Hi, my name is Jen and I’m an addict. I have said that phrase so many times, I don’t even notice it anymore. I will have to say it for the rest of my life as well. I am and will always be an addict — that is my harsh reality. I am going to tell you my story.

I grew up on Kent Island. I moved there with my family when I was eight. I had a great childhood, but there were things that happened outside of my control that made me feel less than. I was trying to fill a void, and had no self-esteem. I was the youngest of three kids. So I grew up a little quicker than some. I had my first introduction to drugs and alcohol at the age of eleven.

I remember feeling so free and a part of when I was getting high with my friends. None of us really thought too much about it being a bad thing, we just did it to escape reality. Throughout the years I continued to experiment with drugs, and they continued to get harder.

Percocet’s were everywhere, they made me feel like superwoman. I was given my first prescription after my daughter was born. I had to have a cesarean section. I was hooked almost immediately. I always justified it because they were prescribed by a doctor. Once my script ran out, I started buying them off the street. The pills started out cheap at first, but that was short lived. Soon they became a dollar a milligram. Then people started charging a lot more than what they were “worth” just because they could. I was working as much as possible, but I couldn’t keep up with the cost of my habit.

I decided to try heroin for the first time at age 28. I hated it, but I didn’t stop using it. It was cheaper, and easier to get than the pills. I didn’t care about anyone or anything. The vicious cycle of trying to get high and being sick was literally all my brain could think about. I hated it, I wanted to die. I was miserable each morning that I woke up. I could not see a way out. Eventually I got involved in a petty theft scheme with an ex to feed our addictions. I was so humiliated. I hated who I had become.

I got arrested in 2014 and ended up in jail for the first time in my life. I was so extremely sick, I literally thought I was dying. It was a long struggle for the next two years, in and out of jail, probation, IOP, and 12-step meetings. I had a hard time letting go of using. I tried Suboxone, I tried only drinking and doing Xanax. Nothing worked my way. I always ended up back to what I was trying to run away from. Eventually I ended up doing a 21-day stay at the A.F. Whitsitt Center in Chestertown. I completely humbled myself and gave into recovery. My clean date is May 14, 2016.

I made a lot of bad decisions, I never thought I would have ended up where I did. I lost myself along the way, and it took a long time, but I found myself again. I know God was looking out for me every step of the way, and I am truly grateful to have been given another chance at life, and at recovery. I now work as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist at the same place that saved my life, Recovery in Motion. I get to work with women impatient on a daily basis, and try to give back my experience, strength, and hope to hopefully be able to help another woman not have to go through what I had to go through.

Thanks for letting me share!

Has your life been affected by substance use disorder? Are you willing to share your experience? Please email us: talbotgoespurple@gmail.com.

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