Resident Blogs

Pregnant In Active Addiction

Getting Pregnant In Active Addiction

Getting pregnant with my son was not planned.  And, being a mother wasn’t a choice.  I got with my son’s father and after 3 months I was pregnant. We went to the hospital because I was having really bad stomach pains and throwing up. They did tests and came back and told me that I was pregnant. I couldn’t even explain the type of emotions I was having. Especially because I was still using at times.

Easier To Stop Being Pregnant

Once I found out I was pregnant with my son it was a lot easier to stop.  I had already stopped doing it as frequently when I got with my son’s father. The thoughts I had throughout the pregnancy were up and down. At first I was like I don’t think that I am in any condition to raise a child. And then I was very excited to have a family of my own, with my son’s father. My pregnancy was exhausting.  Several times I was hospitalized for dehydration.

Introduction To Unconditional Love

Once I had my child and held him in my hands I knew what unconditional love felt like. Once I looked my son in the eyes I knew that I had made the right choice. Everything was going good for a while, but I started building a resentment against my son’s father.   He wasn’t helping much with my child.

A Mom’s Desire To Quit Using

After about a year or so when I stopped breastfeeding my child I started to use drugs again. That’s when I felt like I was incapable of being a good mother. I slacked on teaching my kid some things that I should have been teaching him. I was there when he started walking, crawling, eating regular Foods. But I wasn’t actually there in the moment. The drugs were consuming me. And many times I thought I could quit for the sake of my kid and I just couldn’t.

A Mom’s Insanity

I love my child and he was very important to me but he still couldn’t stop me from using. My child went through a lot because of me.  I brought him with me on drug deals and drug dealers houses and so on and so forth. I went through that Insanity for a couple years in my kid’s life.

Desire To Be Reunited

I went to Ace in 2015, and that’s when Ayden started staying with Justin, his father, regularly. I figured once I graduated I would be able to get my son back. When I did graduate Justin actually started letting me take him regularly to where I was staying because I was staying clean. I started to see where I slacked with being a mother, and the things that I should have been teaching my son. I opened my eyes  to how much this kid has grown, and it was amazing.

Growing Through Milestones

I thought that that was going to be my chance to be a real mother. After about 17 months I went back out for a few months. I felt like I had given up on myself and my kid. After the insanity of a few months I came to a transitional house because I knew it was time to surrender. I was sick and tired, but I was also emotionally less. My son was doing all these great things and growing through milestones in his life around that age, and I felt like I just couldn’t enjoy them because the drugs had made me feel nothing anymore.

A Mom’s Awakening

My son’s father kept my son from me for almost 2 months. My heart felt as though it was broken into pieces. When I started seeing my son again that love filled the void that I had. And I opened my eyes and realized that I was putting him through what my mom put me through. I was introducing him to the chaos I had in my life at such a young age.

There For My Son

In the past year we went through some battles. My son got diagnosed with absence seizures, and since being diagnosed we’ve been to a couple appointments for testing. I realize that I’m not a bad mother. I’ve just made bad choices. Today I’m able to be here for my son. I’m able to recognize his growth and be there and cheer him on when he notices the accomplishments that he has made. I was able to be there for my son this past weekend when he swallowed batteries. I was actually able to drive him to the hospital to find out what was wrong and then stay the night with him and make sure that he was okay.

A Lovable Connection

Today me and my son have a lovable connection. He’s such a lovable kid and very smart. I get to be there a hundred percent today and In the moment. I’m not continuously ditching my responsibilities as a mother to go get high. My son starts kindergarten very soon and I get to be there to send them off to school on his first day.

Blessed By Unconditional Love

Now back to what I said about I didn’t choose to be a mother, but I’m sure glad that I am Ayden’s mom today. I couldn’t even begin to explain the unconditional love that we have. And that’s a blessing all in its own. Being a parent isn’t always fun and games it comes with responsibility, stress, and other factors. But being able to teach this little human being that came from me and watch him grow into such a handsome well mannered young man makes it well worth it.  My name is Lauren, and I am an addict.

read more

Advocate For Addicts Needed In Hospitals

This is a mother and daughter sharing a story, and the hopes are that it brings awareness to help in Ending the Stigma of Addiction. To help get an Advocate for addicts in the hospitals to give “us” a voice.

A Hospitalization Nightmare

Here is My Mother’s Nightmare when she needed to just be by her daughter’s side.
Recently my daughter (who has been battling addiction for 17 years) was hospitalized due to Endocarditis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolisms, and sepsis – all due to her heroin addiction.  Once admitted, she ended up coding but was ultimately revived. Throughout her six-week hospital stay, some of the medical staff treated her like they would any other patient. However, many doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel treated us both like we were pariahs.  The emergency room physician had immediately put her on IV morphine because he knew that she was in excruciating and unbearable pain due to her life-threatening condition, but things changed dramatically once she was admitted and transferred to a room.

Taking The Edge Off

The very first doctor that was assigned to my daughter walked into her room with a huge frown on his face. Without even introducing himself, he started berating her.  The first words out of his mouth were “I am NOT giving you any more pain medication because you are a drug addict!”  She was so sick, she could hardly move, let alone speak.  I politely said that she is in horrible pain, and that because of her high tolerance to opiates – the little bit of morphine the ER doctor put her on was at least helping to take the edge off.

Choice Of Illness?

I begged him not to deprive her of that small comfort, and he literally yelled back at me, “Are you aware of all of the drugs she tested positive for?”  I politely replied “Yes, she/we have been dealing with her disease since her father tragically died many years ago.”  I told him that she had put together many years of clean time before this relapse, and that she was just as worthy as any other patient he may treat.  He continued to argue that he didn’t care how much pain she was in, and that he wasn’t going to give her medication that is reserved for someone who didn’t “choose” their illness.

Compassion Denied

As upset as I was, I tried to reason with him that she is a wonderful person with a horrible disease and should be treated like any other patient who comes under his care.  He yelled, “If you know so much, what have YOU done about it?… Do you even know about AA?”  I was flabbergasted and told him that not only have I learned all I ever wanted to know about this disease through the many years of her rehabs and hospitalizations, but that I was also going to college for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling, so “Yes, I know all about AA, NA, and many other treatment approaches that are out there.”

Advocate Rather Than Bully

Not considering that my daughter and I were told that she most likely would not survive her current medical condition, this doctor continued to belittle us both until he stormed out of the room making it clear that he wasn’t budging on the subject.  I was in utter shock, and something needed to be done. Therefore, I went to the front desk and asked a volunteer if they would kindly direct me to the office for a patient advocate.  I was told that there was no such office, and no such advocate for addicts on or around the premises.  So, I proceeded to hunt down the Director of Physicians, and calmly informed him of our experience.  He said he would see what he could do.  By the time I collected myself and made my way back up to her room, she whispered that the same doctor had come back into her room, leaned over her bed, and said “so your mom had me removed from your case, I hope you’re happy!”.  He was nothing but a bully!

Worthy Of Saving?

The next doctor disclosed that he had a niece who suffered from the same disease.   He put her back on what little pain medication that was originally prescribed and was wonderful for the next three days. Unfortunately, for the rest of her six-week stay, my daughter was assigned a different doctor every two or three days.  Some were compassionate, but most weren’t.  Some treated her like she was worthy of saving, and others treated her as if they were wasting her time.  We both kept asking if there was anyone on staff that was educated or knowledgeable about addiction, an advocate for addicts.  Unfortunately the answer was always a big “No”.

Minimal Education In Addiction

We finally asked if she could speak to a psychiatrist.  A few days later one came to see her, and we both explained to him what was happening. We also told him how the heart doctors who originally said that my daughter would need emergency open-heart surgery had all but disappeared.  To our surprise, the psychiatrist went to great lengths to explain to us what was happening.  He said that he wished there were addiction specialists at the hospital because medical doctors are only required to dedicate a few hours of their entire education to learning about substance use disorders, but there weren’t any on staff.   There was no one to advocate for addicts on staff.

“Hard To Fix” Addicts

He went on to explain that since many doctors don’t understand the disease, they would rather not have addicts as patients. He said they are used to fixing” their patients, and that addicts are “hard to fix”, and “most of them leave to go back to using anyways”.  We were surprised (but grateful) that he was being so frank with us.

ZERO Help For Addicts

It was then that he disclosed that one of his family members were also suffering from addiction.  He went on to say how frustrated he was that there was ZERO help for addicts in the hospital.  Additionally, that this was a huge problem not only in this state, but the entire country. It was sad to hear this reality, but it has given my daughter and I the motivation and determination to help eradicate the stigma by dispelling inaccurate information, and countering pessimistic mindsets regarding substance use disorders.

The Addicted Daughter

This is My Experience while in the Hospital.
My first memory when I was in the hospital was me slowly opening my eyes to find a doctor leaning over my bed.  I can still see his face in mine saying with a belittling and intimidating attitude “Have you had enough yet!?”. At this point I was very “grave” and in excruciating pain and facing the possibility of death.

I Actually May Die, This Time

I was still trying to comprehend everything that was going on.  All the while trying to accept the fact that this may be the time that I actually may die as a result of my disease. I had already beaten myself mentally and physically bad enough.  And then finding myself hearing a doctor’s attitude, a doctor whom has my life is his hands belittle me even further. It truly frightened me.

Helplessly Watching

Honestly, I even believed I deserved to be treated that way. He began to scold my mother as I laid there. He began saying things like “Are you the Enabler?” “What have you done to help?!”. I felt helpless as I watched him completely berate and teardown my mother as she was ALSO possibly facing the fact that HER daughter may too be dying.

Great Lengths Of A Mother’s Love

He had NO idea of our story. He had no idea the great lengths my mother has gone to find help for me while I was in the deepest part of my addiction. She is a mother WHO has done everything to try to help me achieve sobriety. As badly as he was treating me he was also treating my mother just as badly. Someone who did not deserve to be treated that way. I was the addict.

Undeserving Addict

He proceeded to yell at me, “I am not going to give you pain medication that I give to Cancer Patients.” However, I was in the middle of dying from MRSA that was painfully eating away at my organs. Pulmonary embolisms that were lodged in my lungs causing fluid to capacitate my breathing inflaming my lungs and embolisms in my ankle eating way at the joints. The list goes on for my pain all the while dreadfully beginning to detox on my literal death bed.  This doctor let me know with no hesitation that I did this to myself.  Additionally, how he had no intentions of letting me be even slightly comfortable. I remember my mom hearing my breathing and seeing the amount of pain I was in. My body had been in such pain that I finally had fell asleep for a little.

A Mother’s Search For Help

When I woke up I remember my mom walking through the door, and I could hardly talk.  But I was able to muster out “Where did you go?”.   She began to tell me that she went to talk to the Director of Doctors, to explain my situation.  Her intention was to also have that doctor removed from my case.

A Human Being Receives Care

In the meantime, we were informed that pain medications were very necessary for me at that point regardless of being an addict or not. It was doing more damage, and even lessening the possibility of having the antibiotics help restore and remove the vegetation from from heart.  The pain medications would also help me to not go into cardiac arrest.  Finally we had somebody, a doctor, on our side that saw me as a human being that was in dire pain. That was a start. Eventually the antibiotics began to work, and the pain medication helped my breathing become a little more bearable.  Soon after I began physical therapy to start walking again.

Inconsistent Medical Treatment

Every couple day the Doctors would switch. I finally got one doctor that was compassionate and understood a little bit more.  With time he got to see that I was a good person too, and not just an addict. So then I would feel hopeful. But then, 2-3 days later I got another doctor who would just immediately cut me off the morphine without a tapper or warning. Without even reading my file and learning the backwards effect it would have on my progression. Then a few days later another would look beyond my addiction.

Realization To Want To Live

This went back and forth every couple days. I knew that my luck would run out, and I would have to face another doctor or nurse that would be rude to me. A medical professional that would treat me differently or sometimes not even acknowledge me. That treatment, or lack of would literally shatter me. I had to accept that I am the addict. That I did this to myself.  And, I deserved it anyways.  But as I got better, I realized that didn’t want to die.

A Mountain Too Big

I wanted to be the happy and heathy person I was when I was clean and sober. But, I was so filled with hate for myself and disappointment.  And that mountain seemed too big. And I was isolated in the hospital with 0% percent of encouragement from the staff there. In my own crazy, sick mind with only a TV and 24 hours a day to think about everything I’ve done.  Everything I’ve done to myself and to the people I love. My thinking was the same as when I came in while in the grip of active addiction. That same thinking that got me there in the first place.

Anything Is Possible

My mom and another family member put together a collage poster of pictures of my first sobriety.  The collage was placed on the wall to remind me of the sober path I’ve led before.  To remind me this path was still possible. When they put them on my wall in the hospital the Doctors and the nurse started looking at my pictures of me.  Pictures of me with my family and my son. Just a few started asking questions. I saw them become curious of my disease. They saw that I was your average women when was I healthy. I was a vibrant, smart.  Yes, even a well mannered human being.  Some of their attitudes and they way that they treated me started to change for the better. A psychiatrist came in for a total of maybe 15-20 mins to enlighten us on the perspective from the doctors.  And that perspective was a little scary, but at the same time understandable. Doctors and nurses are very busy.

A Plan For Rehab

I finished my 6-week course of antibiotics by the skin of my teeth. It was very hard.   Being an addict, and having to sit there for 6 weeks, with my frame of mind and with no support, was almost impossible to bear. I had a plan to go to rehab after… but that was only possible if I hung on to finish the 6 weeks of the antibiotic treatment.

Advocate For Addicts Needed

I may be an addict, but I am still human.  Our Bodies still operate the same. I always wonder to myself, “what if I hadn’t had my mother there?”, to be my voice when I couldn’t speak. Or even because I am an addict that I deserve this.  There is a need for an advocate for addicts in our Hospitals.  Someone to help the doctors and nurses to communicate on our behalf, because let’s face it…. Nobody listens to “Us”.
End the stigma.

Relationship With Family, Blood and My New Family

Starting To Find Balance

Relationships are very important to me today, both blood family and my new family.  They provide me support on my journey in life as changes happen.  Like I just got switched from night shift to day shift at my job.  It’s been almost two weeks and my world is still out of balance. My whole schedule changed.  The meetings I’ve been going to changed a little bit, but I’m starting to find balance and it’s working out.

The Other Side

I just picked up a new service commitment at the detox where my journey started I’m so excited about it.  I’m very passionate about doing H& I service work, and spreading the seeds of hope.  I went to the jail again last Friday to take a meeting.  One of the correction officers remembered me from 8 years ago, and said that I look really good and to keep doing what I’m doing. That was a great feeling.  To be in the jail, but on the other side today.

Trials And Tribulations

This past month has had its blessings and it’s trials and tribulations. My pop- pop got sick and went to the hospital.  Now he’s in the rehabilitation center getting physical therapy.  Hopefully it works because if it don’t and he can’t walk anymore, he’s going to have to live there. That would be sad.

Attempt To Build A Relationship

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day.  I haven’t really had any relationship with my mom my whole life.  So I called her to try and build that relationship.  Everything I was telling her that I’ve accomplished or what I’m doing she had something nasty to say and put me down.  Like that’s my mother, she should be proud of me.  Everything nasty she said to me I didn’t react.  I just acted like I didn’t hear her comments.

It Is What It Is

Not everything needs a reaction today.  But my sponsor said I shouldn’t have put up with the way she was talking to me.  She suggested I should have just said ok, love you and bye I gotta go.  Instead, I sat on the phone and listened to it cause it’s been months since I’ve heard her voice. My sister even called me after and said she was sorry that mom was acting like that towards me. I just said it is what it is and I tried.

Toxic Relationship

God hasn’t brought that relationship into my life because it’s toxic and unhealthy.  I may never have a relationship with my mom.  But at least I know I’ve kept my side of the street clean.  All I can do is pray and find acceptance.  I’m grateful for the amazing people and family I do have in my life.

Open Arms And Hearts

You don’t pick who your blood family is, but you can pick your family.  The people who know you best and open up their arms and hearts for you. I’m grateful for my dad, my sisters and brothers, my close friends, and a lady I call mom.  That’s because she opened up her heart like I was one of her own and has always been there for me.  She’s always given me guidance, a shoulder to cry on, laughter and ice cream trips.  Because we all know ice cream cures all things lol.

Quality Over Quantity

My support group isn’t huge because I prefer quality over quantity. I’ve learned that the hard way, but the people close to me are amazing, genuine and loving. We all aren’t perfect but we are perfect for each other.

Step Eleven Awakenings

I’ve been working on my eleventh step, and I’m getting this now.  Like praying and meditating for the answers.  Since I’ve been on the eleventh step I’ve had many spiritual awakenings. I pray, but I have a problem with listening and waiting for the answers in God’s time not mine.  By working this step I’ve made progress and my higher power is probably like “about time you listened and waited for my answers” lol. I’m grateful for my life today the ups the downs. I live a life I never thought was possible.  A life beyond my wildest dreams!  I know with my recovery first, anything is possible.

I’m a grateful recovery addict named Nikki, and today I have 19 Months clean!

read more

Do Your Choices Define And Make You Who You Are?

Choices vs Assigning Blame

Do your choices define you? Do they make you who you are today? Are you making the right choices for the right reasons? Are they fear based or are they well thought? These are questions that I have all the time. How do my choices affect me today? When I first got clean, I blamed anyone and everything for my using. If you asked me why I did what I did or why I continued to use and go through the chaotic mess of using, I would blame it on a situation that happened or because this was going on in my life, etc. I wouldn’t take responsibility for my actions.

Facing The Real Truth

As the days went on I still struggled to face the real truth. It wasn’t until I started working the steps that I could become honest with myself. I remember the day like it was yesterday.  There I was sitting in a meeting and someone had said, your here because of your own choices not because of someone or something else. I took that in and looked at myself. That’s when I came to the realization that I didn’t make it there because of what someone did to me.

Rationalization And Justification

I began using drugs to fulfill some emotional void. The choice I made was to keep using, and spinning in complete chaos.  Therefore making the choices to steal, to lie, to cheat, to screw over everyone in my life that cared about me. Then I made the choice to accept help, and then push them away because it was uncomfortable. The only thing I counted on for comfort was my drugs. I was a big one for the blame game, and would never take responsibility for my actions. And in the heat of using, the blame I would put on others made me feel better about myself. Kinda like I deserve to use because of all the things that have happened to me, or the stress that was brought about. Rationalization and justification was my go to.

My Choices Define Me

So today yes my choices define me, when I make the right choices. Does the past define me? No. Am I that person anymore. Absolutely not. Am I making the right choices for the right reasons? Yes I am. Today I know that if I start to justify why something may be right, then it probably is not the right choice. I’m not perfect. Do I still make some choices out of fear? Probably. And that is something I am working on . Was it a choice to continue in the grip of disaster? Yes, it was a choice. But I will not let it define me. I grow from my bad choices and learn from them.

The Choice Of Gratitude

Today I choose to be happy, to live my life in recovery, and to allow my comfort to be in the rooms of NA. All the choices I have made, good or bad, have gotten me to where I am today. I celebrate one year clean with my support group today, and I choose to be grateful for the good the bad and the ugly. Happiness looks great on me and I choose to seek that and stay clean just for today.

Grateful recovering addict, Lauren

read more

How To Fill Up My Time In Sobriety

Down Time Can Be Dangerous

I find it hard to fill up my time in the beginning of sobriety.  And for me, too much down time can be a dangerous thing, especially in the beginning. It is tough for me to be in my own head.  So for me, I love to focus on my favorite tv shows.  I love watching Bravo. ANYTHING BRAVO!

The Break I Need

My favorite is the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules. I love watching shows on Netfix too.  Currently, I am re-watching the Sons Of Anarchy. For me, watching my shows gives me the break I need.  It allows me to not focus so much on me. Being aware of the small things that make me happy and doing them really helps me.

Centered Around Using

My hobbies for the past 8 years were centered around using.  Everything I did was centered around drugs and alcohol. If I had a bad day at work, or if I had a great day at work, if the Cowboys won the game or if the Cowboys lost the game, I used. I always had a reason to get high.  And I spent a large portion of my life using, so I have a lot of time to fill.

Something Different This Time

I have gone to plenty of meetings, but never had a home group. Last Friday after getting the push I needed from friends in the house, to do something different this time, I got a home group. I thought “getting involved” was just attending meetings, but it means so much more.  Yes, I need to go to meetings regulary, get a home group, get a sponsor, start working the 12 steps, get involved in service work and create relationships in the rooms.

A New Opportunity

I now have a home group, and I have been getting out of my comfort zone.  I’m talking to people before and after the meetings, and not just talking to my roomates. Being clean and sober really gives me a chance to find out who I am and what I like to do.  I didn’t have that opportunity in active addiction. I don’t want to just get sober.  Rather, I want to live sober.

Simply Happy

I want to continue doing things that make me happy, even something so simple like watching my favorite tv show. I need to replace the hole that drugs and alcohol filled. For the past 8 years I have had no time or energy for hobbies.  So I am searching for activities that make me happy.  I want to enjoy my life in recovery because I know I can truely be happy.

read more