To Love Her is To Help Her

Voiceover: New Directions for Women presents From Addiction To Recovery. Inspirational stories of courage.

Tara: Hi. My name’s Tara, I’m an alcoholic. I first started experimenting with drugs in high school. It was alcohol then marijuana. Then when I was as little older, I started using amphetamines, stimulants, to help me lose weight. Like, over the counter Xendadrine’s. Then they outlawed that, so I started ordering Fen-Phen from Canada. I would have it going to all different addresses and mailboxes, and using different names. Then one day I was at a party and there was cocaine, so I tried that and I was addicted immediately. Years and years later, I was still using it and the guy ran out of cocaine. What did he have instead? He had methamphetamine. From then, I was off to the races. That’s what I used until I found recovery.

Where meth took me was to places I wouldn’t wish on anybody. I lost my marriage. I lost custody of my child for a short time. I lost all my friends, my house, my job, my car, everything I had. My whole world, all my self esteem. It was a world of getting and using and getting again and using again. That’s all there was. How it felt to lose everything, my marriage and my family? I was so broken. I didn’t believe in God. It came to the point where I was in New Directions for Women and I could not get out of bed in the morning because I was just in tears. I was so broken. I couldn’t go to groups. I couldn’t do anything.

I was laying in bed one night, crying myself to sleep, and my roommate pulled this picture off the wall. She put it right in front of my face. The picture said, “One day, she finally forgave herself.” I thought, “No way, there’s no way. I’ve lost everything. How could I ever forgive myself for losing my son?” It wasn’t until the next morning, a Sunday morning, somebody had talked about prayer in one of the groups. I got down on my knees for the first time in my life and I prayed. I didn’t believe in God before that, but I said a prayer and asked God just to get me through that one day. “Just get me through this one day. Help me get to my groups and get to the places I’m supposed to go without breaking down.” And, he did. From that day forward, I prayed that prayer for the next six months. Every day since, I get on my knees and I ask God to help me through that day and the little parts of that day.

At the time before I came into treatment, I was separated from my family. They did do an intervention on me. They hired somebody to come out and do this intervention, but I jumped out the window and I ran. They told me, “That’s it. You’re done.” Nobody would speak to me. Until about, I think I probably had about 60 days sober when my mother came to visit me during family group at New Directions. Then I got invited to Thanksgiving. Then I got invited to my brother’s wedding. We got closer and closer.

My brother just came out to visit from across the country the other day, and we all had a really great family dinner. My parents, my mom and my dad, have been a huge help in helping me with my kids and helping me get situated. Helping me be responsible, because before, I was so irresponsible I couldn’t pay bills. If I got a ticket, I couldn’t go to court. Now, they’re just there to remind me to stay on it and help me be a responsible person. It’s weird, I didn’t start growing up until I got into recovery. Now I can do those things that I should’ve learned to do years ago. Now, they help me. They retaught me how to do those things because I didn’t learn how to do it the first time.

I have two little boys, Jack and Van. Jack is my oldest. He’s eight years old now. He was three and a half at the time when I came into New Directions. He didn’t get to come to treatment with me because my ex husband had put a restraining order against me. So, I couldn’t see him until I got in and got some time under my belt. He did come and visit. New Directions went with me to court to help me get visitation. They spoke on my behalf to the judge and they were able to get me monitored visitation. They did the monitoring there at New Directions facility.

When I got to New Directions, they told me I was pregnant. I didn’t know. I was three weeks pregnant. I got to go through my whole pregnancy in a safe place. They made sure that I got to my doctor’s appointments and that I was taken care of. I stayed there through the whole nine months until about a week before I had Van. He’s three and a half now. He’s the same age now, as Jack was when I had to leave for treatment. So, it’s interesting. I get a do over. I get to do it over.

I live on the same street as my ex husband and so, we’re co parenting really well. The kids go back and forth every two days. It’s a pretty amazing life. It’s more than I thought I would ever have because when I was on my knees that day, I didn’t think I was ever going to get anything back. I just wanted the strength to get through it, but he gave me more than I could have ever asked for.

They love each other. They’re so much fun. They’re huggers and kissers. When they come back from dad’s for not seeing me for two days, all they want to do is snuggle. It’s so cool. My little boys are just little lap boys. Like you’ve heard of little lap dogs, they’re just little lap boys. They have so much energy. They keep me on my toes.

My bottom was a sad, sad place for my oldest boy. He didn’t know me. When he would come to visit, it’s like he was starting to get to know me. The other day, he said something like, “Mom, remember when I didn’t know you? You know, when you lived in that big house?” He’s talking about the New Directions big house. He got to come and visit but he says things like, “Remember when I didn’t know you,” and “Remember when they took you away from me? You know, you were there and then you were gone and I didn’t see you.” That hurts my heart, it really does. The difference between now and then, for him, is that I’m there. He feels like he didn’t know me before I came into recovery. He didn’t. I wasn’t present for him at all. Now, I get the opportunity to wrap my arms around him every day and be in his everyday life. Do homework with him, take him to haircuts, and just those little things are just such a gift.

I think about my darkest moment and one of them was getting out of jail at one in the morning, with 11 cents in my pocket, not knowing where I was going to go. Not having anybody to call because nobody would speak to me. Then I think about now, four and a half years later, how all the things that I’ve gotten since then. I have my kids back in my life. I have my car. I have my job. People trust me with their kids. Before, I couldn’t even be trusted with my own, and now I’m trusted with other people’s kids. I work in a place where there’s a lot of people in recovery. My job is to help train them. I get people in that are new in recovery that don’t know their way. I get to show them, “Thy will be done. Do your part. Put your bottom in the seat and your mind will follow.” All these things that I’ve learned in recovery, I get to share with others. I get to help somebody else make their life a little bit easier, and easier to find some peace.

My mom is my rock. She is always there. When I have little tiny worries that don’t really make any rational sense, I can call her and she understands. A couple months ago, I was accidentally arrested. I could call my mom and say, “Mom, I was accidentally arrested. It was a clerical error.” She was able to come down, get me out, and take me to court. She was the one who was there for me. When last time, she wouldn’t even answer the phone. My mom has been my rock through this whole thing. She helps me with the boys. My dad, too. He’s my stepdad, but before, he wouldn’t talk to me either. He said, “Terry, you were such a hard person to be around, but now, you’re really easy to be around.” We go out to dinner all the time. Thanksgiving, we’re having it at their house. They’re just my rocks, my parents, and my brothers.

My message for somebody who’s thinking about getting clean and sober is, don’t give up on yourself. Even if you fail, just keep coming back. Keep trying. Put your bottom in the seat, and your mind will follow. When I first came to recovery and to New Directions, I didn’t want any part of it. I thought, “I’m going to fool these people and I’m going to do everything they tell me. And then, when I get out here in 30 days, I’m going to back to what I was doing.” Something clicked while I was in there, and those 30 days turned in 60 days. 60 turned into 90. 90 days turned into nine months. Before you knew it, all those things that they had told me to do had just clicked into place.

Now, four and a half years later, I still do all those things that they told me to do. I get up in the morning, I get on my knees, I make my bed, I read pages 60 to 64. All the little things they told me to do, for some reason, they stuck with me. I know that not everybody makes it on their first try. I was lucky that I could, but people do it on their second try, their third try. Don’t give up. Just keep coming back.

I know that New Directions, for me, they didn’t just save my life. They saved Jack’s mom. They saved Van’s mom. That’s huge. That’s bigger than saving my life, that’s saving somebody’s mom’s life. My message for somebody who is a mom, who carries that guilt and shame, would be, one day, you’ll decide to forgive yourself.

Voiceover: If you, or a loved one, are suffering from addiction, please call our caring admissions counselors today at 1 800 93 women. That’s 1 800 939 6636.