From Addict To Author
From Addict to Author
Before I found recovery, loneliness, and the feeling that I was different from everyone else is something I lived with all my life. My parents divorced when I was two. Maybe it was because of the way I was treated as a child. The physical and mental abuse I received for my mother, always feeling as if she hated me. Just after turning fourteen my mother showed me how much she loved me when she told me to pack my things and get out of her house. I never returned and I never went back to school That only reassured me that I was different in a bad way, from everyone else.
After leaving home, and the horrible events that followed. I learned that I could not trust anyone especially myself. The only time I was able to put my guard down and come close to trusting anyone, or have any fun, was after he took so much drugs and drank so much alcohol that I was too wasted to even care.
As time went on I became addicted to anything mind altering. I survived many traumatic events. I blamed my parents for everything that happened to me. I felt like I was the only kid in the world without a home or parents who loved their child. I became pregnant at the age of sixteen, and I got my daughter taken away from me when she was five, to my addiction. At the time I blamed my parents for not loving my daughter or me enough to help me with her for a short time to keep Child Protective Services from taking her away from me. And at the same time, I blamed and hated myself for letting this happen to my daughter and me. I missed my daughter so much and fell deeper and deeper into my addiction to escape the pain that continued to grow within me. The loneliness and the feeling that I was a terrible person ate away at me with each passing day, and left me with absolutely no hope that I would ever be normal, happy, or ever see my daughter Jessica again.
Along with drugs and alcohol, I delt with physical and mental abuse, I suffered two seperate violent rapes. And was assulted by a man, of which I survived only after having life-saving emergency brain surgery. In addition to all that I was a regular at the Ventura County Jail and much more. It is all in detail in my book. I hated my life. If it weren't for me hanging on to the thought that just maybe, someday I would see my daughter again, I would have most likely ended my life. At the time, I believed I deserved everything that happened to me. I now know that I endured a life that no one deserves. The last time I went to jail saved my life. I was lucky enough to be placed into a drug rehabilitation program. In this program I was given an assignment to write my life story and read it in front of the class. I did not want to do this. I did not understand how this would help me. But I did it the best I could at the time. Writing my life story forced me to take a close look at how I had been living the past thirty-one years of my life. The truth is, I was not living at all. What I was doing was slowly killing myself. That is when I realized I had to change my life if I wanted to live. Only I did not know how to live, and I was so scared. I doubted my ability to change. I really thought I was different than everyone else. But after listening to others read their life story. I started to realize that I wasn't much different after all. When it became my turn to read my life stroy, I was so scared and shaking. It was VERY hard to do. But after reading I felt a sense of freedom that I never felt before. And the support I got from the people in my class and my counselors was amazing. That is when I started learning that maybe someday it was possible for me to trust others. It was the start of a new beginning for me. The next step was learning to trust myself before I could others. I had to learn to stop pointing my finger at others, and start taking responsibility for my own actions. I had to learn to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness. I learned to stop allowing myself to be controlled by guilt and accept myself for who I was. It was important to me to know that I could not change my past. That only I could decide how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I learned to have faith in myself, my life, and in others. Sometimes I accepted change, a little reluctantly, because change can be a little scary at times. The great part of it was that I wanted my recovery more than I wanted anything so although. I was a bit reluctant to make that change. I worked through the doubt I had about my ability to change, and I found myself looking forward to changing, and how my future could be. It was very exciting to me.
After graduating from the program and out of coustody, I met a woman in the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous named Donna. With twenty-seven years clean, whom I was very inspired by. I let her read my life story. After reading it, she told me that I should think about writing a book. That I had a story to tell that would help a lot of people. I thought she was crazy at first. Recovery taught me to trust myself and to have faith. Therefore, I decided to turn my life story into a book. It was very painful for me to write, but I did it because I wanted to help others. I wanted to bring meaning to my life and to make a difference. In writing my book I could not control what I had to write in the chapters of my past. Though I could control what was going to be in the chapters of my life that stood ahead of me from that day forward. Drugs no longer controled my life. I was looking forward to how the second part of my book, (my recovery), and my live was going to be. It was all up to me. It kept me strong and very active in my recovery and helped me in helping others in their recovery. I love to sponsor and women in recovery it is a high I had been searching for all my life in my addiction. I have finally found my ultimate high, in my recovery, helping others. I have a wonderful life today and I am grateful every second of the day. I am grateful for everyone who helped me to get out of the trap, the trap of addiction. Today I stay away from people that are unhealthy for my recovery and me. I stay away from negative people and surround myself with positive people. Negativity holds you back from seeing how really beautiful life can be. It keeps you from seeing the good in people. It keeps you from knowing who you really are. It stops you from letting go of the past and makes you unwilling to change. I wanted to learn how it felt to be proud of myself, and what it felt like to actually live. My negative sense of myself was replaced by an exciting, positive acceptance of myself, for my life, and for others. My acceptance led me to my recovery, and my recovery gave me a new life. My addiction lasted 31 years all together and today I have been clean and sober for 4 years and 11 weeks after 31 years of addiction. A true miracle.
In February 2009 I became a published author. Today I am making a difference, helping others and following my dreams,
Lori L. Stephens
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