program with Humana rehab insurance, I started feeling great. Gained some weight, was speaking with my family again and was learning more coping skills than I knew what to do with at the time. Then everything came crashing down, it was time for me to go home. HOME? I wasn’t ready for that, or so I thought. I was scared, I called my mom who is also a recovering alcoholic and explained that I was being released, she told me that I would come live with her until I was back on my feet. So I came home, first thing I did was research every meeting in my area. Turns out there is a lot (AA, NA & CA). Perfect, now I know everything says 90 meetings in 90days. Well, I surpassed that in about 30 days. I was clinging to meetings like I was drugs. It was the only way I knew how to not use. I had moved away from my “friends”, my home and where I used. I knew no one and I think it was the best thing for me.
Eventually, I got myself a sponsor and started doing the 12 steps. Most of them came pretty easy to me, until I had to start apologizing. I wasn’t ready for that, I spent hours complaining to my sponsor that no one ever apologized to me. She laughed at me and said, “Cassie, did you ever stop and think what using did to your family?” No, I replied. She continued by saying that perhaps I should stop expecting others to help me and start helping myself and by doing that I need to forgive those that did me wrong, not for them but for my own sobriety and peace of mind. Holding onto anger and resentment would eventually lead me back to using. I never thought about it like that. So now, when I get upset or anger I think about that saying and 9 times out of 10 I am able to laugh it off and realize that I am in control of my own behavior and actions.
Recently, I got a tattoo saying “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, So live for today.” This saying has gotten me through a lot if hardship in my recovery; death, health issues, break ups, losing my house. Then I look at my other arm that says “This too shall pass.” Which was my every first tattoo, that I got when I was in treatment. It puts my life into a different perspective these days. I am grateful for that man that didnt just walk past me and leave me to die.
Now, I am almost 6 years sober and grateful for each and every single day I wake up. I still attend meetings, help the still suffering addict. I have more sober friends today than I ever had in active addiction. I have a life today that I never thought was possible, my family trusts me with keys to their homes and knows that when I come to visit they don’t have to hide jewelry, cash, alcohol or prescription drugs. Something, I am very proud about today. I have lost many to to battles of addiction and mental illness, it makes me very sad but it also keeps me aware of how easy it is to fall back into old habits.
Today, I am clean and sober. My clean date is May 6, 2014.
I am very grateful to be alive.