Vicki's Story

I’m an addict. I will always be an addict. I lost almost everything to my love of dope. People always want there to be some “reason” why I got there. What happened in my childhood? What did my parents do wrong? People want to know what they can do to protect themselves from it. I don’t have the bad childhood answers. Neither of my parents were drinkers and certainly not drug addicts.

My father was a very strong person and kept a very close eye on me. I was his beautiful young daughter. I was, and always will be, a daddy’s girl. When I was 16 and I wanted to go out on a date, he had me sign a contract. I would observe the following rules or I would face the following consequences. Well, of course, I broke the rules. Yep! Pretty much each and every one of them.

I found a guy who was the son of one of my dad’s friends and we went out. He was the perfect “bad boy” and I couldn’t resist. He had been in and out of jail. He was bad enough that his father told my dad to keep me away from his son; it was not a good thing for me. Well, I was sixteen years old. When my dad told me that, it was ON! The same thing happened when he told me never to get on a Harley. Maybe the “under the thumb thing” wasn’t so good for my “black sheep” personality. At least that is what my beloved Grandmother always called me. I was her “precious little black sheep”.

When I started dating the father of my first son, I started smoking pot. He was slamming speed. I had been doing cross tops at school, but not snorting it or anything like that. I liked the way it made me feel and it was helping me lose weight, so I thought, “Wow, this is my dream drug, it will keep me young forever!” The word “young” needs definition. Mentally - maybe - but not in a good way. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

He went to jail. I would drive an hour each way every day, so that I could see him at all three allowed daily visitations. I lived to see him.
When he got out of jail, we were headed to his grandma’s house in a van, discussing dope. He was slamming the drugs and I said, “Why would you want to do that?” He said, “Don’t knock it until you try it!” That evening I was shooting meth. It was all I wanted to do from that point forward.

We wound up in a crash pad in San Francisco. I found out I was pregnant, so I quit the drugs for a bit. It was awful. He was still slamming and there were so many cockroaches running around, we were sleeping on the floor. I would lay there and he would be killing them all around my head. I left one morning to get a cup of coffee from across the street; I came back and saw the police were raiding the place. Half of the people were face down on the floor; my boyfriend’s brother was handcuffed to the top of the stairs and just said, “Get out of here!”

I ran. You bet I ran. I wound up at his mother’s, where I was living when I had my oldest son. My boyfriend was in jail and his mother was patient and helpful. I was clean for a while, until my son was a toddler. I would do the mom thing, feed him, put him to bed and he would say, “Momma, where are you going?” I would tell him I was going out, but Nana was going to be there. Not to worry. Nana had only one rule for me: I had to be back by 7am.

Much of my past is vague. I’m embarrassed to say that, but it is true. My son and I wound up living with my dad. I was using again. My father saw it for the first time even though I tried to hide it from him.

Then I met Scott, the father of my other two boys. Our relationship was addictive on every level. It was all about drugs and alcohol and it was also abusive. I ended up in jail. My son was taken by his Nana. It was hell on me, but it was probably the best thing for my son at the time. It didn’t last long though. I got clean, and I got my son back.

Then I got pregnant with my second child. When he was born he had some physical, genetic issues, and was not healthy. For the record, it turns out that this had nothing to do with my drug usage but I blamed myself anyway. He was very sick. While I was in the hospital with my baby, my best friend was sleeping with my husband.

It was beyond awful. I blamed myself. I blamed him. I blamed her. I blamed everyone. I started using again. I wound up in jail again, this time for shoplifting. I had nine bucks but I stole a pair of shoelaces and a toothbrush. I also had a ton of drugs in my purse because I was selling.

All I knew was that my body was craving the drugs, craving the needle and I needed the excuse to do it. I would clean up, but then my grandma died, Scott was sleeping around, if anything happened, it became my excuse to go back. I lost everything. It’s my fault.

I loved the needle. If someone were to ask me if they should put a needle in their arm, I would warn them that even the needle, in and of itself, is an addiction. Junkies will shoot anything at all in their arms to see and feel that ritual again.

Was I self-medicating? No. That is an excuse, too. I was, and am, an addict. The difference between then and now is that I don’t use.

My oldest son and I are trying to work on a relationship now. My two younger boys and I are close. I have them, my car and my mom. That, at 52 years old, is all I have. But I have one more thing. After years of sobriety, I have my self-respect. I stopped beating myself up every night. I still have things that I work on and I need to work on, but I’m able to do that now.

I quit for years, went back, quit, went back. If you get off of it and go back - be forewarned - it’s not like starting over. Within a week you will be right were you left off, maybe worse. The beauty of a 12-step program is that you sit there and hear someone else tell your same story. It has amazed me. I am not alone. I am not the only one!

I hear a new little voice in my head now. That is my higher power. I love my higher power. I didn’t try to take my life in the terms that so many people think of. I just almost destroyed it because I loved my needle more than I loved me. A slower death, if you will.

I will always be an addict. It is my personality, but I am no longer a victim of my addictions. I am happy to be free of that guilt. I am happy to have a real relationship with my boys and I’m happy to be alive with a lot more life to live.

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