Speaker: New Directions for Women presents From Addiction To Recovery, Inspirational Stories of Courage.
Leah: My name is Leah and I’m an alcoholic addict. I started using at the age of 12. I started smoking marijuana. Then I got into heavier stuff at about 21. I started using cocaine. Then about a year ago, I was going through troubles with my husband and I started partying a lot and using cocaine more. I started using Norcos. They were street drugs. I was buying them off of somebody. I got myself off of them about a couple of months before I came to New Directions. But the cocaine I was using pretty heavily.
I found out about New Directions because I came here about three or four years ago when I had three children. So I knew I could bring my kids here. So I brought all four of them back to New Directions with me.
I was 22 when I first came to New Directions with my three kids and I was not ready. My father had just passed away. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t to deal with his death. He died of an overdose and he was addicted to heroin for as long as I could remember. I just wasn’t ready to deal with that. After three days, I left.
I went back to my husband and we had another baby. Things just got worse. When my son was six months old, we had started fighting really bad. Things just got really, really, really bad. I just didn’t care. I put them in situations. Really, really bad situations. I’m the type of mom who protects them and will not leave them with anybody. I started leaving them. I started going to raves. I started partying, drinking, taking them places they shouldn’t have done.
Then me and my husband … Did I say we were separated already? We separated and it got worse. About when my son was a little over a year, I had decided that enough was enough. I was doing too much with them. I came back to New Directions with four kids.
It was a lot. It was scary because, again, I was uncomfortable. I like my space. I don’t like living with people. I don’t like people watching my kids or around my kids. I knew coming back, I had to be uncomfortable if I wanted to do it this time. I knew that I had to do it for the sake of my kids and for the sake of myself, so I can be a better mother.
I ended up with only one roommate, thank God. She was pregnant, so there was no other kids around. It was just my four. I dealt with it. I basically had the whole house to myself, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.
I’ve been clean eight months. I go to meetings. I have a home meeting. I come to alumni and I work my steps. Not as fast as my sponsor like to, but I work my steps.
The only regrets I have is putting my children in dangerous situations and becoming this mother I never wanted to be and just ignoring them and taking so much away from them that they shouldn’t have gotten taken away from. They weren’t going to school. My baby has eczema and his eczema was like off the rocks, like just really bad. If I don’t take care of it, it gets really bad. I made up excuses. So just their health and just everything about being a mom.
I’m very scared about being a single mother but I know with God and with my sponsor and the women around me, that I’m capable of doing that because I’m doing it now. It’s very scary but I know I can do it. They’re doing good. They are in a very great school. I’m home with the baby all day, so the three older ones are in school and they’re doing good. They love the fact that mommy is getting better still. They love having me there. They have some problems like about me leaving them sometimes, but I just make sure that I tell them that I’m coming back, no matter what, no matter if I’m gone for 10 minutes, an hour, the weekend, they know that I’m coming back.
I’m ready and I’m willing and I’m tired of the life that I lived. Or I was tired of the life that I lived. I was broken. I was just not okay the last time I was here. This time is different because I want it. The last time I was here, I did it because I still didn’t want to deal with my dad. This time, I’m willing to face the fact that he’s gone and I’m willing to just do the work and surrender and to just be a good mom.
I was very close to my dad. I never knew he was an addict until I was about in high school probably. So when he passed, it was very hard. I started using a lot. But now that I’m in the program, it kind of makes me sad because I didn’t realize how sick he was and what this did to a person. It helps me being in a program to just really understand his sickness. Then it makes me sad because he just never had a chance.
I would say to a mom who is struggling to never give up and that you’re worth more and that you’re a great mom. If I can do it with four kids, so can you.