I recently had an experience that affirmed that my life has come full circle. I was asked to take an AA meeting to an adolescent treatment center. As I sat there in front of those teenage girls, I realized that I might be the only proof for them that getting sober young is possible. It wasn’t that long ago that I was one of those girls in a treatment center just like that. I was a teenage drug addict.
Life as a teenager is confusing enough, but when you're emotionally distressed and someone offers you some relief, even if it comes in the form of drugs or alcohol, you might just take it. Being young and finding something to take the edge off all the confusion can seem like a god-send. As an adolescent, consequences seem few and far between -- or the consequences that do occur aren’t taken very seriously. You think that you are invincible. Even all of the trips to behavioral hospitals and drug and alcohol treatment centers did not stop me from seeking the initial relief that I found in drugs and alcohol.
The teenage addict is caught by surprise when adulthood creeps in. Suddenly the consequences become greater and the leniency from authority figures becomes less and less. Life as a young adult is not easy for anybody. Life as a young adult with a drug addiction is like a roller coaster ride. Addiction tears through both the lives of the addict and their loved ones. Eventually, everyone involved gets really tired of the seemingly never-ending addiction cycle.
Almost four years ago, at the age of twenty-two, I got tired of living that way. Ten years of dealing with my drug addiction had taken its toll on my mind and body. I was spiritually worn down and ready for a change. I finally reached out to someone and asked for help. I was lucky enough at this point to go to a 30-day treatment center for drug and alcohol addiction. Treatment saved my life. Continuation of care after treatment made it possible for me to build the foundation for my new life. Sober living helped me to have a safe place to come home to. Therapy and AA meetings made it possible for me to understand the reasons behind my addiction and gave me ways to cope with living a life free of drugs and alcohol. The combination of all these things transformed my life into something I never thought possible.As a teenager I did not have much hope in my life. I am so glad that I held on and made the decision to turn my life around. Being able to help young women who are struggling with addiction is my life’s purpose. Visiting treatment centers for adolescent addicts and seeing the look of hope in their eyes when I share my experience with them is something that I would not trade for the world. “What do you do for fun though?” they often ask me. I smile when someone young and new to recovery asks me this. Life in recovery is so fun and full of adventure. Life has less chaos and more serenity. Goals can be achieved and pure friendships can be formed. It is truly a miracle, and all it took was that first step in asking for help.