‘My beautiful, newborn girl looked me dead in the eye and smiled. Minutes later, I was in the parking lot getting high.’: Man overcomes life-long addiction, ‘My recovery is nothing short of miraculous’

“I grew up in the heart of America’s opioid epidemic. By age 12, I was incarcerated for the first time. I was so violent, I’d attack my dad, punch holes in the walls. Soon, my daughter had to come visit me in a prison visitation room. Even the most beautiful of situations couldn’t fix how broken I was. One day, I posted about how desperate I was. A couple named Adam and Valerie reached out. These 2 people, and their 6 children, decided to give me a chance.”

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“Suddenly I could not keep any food inside of me, from either end. I was losing weight fast. The weather was nice so my boyfriend and I went to a restaurant on the waterfront for dinner. Afterwards, he took the long, scenic way home. I was in intense pain and needed to get to a bathroom. We finally arrive and he insisted on walking me to the door, not realizing I was ready to sprint. The minute I shut the door behind me, I projectile vomited all over the entryway. I became a homebody. I was accused of things like, ‘You just want pity. You’re lazy.’”

‘We would be thrilled!’ It was love at first sight. His pupils point in different directions. It’s given him an oddly-shaped head. We were immediately smitten’: Family adopts ‘incredible’ special needs kitty, Sheldon Thunderpaws

“’We are looking for a foster home for this quirky 5-week-old kitten.’ He had us wrapped around his little paw. We found out he was special needs and said, ‘We have to take care of him!’ It’s like watching a live interactive stuffed animal. Sheldon had bonded with us and we had bonded with him.”

‘This is easy, just wait until they’re older.’ I cried into her bib. I struggled to say ‘I love you’ to my baby. I shut down completely.’: Mom suffers postpartum depression, fights for help, ‘Every day is a battle, but I know I can win’

“I asked to be put on medication. My doctor said to me, ‘Are you sure it’s not just the pressure of Christmas?’ ‘NO!’ I wanted to scream, ‘This is why mothers don’t speak out. Because people belittle us. They tell us to cope.’ I was so angry. I accepted the prescription and left. I knew I needed to do something more than medication. I felt like the worst mom ever.”

‘I’ve been seeing a boy for a year.’ I wasn’t changing. My family was going to be disappointed. We are Catholic.’: Gay twin brothers come out to parents, ’We struggled with the fact we could lose family for being who we are.’

“‘Do you have any crushes on girls in your class?’ It was hard to get away with answering ‘no.’ I thought of sending myself to conversion therapy. We couldn’t understand why we weren’t sexually attracted to women. Having this picture embedded in our heads of a hyper-masculine culture messed us up. We knew sooner or later something, or someone, would have to give.”

‘I keep telling them to give up on you. I don’t know why they won’t listen.’ The officer grabbed my black and blue arms. I was a walking zombie.’: Former addict transforms her life, ‘I was never hopeless. I was never unworthy.’

“The electricity had been turned off. I was enrolled in Cosmetology school, but hadn’t gone in weeks. I was so tired. My grandparents were on vacation, so I thought I’d go to their house and shower. My intentions were good. I sat in their shower for what felt like an eternity. I remember each individual drop of water hitting my body as I cried out to die. I was fighting the demons, doomed to lose. I lost that day. I didn’t go to school. Instead, I stole $7,000 worth of jewelry from my grandmother.”

‘Just give her time. She’ll come around.’ My mom has yet to use my correct pronouns. To her, I’ll always be her first ‘daughter.’: Trans man finds courage to live his truth, ‘Transitioning was the biggest act of self-love’

“Everyone kept telling me I was a girl. When my mom would take me clothes shopping, I found myself cutting looks to the male section, wishing I could cross aisles and pick something I’d feel confident in. I struggled so much with trying to feel ‘pretty.’ Now, I miss being able to pick up the phone and just say ‘hi’ to my mom. Years pass, with little to no communication. I’ll always be her ‘daughter.’ No amount of hormones or surgeries will ever change that.”

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