“I was one of those people who never thought I’d ever be an addict. It started off slow like any normal thing, I just got involved with the wrong crowd and one thing led to another which started with pills, partying on the weekends, which then turned into a daily thing and escalated from there. My ex who I was with, also my daughter’s father, whom I call my ‘sperm donor’ because he has never been in her life, was the one I used with on a regular basis and introduced me to this lifestyle. I do not blame him in the slightest. He did not force me to do anything, I made my own decisions and suffered my own consequences… but we ended up losing our house, his business, cars, you name it.. and ended up living in a car and sleeping on a friend’s couch.
Our bad habits obviously resulted in having no money, so we ended up with an even worse crowd and turned to heroin. Once this began, it’s hard to even remember a lot of things that happened because it seems like my life was such a blur for so many years. I stole countless things to try to get money, to buy more drugs of course, I wouldn’t eat for days at a time because I had no money to buy them so I would eventually end up stealing food from the stores just to eat every three days. I lost an unbelievable amount of weight, I looked disgusting, sunken in, dead, because that’s how I felt eventually.
After most of this had been going on for a while my family clearly knew what was going on and tried to get me into rehab several times – I was admitted two or three different times. I’ll never forget what my dad said to me on more than one occasion. I would keep him up at night, there are some nights he wouldn’t even sleep because he was so sick to his stomach. ‘I’m just waiting for that call one day that you overdosed and died.’ Talk about heart wrenching. But at the time, when he would say these things to me, they would just go in one ear and out the other. I never truly realized what I was putting my family through. But I decided to go to rehab, not for myself, but for my family. I left both times midway through with my ex, my partner in crime if you will. He picked me up in the middle the night to go use again. I was finally gaining a relationship back with my family but that’s the sad thing about addiction, those feelings don’t last long. And I also think that’s why I would continue to use. Once you stop, every emotion just comes flooding back. I hated feeling anything. I would numb myself from them, the world, all the hurt and disappoint I had caused. So once again, I left rehab and my dad never heard from me again until I called them from jail months later, this time after going on the run from a very major crime that was committed, which I will get into in a bit.
In the midst of all this we did very unforgivable things. We stole from family members, friends, anyone and anything we could just to try to get money. We squatted in abandoned homes, lived in a house That had no doors, no power, I also overdosed twice and almost died both times. The crazy thing is, we never started off slow. The first time we used, we shot up from the very beginning… and that was game over. I ended up doing it once or twice a day to having to do it five times a day. I couldn’t function or even leave the house without using or else I felt like I wanted to die because I was so sick.
We ended up committing a huge theft that resulted in stealing more than 20+ assault rifles, ammunition, as well as over $40,000 cash which clearly got the attention of the local police, so we ended up buying a new car in cash and taking off, hoping to never return. That was not my plan and I cried every single day we were on the run. We ran out of money obviously very quickly because two addicts with that strong of an addiction can’t last very long. We ended up in Oregon running around there for a while before the local police caught wind of us, and eventually ended up raiding our hotel room. Prior to this night, we had gotten pulled over and ended up in a high-speed chase which resulted in us crashing the car and running on foot away from helicopters and dogs. We both got away. The next day, we got bombarded with SWAT team and got arrested. He went to prison because he was already out on bail. I got on probation and sent to rehab because I never had any prior charges.
I’ll never forgot one of the officers telling me something incredibly terrifying.
‘We were told you are armed. If you don’t cooperate, we have permission to take matters into our own hands. We will fire at you.
Addiction has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to overcome and honestly, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever overcome it. I remember wanting to die every single day because I hated my life so much. I hate who I was , who I had become, I hated disappointing everyone that I loved. I felt like it would be easier if I was just dead. I wasn’t raised this way. I grew up in a small town. Played sports my whole life and got a full ride scholarship for basketball right out of high school. This can easily happen to anyone if you get caught up in the wrong crowd.
My turning point after the ‘love of my life’ went to prison, I still struggled for years while he was gone. We kept in contact every day. Wrote letters. Talked on the phone. We planned on getting married and getting sober and living a life like we used to. I was put on probation while he was gone and once he finally got out a year and a half later, I ended up getting pregnant two weeks after he was released. He left me because I was still using. He had the time to get clean because he was locked up. He wasn’t still on the streets with me. I like to think God knew I needed something bigger than myself to believe in to be able to quit, because I would never do it for myself.
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I was probably two months along and I cried for hours on end, not happy tears… ‘How could I possibly take care of a little baby when I can’t even take care of myself?,’ I thought. We had split up. I didn’t want to tell him and I didn’t for several weeks because I knew what he would say, and I was right. I remember crying and asking God, ‘Why?! Finally, I finally feel like this is the time we are done, and I can get away from him! And now I’m carrying his child!?’ I was so mad, so confused. So scared and so lost I didn’t know what to do. I was living in a small two-bedroom apartment with my friend and her two daughters, sleeping on the couch and living out of a small suitcase. How do you raise a baby like that? He told me he didn’t want anything to do with us, he tried to accuse me of the baby not being his, and I’ll never forget what said to me. ‘You’re just going to have a meth baby.’ He put me down and called me names, but that was nothing new. I actually contemplated getting an abortion because I believed he was right.
My family on the other hand reacted completely different. When I called my mom to tell her, she instantly started crying. She knew this was what I needed. This child was going to save my life. My family was very supportive, but this pregnancy was anything but easy. I was just learning how to be clean, being pregnant, I was working 6 days a week as a server, I had a crappy car that broke down on me every other day. But I continued to work and do this on my own. I saved everything I could until I was able to purchase a two-bedroom apartment because I wanted my daughter to have her own room, set up a nursery, etc. I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant and my brother helped me to move into a second story place one weekend. I cried every single day during this pregnancy. I remember one weekend specifically I had bought her a crib and it was a Friday night, all of my friends were out having fun and I was 7 months pregnant setting up a crib on my own, while her dad was off at a concert with his new girlfriend.
My sister was also a very big part of my pregnancy. She didn’t want me to go through it alone, so she attended birthing classes with me once a week every week towards the end. She was the one that I wanted in the room with me, she even cut my daughter’s umbilical cord. There were several times we would talk and she was crying, telling me how happy and how proud she was of me. ‘It’s nice to have my sister back, I never thought I was going to get her back.’ I still cry to this day thinking about all of this.
Once I had my daughter, I never called her father, I didn’t say a word. He knew I had her because we had a lot of mutual friends. Until one night, she was about 3 months old, he randomly shows up at my door at 9:00 p.m. When I opened the door, my heart felt like it was in my throat. What seemed like the longest minute of my life, he just stood there and stared at her as I held her in my arms. She was his twin. He ended up getting a paternity test, and surprise surprise, she was his. As if I didn’t already know that already (eye role) but not much changed, and I didn’t care. I still to this day think we are both better off without him in our lives.
My daughter is almost 2 now and I dread the day she asks me why all her friends have a dad and she doesn’t have one, but I know when that time comes, I hope I can find the right words to say. My daughter saved my life. I honestly believe I would either be dead or very close to it had I not gotten pregnant with her. She was a gift from God. I needed something to believe in, I needed someone to love to be able to get over this addiction. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life! But the best thing that has ever happened to me. She is so amazing! She’s my angel baby! I thank God every single day for her.
Now two years later, I’m still clean, it’s still just me and her, and we have never been happier! I have continued to improve my life every single day for her, for us. I studied every chance I could get when she was sleeping or napping. I got my real estate license and finally got out of the serving industry. Of course being a single mom is not easy, but it works for us. And I am proud of myself and where I am today, the life I have built for me and her solely on my own. Nothing in this world could ever take that from me and I would never, EVER go back to the place I was before. My heart breaks for the families that can’t get clean for their children. If I wouldn’t have gotten clean, who would take care of my daughter? Some stranger? Foster families? She needs me and I need her, and I still pray for those who are suffering and the children that are affected and lose parents because of this disease.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brianna Smith. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more inspiring stories of people overcoming their addictions:
‘Sweetheart, you were dead. Your lips were blue. CPR didn’t bring you back. Please don’t get high again.’: Woman battles heroin addiction alongside her mother, gets clean after surprise pregnancy in jail, ‘my son is a daily reminder to do the right thing’
‘I’ll shoot you up for the first time,’ the man I was sleeping with offered. I agreed. I lived a double life.’: 25-year-old overcomes prostitution to feed addiction, now manages sober living home for women
‘I was sitting in a hotel room. I had on a tight black dress, listening to my client say what ‘he wants to do.’ My gut was screaming to leave, but if I left, there is no money, and my ‘boss’ will be upset.’
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