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‘Mom, something awful is happening to me.’ They found embalming fluid in my system, causing me to black out.’: Young woman overcomes meth addiction, hidden sexual abuse on camera, ‘My awful memories no longer haunt me, I am healed’

“I was 18-years old when I met him. I moved in with this man who was 17 years older. He told me he loved me. I believed him. He convinced me to do things, including recording our sexual encounters. ‘These are just for us to watch,’ he promised. I checked his browser history, horrified at what I found. Our sexual encounters were being posted on a pornography site.”

‘I picked out songs for your funeral,’ my sister told me. I feel nothing. I start shooting heroin into my IV.’: Young woman survives harrowing heroin addiction, says her son ‘hands down saved me’

“’How did I get here? I don’t want this life.’ I walked by the gun case and decided to take one rifle. My parents called the police. I downed an entire bottle of antidepressants and shot up the rest of my heroin. I sat on the edge of my hospital bed, sobbing. My doctor knew what I had been doing. She knew I had a syringe in the cabinet above my bed.”

‘My dad begged, ‘PLEASE ASHLEY, do this for me.’ It broke me. I had to put an end to this.’: Young mom celebrates 2 years clean, meets husband in recovery, ‘I would’ve NEVER imagined this’

“Right after I turned 21, I got pregnant with my boyfriend of 2 months. We decided to keep the baby. I started abusing pills and continued breastfeeding while taking them. I told myself, ‘It can’t REALLY affect her through my breast milk.’ Her dad was smoking heroin. I’d pawn my daughter off on whoever would take her. Paying her dad to take her so I was free to do what I wanted. My daughter would wake up in the morning to find random strangers in the house. I thank God she was too little to remember any of that.”

‘I loved my older cousin. At 8, I learned the only way to be friends with him was to have sex with him.’: Daughter and mother in addiction recovery together after years of childhood trauma, ‘If that isn’t wonderful, I don’t know what is’

“I remember the bright red carpet in his closet. This ongoing ‘event’ became our secret, I held onto this secret for close to 15 years. I never got over what happened to me, I stuffed it so far down. This has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I finally surrendered. I had enough. I needed to give myself a chance to live.”

‘I could stop if I wanted to.’ Famous last words. My mom dreaded seeing my car in the driveway.’: Recovering addict says she’s a girl ‘who spent every day wanting to die,’ but now ‘just wants to live’

“At 19, I was dating a guy who sold drugs. We were at the mall when I felt a cold chill come over my body. It wasn’t something I was familiar with. I knew people who ‘had’ to use drugs to feel normal – I was not one of them. I wasn’t that bad off. ‘If you lived the life I’ve lived, you’d get high, too,’ I justified. I told my boyfriend I didn’t feel well. He looked at me. ‘You’re going through withdrawal.’ This moment changed everything.”

‘I’m one of the lucky mothers. I didn’t have to bury my child. I have my daughter back. For today.’: Mom of an addict says ‘heroin is not picky,’ she still ‘breaks down sobbing’

“I waited daily for the phone call that would tell me my daughter was dead. I planned her funeral. I did not sleep the entire night for years – always waiting for the ring of the doorbell. 18 months ago, she was living in the dumpster area of Taco Bell. She had sold her car for drugs. She weighed less than 100 lbs. Mariah celebrated a year sober yesterday. Do I trust her? Not fully. But she is sober. She is productive. She is happy. For today.”

‘I heard two words: ‘fugitive felon.’ I caught my son’s eye. His shackles made my stomach flutter uncontrollably. His public defender smoothed her beige suit, and approached him.’

“The severely criminal charge was, in fact, a reference to my 24-year-old. I never imagined that term would apply to him. An unexpected call helped me through his transfer to prison. It had been weeks without contact when I answered the unfamiliar number. I fought back tears. He told me how much my son loved me.”

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