Drugs, Death, Coping and a New Outlook for Kristen

Thank you to Kristen for sharing her personal story. We hope you find it inspiring…

A Father Missing In Action

My first memory of chaos was when I was about a year old. My mother and father were screaming at each other and my father was tearing papers up and throwing them at her. I was horrified. The happy family I thought I was part of was not so happy after all. Little did I know, my father struggled with a crack cocaine and alcohol addiction.

There were times that he would be gone for days, even weeks. But the nights he decided to come home were absolutely dreaded. As the years went by, it became my “normal”. Dad goes out, stays gone for a while, comes home around 3:00am, bangs on the door until my mom lets him in, they begin fighting. My world felt like it crumbled every time this would happen.

Over the years, I watched this disease destroy my mother and father. She would go searching for him down in the dangerous city streets. She would beg him to stop, threaten divorce, plead with God, and become desperate. When I was a baby, she even became so desperate that she parked her car over train tracks with me strapped in my car seat. She couldn’t live like this anymore, and she didn’t want me to have to witness it. She thought she had done everything possible.

I watched this go on for many years. As I got older my dad and I would fight. I held onto a lot of resentment, and part of me just hated him for what he put my mom and me through for so long. My dad finally found sobriety after many years. Unfortunately he had a near fatal accident that left him disabled and opiate dependent.

Learning How to Cope

My mom found out about codependency after she reached her breaking point. For me, this was just the beginning. I learned her coping skills and went through my teen and young adult years battling something I didn’t even know I had because it was all “normal” to me. You know, walking on eggshells, going out of my way for people who didn’t even care about me, having the need to feel accepted and so on.

I went from one bad relationship to the next; “friends” that just used me.

When I was twelve, the only real friend I had, Adam, committed suicide. I had never been so hurt in my entire life. That loss to this day burns my soul like no other. But losing him brought his best guy friend and me together. We were all each other had at the time. We both just lost our best friend. Now what? Over time we became inseparable. We started experimenting with pot. We were covering up the great loss our hearts were feeling. About three years later, my now best friend lost his dad to cancer. His world was just ripped out from underneath him yet again. My best friend then ended up going further than just pot. Once he started getting into harder drugs, I knew I couldn’t go through this again, so I went my separate way.

I ended up engaged at 21 to a very selfish guy who had me convinced that I was crazy. I couldn’t work for 6 months. Everyday I contemplated how I could kill myself. I needed out and didn’t know how to leave since he was staying with me at my parents house.

Just When I Thought Things Were Already Bad…

Well, Tragedy struck again. Adam’s brother passed away. At the viewing, i saw my best friend for the first time in a few years. He looked horrible. I knew he “needed” me. I had to save him or I would be burying him next. I just could not bear to do that. That gave me the motivation to kick my ex out because I was now on a mission to do what ever it took to get the one person in this world that means more to me than life off of heroin.

I had no idea what I was walking into. I swore I would never enable to any degree. I had never seen such an addiction like a heroin addiction. I remember feeling my heart break the second I learned that he was now putting a needle in his arm. Panic set in. I was ready and willing to do anything. I didn’t want him to go to jail so I ended up spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on heroin. Risking my life and freedom to take him to get it. Watching him inject it in his veins. I was sick. I was literally paralyzed by fear of losing him that I couldn’t even see that I was now the one helping him kill himself. I jumped at his every call or request. I was now in a vicious cycle of manipulation. I couldn’t see it this way because he was my best friend and I knew he loved me very much and would never do anything to hurt me. I was drowning. I was broke, sleep deprived, and neglected my own health and well being.

My mother kept reminding me how codependent I was being… Let me just tell you, it was all I could do not to strangle her every time that word came out of her mouth. I was not being codependent, I was doing what I knew how to do.

A Happier Ending Begins

Finally, my best friend decided to go to rehab. I attended the family meetings for the ones effected by their loved ones’ addiction. I think I balled most of the time. I had finally found clarity when a recovering addict in the group said… “You are not helping us by giving us money, or a place to live. You are only helping us kill ourselves and prolonging sobriety!” Well my bubble was now popped.

I learned so much about myself and just how codependent I really was.

When he got out of rehab, he relapsed. I learned to detach with love, and turn to my higher power to give me strength to tell him “NO”!

He’s been clean for almost four months now. We are now not only best friends; we decided to take our relationship a step further. We had been through hell and back together. He reminds me everyday when I am being codependent and what step I should refer back to, haha. And I remind him how far he’s come. It’s been a very long and hard road but I’ve learned so much about myself. I can finally live a day for ME and not someone else. Meetings are nice but they do not work with my schedule, so I attend online CoDa meetings and such. I feel so confident today and am able to say “no” when I need to. Accepting the fact that I deal with codependency and surrendering to it has been key. Turning it over to my higher power has been the reason for my sanity today. Proverbs 3; 5-6 has been my life saver.

Recovery is possible. Remember to love yourself first!

~Kristen

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