Giving up Everything to Get Clean
Hi, I’m Amanda. I’m grateful for a safe, structured program and to have people to talk to at the Mission. Getting clean isn’t easy, but I’ve got to give my kids a healthy home.
Growing up with a single mom and 5 siblings was really hard. We were always broke, and there was always lots of chaos. Lots of bad friends hung around, and police visited too often. Later on, my mother said that I never really had a childhood—that I was the “little mom”, taking care of the house. For awhile. At 9, I smoked weed and began drinking, then got into the harder drugs in middle school. In sophomore year of high school, I almost got expelled showing up after a night of taking pills.
I developed talents in the dental office, actually winning competitions in high school! After landing a full time job and a raise, I got my own place. But I found trouble with the law in arrests and fines for underage drinking. I sought treatment, but it didn’t work. Instead I found meth, heroin, and a long string of abusive relationships.
I had a daughter and a son, but struggled to keep them, work, and stay sober. Once my daughter wanted some medicine to sleep and I said no. She said “you take medicine with the needle every day”. I cried. This kid knew all of the recovery programs by name. No kid should have to know that. She witnessed all of the violence, and a lot of drug use. Another time I missed my son’s 4th birthday. He called and said “It’s ok that you can’t see me today”. For the first time I really understood that my addiction hurts others too. Tears were streaming down my arm as I was getting another needle ready.
It was then I made one of the hardest decisions ever. I was sick and needed help. I went into social services, handed over my kids, and told them I needed to get clean. It was another in a series of deeply troubling moments.
At the Mission, I’ve been keeping very busy. There’s so much to process, and a structured schedule means I can process a little at a time. I didn’t give up my kids just so I could go back to the streets. Helping at the street community meal keeps me humble. It reminds me of how it can be. Here I can save money and work on myself so I can update my dental hygiene degree and have a stable home for myself and my kids.
- Mary Ellen
- Joe D.