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My Name is Melissa

by Melissa Eaves 2 months ago in recovery

I am a recovering addict.

My Name is Melissa
Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

This is a story that I didn't want to write. It is a true story. It is about my decades struggle with drug addiction and the subsequent negatives that have been a natural by product of said struggle. One of those unavoidable negatives is a stigma that never goes away. Another negative is an inability to really relate to sober people whom I feel more interconnected too. Although as the years away from drugs progress, I find the ability to relate does as well. I would like to write this story, essentially to establish how something like this can happen. I would like to write this story to give myself and my readers a basic understanding of my self, where I am from, and some of the struggles I have faced.

I would also like to write this story to be an inspiration for others who may find themselves stuck in a pattern of drug abuse and a bad history. It is also a little bit of an address to a system of bullies that run people percieved as succeessful of the true rails of their lifes purpose. Hopefully, I will be able to make the connections, establish truths, demolish misconceptions, and inspire others that leaving the drug life can and will be worth it.

Sobriety has given me a joy and clatiry that I never had before. For the first time in my life I can feel peace with others. I feel victorious in a way that is inexplicable to the normal mind. It took a literal decade of counseling, behavioral cognitive therapy, and experimenting with medications to find a path of healing and recovery for my mind.

I was never meant for the life of crime, for the drugs, for the promiscous and illiterate culture that the demographics of a broken society categorized me as. Sometimes I speculate if it were the society or merely the bullies that I seem to always attract hiding me. I have found and seen a lot of things here in the underbelly of society. Some extraordinary and "my heart is rendered" beautiful, and some well, "words defy me" terrible. I have a tendency to look at the more positive side of things, and as well as paint a more beautiful picture of my observances rather than what the horror of the realities might actually imply.

My name is Melissa, and I am a recovering addict.

I could never reach my potential in school. I was tested and retested for gifted classes. My differences from the other gifted students were excacerbated and used to substantiate a pattern of low self esteem that followed me through out life. In middle school, the bullies started hitting really hard. Every day I would come home from school crying because of the high school students on the bus. To make a long story short, my father took my brother and I out of the public school system at the end of eighth grade. I studied for and recieved my GED, with a nearly perfect score at 18.

I have struggled with addiction since I was 16 years old. I smoked my first joint then. I actually smoked it on my own, and felt nothing. The next time though, I was flying, into the music, into the blue, blue sky, and into how the converasations around me felt like the teacher on Charlie Brown. It was definitively an escape, and a diversion for my under used mind.

From then I progressed to drinking. In the teenage culture of binge drinking, I was raped. It is a commonplace occurence in said instances. There are two reasons this is so unheard. One reason is that one blames oneself for being in the situation. The second is that one may not remember the actual occurences, or it may be implied that they wanted it. Niether reason which is acceptable, but nonetheless.This further adds to the shame and stigma of it.

As I became fully immersed in said lifestyle, virtue gave way to promiscuity. The further I progressed, the more escapism I indulged in. There were two main types in the drug culture. One type was the kids with money, and the second was the kids who didn't. To further categorize, there were the ones who were in for recreation, and the ones who were seeking escape and social acceptance. I fell into the latter category.

I was literally scraped from my pedastal of art, literature, christianity,and family values and thrown headlong into a culture of mockery, hostility, and white supremacy (unbeknownst to me, "the little prissy bleeding heart better than thou") . In my defense, the worse aspects of said culture were hidden from me and I was encouraged, groomed, and then subsequently shown to embrace the party lifestyle wholeheartedly as my own concept or place to be.

I was sick, after years, the sickness can only be classified as self destructive. Being raped, being abused, parodied, sold and taken advantage of for naivety by the criminal aspect of society took its toll on my self concept, my self worth, and my future prospects.

My drug use and dependence progresssed from marijuana, to alcohol, and finally to harder drug. I became dependent on narcotics.It was a slow progression. It went unnoticed until one day when I realized that I had to have them to function. I realized, at that point, that I needed help. It would still be a long road,unfortunately, before I could finally reach that goal.

My first realization of addiction as a real problem came at 21. I realized that alcohol was a disaster to my life. I quit drinking. And slowly I began waking from the fog of my existence with the "crowd.(the users)" I still used pot however, and still took narcotic pain pills.

From this point, I began sporiadically attending church services. In this I still found love and acceptance and was able to weather the next few years of my life with my survival and mind intact. I went back into my family home, began a more functional and contained medicative approach with drugs, doctors,and started college. I also began promoting Christianity and a sober lifestyle to the old "crowd(users)" and began doing better.

I still had a few "friends" however that I had "gained" in that lifestyle. In other words, I had left the drug culture and attempted to take the steps away from it. However, I was still communicating with some users and others who remained in liasion with the drug scene. It was from these connections that I found myself once more immersed in the drug culture.

As the old story/adage goes, in order to succeed in recovery one must change people, places, and things. As I disregarded this, I was soon in a romantic relationship with one of the "crowd(users)". I tried to keep a handle on both his drug abuse and mine by being responsible; by being moderate and moderating. Yet, I soon found myself in the worst trouble.

Literally. I lived in a school zone, within 500 feet. I was charged with distribution to him( him being my romantic partner)with in the school zone. The charge was a class A felony. Life ruined. School stopped.

So began my true path, however, to recovery.

My counseling was intensive. My probation was intensive. The supervision was intensive.

I was sent through outpatient, inpatient, and institutional treatment. Every step was an integral piece of my path to mend and to sobriety. And, ultimatel, to where I find myself now.

In AA/NA I learned things like this; "You have to change people,places, and things, to truly succeed in recovery." I learned about functional and dysfunctional. I learned to address myself, my own addictive nature, and to identify the physical and mental concepts that would deceive my own mind into making excuses for self destructive behavior.

I learned to weed toxic people from my circle and to avoid people who hate and spread misery. I also came to understand that peer pressure is actually a real thing and that it only gets realer as you get older.

And finally, I learned that it was possible for me to succeed in society without drugs. I came to understand that I am a whole person, that nothing is fundamentally wrong with me. That it is a disease of mind and body that keeps a person stuck. It is mental and physical. That to remain in said situation is actually a personal choice. So, slowly I began to exercise the rights of individual freedom and healthy living and found that I do well. That I belong.

All of these lessons were not without struggle. It is incredibly painstaking to undergo the treatments, self evaluations, physcology, and physical struggles of learning to live without drugs. However, it has been fifteen years and I am still here.

I have been sober for 7 years. I am who I was always meant to be. I have had various positive encounters throughout my life which have guided me. Sometimes I wonder if anyone understands how much impact positive words can have on one persons life, in the scheme of things.

Being sober, has also forced me to be aware of, address and heal from a litany of trauma that a life with drugs and drug abusers has substantiated. It has been up and down, tragic and joyful, ardous and neccessary. I am a wholly different person than what I am percieved to be. To stand against, to live through, deal with, and then be left staggering under the stigma of drug abuse and a felony has made me a victor, without capacity to fail.


Melissa Eaves

I am an aspiring writer and a lifelong lover of books and the arts.

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Read next: The shoebox underneath my bed.

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