Damage Control

Damage Control

I’ve never been the type of human to follow rules or go with any sort of grain. Fiercely independent and a wild child at heart. No matter the age.

From the moment my adoptive parents welcomed me into their home at 6 months old, I was far from ordinary. I defied everything from sleep to their good guidance.

Very obviously, this defiance led me down a road that built me to be the person I am today. Not without difficulty though.

I’ve always been the kind of human who is always willing to try anything once. I also always have tried to fit in wherever I can. With clearer vision now, I acknowledge that this is probably some mild kind of trauma because of being an adopted kid, but that’s not the point.

I dated some people. I found love and got married, but their loyalty didn’t match mine. After this era, I found myself divorced, alone and seeking acceptance from anywhere or anyone I could get it from. My self esteem was buried in the ground and I was jaded to a point that would take a decade of mistakes and choices to rebuild myself into who I really am.

The last paragraph introduces the most difficult 5 years of my life. At this point in my life, I had dabbled in drugs and alcohol for nearly a decade because they helped me fit in, but as I know it today, they also provided coveted dopamine that I increasingly lacked in my brain.

Then I met a man. A man with a jaded past. He had always carried a great attraction to me in our past wanderings and interactions. The chemistry between us was undeniable. Chaos met chaos that cold day in December. Our chaos intertwined for 5 years in the form of dating. He was a decade long IV opiate addict, and I knew this, but thought I was going to be the one to change him. We loved each other with a fierce intensity. I know to this day, that he loved me unconditionally. And never meant harm upon me. But my story paints a different picture…

I got hurt in a work accident about 2.5 years into our relationship and no doctor was willing to help me with my pain. I tried mild forms of pain control, but made a choice to use opiates the day my pain couldn’t be quelled anymore and continued to do so for the next 2.5 years. Ultimately, this led to the most painful discoveries of self.

We battled with addictions together. Not just substance addictions, but addictions with co-dependency and unhealthy coping mechanisms. We wanted so badly to be done living our chaos and settle down together, but hadn’t a clue how to begin recovering. Then the whole world came crashing down. We lost our jobs, we lost our home, we had no money, and we had no family or friend support.

At this point, we tried multiple treatment programs together. After coming back from our third stint in rehab, a Florida 90 day rehabilitation program, we thought we finally had this figured out.

On one foggy morning in May of 2017, we were off and running trying to get high once again. Little did we know that was the day that would change everything.

May 23, 2017 was the day we both overdosed. Him first, then me a few moments after. We both were raised from the dead that day.

He went to jail, and I went home to my parents, who graciously let me come back after cries of desperation and a sincere desire to change. There were court cases pending against him and this resulted in him being jailed until August 10, 2017.

I remained at home, sober, the entire time. I also had my first surgery for my back injury on August 3, 2017.

When he got out of jail, we both were sober over 90 days. We figured we had this in the bag. That we could keep on living, without the drugs.

Little did I know, that my life would change permanently on August 13, 2017.

On that morning, I woke up to a phone call that shook my entire world. He had died of a fentanyl overdose in his sober living residence.

I was in recovery from back surgery. Sober, sad, terrified…and now grieving.

2017 was the worst year of my life. In that year, I lost my best friend, had 4 spinal surgeries and had to make a choice…remain sober or throw everything away once again. I made the decision, in my strong mind after May 23, 2017 that I would choose sobriety, no matter what.

And I have. 1,106 days later, I am still sober. And by sober, I mean from everything. No bad relationships, no drugs, no alcohol. Everything that brought me down, built me to be who I am today.

As of today, June 2, 2020, I have a life I never would have envisioned. I am surrounded by love and support. I am financially secure. I am pain free and med free. I may not be 100% on my own yet, but I’m working toward it everyday. I refuse to have another bad round of life. I know who I am now. I love who I am now and I’ll be damned if I let myself fall ever again.

Life is about the choices we make. And there is ALWAYS forgiveness, but you need to be active and open minded and willing to make a change. I promise you, things can be better if you want it.

Thanks for letting me share my story, I hope it highlights that I too, am only human.

This incredible story was shared by a human named Leigh.

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