Recovery Spotlight: Danielle W

My name is Danielle and I am an alcoholic & addict. I’ve been thinking and praying on this for a few days wondering what I am going to say and if it’s going to be right. Typical alcoholic/addict, overthinking everything. What is considered right? There’s no wrong way to tell my story because it’s mine. I grew up in a family being the only girl of four brothers and a single mom. My dad wasn’t around because yes, you guessed it. He’s an addict also. I used to think my childhood was just horrible. Why?  Because it was the perfect excuse. We didn’t have it all but we always had each other. Being raised with four brothers, I didn’t know that I was allowed to have feelings. I had to be “tough” and my mom was really passive. That’s one character trait that I picked up on. She didn’t express herself. I thought that was my normal, so it became mine for a really long time. We had good times, but we also had hard times. Evictions, no electric, living here and there. You know just the normal stuff or so I thought. I never knew how much the things that happened in my life were contributing factors to why I was the way that I was. I was so scared to be me. I smoked marijuana for the first time at 11 years old and thought I was the coolest kid ever. I fit in and it allowed me to hang out with the older kids and be a part of. Plus, I could be “myself” the mask came down and I was no longer shy. Alcohol came into the picture at 12, and all the parties. 13 is when things started really going downhill. Boys came into the picture but so did skipping school, staying out all night and not wanting to do anything but fit in. If that meant I had to sacrifice everything, I would, and I did. I dropped out of high school mid sophomore year. I was pregnant at 16. I had this idea in my head that I was mature enough for this “family life”. Here I am at 17 years old, dating a guy that’s 7 years older than me and he already has two kids. After having my daughter, I was prescribed Percocet. And there is was….that feeling of everything disappearing, all of my worries, fears, doubts, pain, and misery. It was only temporarily. Once that wore off it all came back. But I would just cover it up again. At 18 years old, I picked up heroin for the first time. Not only did I pick up heroin, but I also was criminally charged for the first time. I was never in trouble before. My use of opiates continued for 7 years. I used, abused, and manipulated everyone. All of my nevers came true. In 2015 I was sentenced to 5 years in DOC for a drug related charge. I went for 2 years but nothing had changed. I now believe nothing will help me until I am ready to help myself. In 2017 after just being released from prison, I found myself in the same situation 5 months later with even more serious charges. I swore my life was over. Of course, I was sorry then. I thought I wanted to change. I thought I was ready. Why was I ready?  Because I was in trouble again. The apologies came back, all of the promises were promised over again but back down that road I went. I was using drugs again. Why can’t I stop? What is wrong with me? Why is my daughter not enough? These are the questions I asked myself every day. Something needed to be done differently. I decided to file a modification on my sentence and was sent to a long-term treatment program. That was the best decision that was ever made for me. I used to hate the system. Today, it’s part of my gratitude list because that judge believed in me even. Although I only did it to not be sitting in jail. Eventually, my outlook changed.  That program changed my life. I took a real hard look at myself. Not only did I look but I took action. I did something different and instead of wanting to do things my way, I followed their suggestions and decided to come to a recovery house. Up & Out Sober Living has taught me how to be myself, to love myself. How to have friendships, real ones!  It has also taught me how to live and be responsible. Today I can honestly say I am truly happy and not just on the outside. I am at peace with my past and I live in the present. Without God and the fellowship, I have no idea where I would be.  I have an idea of where I would be and I am so grateful that I am not there. My life has changed. I remember hearing over and over, as you change – the world around you will too. I know what that means now. Not all days are good but, I also do not have bad days. I just have lesson days and those are the days that allow me to see what needs to be changed in me. My sobriety date is July 2nd, 2019.  I just recently celebrated 10 months sober. Completely sober for the first time in my life and that is a miracle my friends. I never thought I could live without some kind of substance. True happiness comes from within. And today, it is all about acceptance and perspective. Without that, I would remain miserable. Miserable is not who I am. I can finally be myself. I don’t want to fit in everywhere. I am accepted where I belong.  Danielle W

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