“Most stories like mine are told from hard places. I wanted to tell my story at my mom’s home in Fairhope to show addiction doesn’t care who you are or where you live.
I had a great childhood with loving parents. My dad was a doctor and graduated from Vanderbilt with a specialty in neurology. I didn’t need the internet because Dad knew everything.
My mother was just as impressive. We went to church three times a week and on summer mission trips. We lived in Nashville, and my parents sent me to private school. My parents didn’t miss my events, and I always knew they loved me. I came from greatness, and my life of addiction happened anyway.
When I was 13, I rebelled and met a guy from the other side of the tracks. His mom was an addict, and he was unsupervised. He was my first everything: first love, first kiss, first abuser. It was a toxic relationship, but I was too young to understand. I snuck out of the house at midnight and took a cab to a part of town where I had no business being. When I walked into my boyfriend’s house, his mom said, ‘Son, you are going to get that girl in trouble.’ We went into his room and smoked pot and had sex. That was my first experience with both. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t like either, but I did it several more times until I was caught. My parents wouldn’t let me see him again, but I kept sneaking around.
I was 18 when my dad passed away from cancer. He died soon after my high school graduation. I was devastated. I went to college for a year and then married my best friend. I was 19 and didn’t know what else to do with myself. We soon had a baby.
I stayed with my daughter during the day and went binge drinking with friends three nights a week. My husband was a good man, but I wasn’t in love with him and did my own thing. We separated for three years, and both of us had sons with other people. We later got back together and had another child.
My pill addiction began when I took my brother’s Adderall and felt like a superwoman. I worked my shift, took care of my daughter, cleaned the house, and got things done that I usually wasn’t able to do. It was a miracle drug, and I started doctor-shopping to get it.
I had Adderall parties with my friends. We sat in a circle talking and passing the pill bottle around once an hour. We got high out of our minds and thought we were taking the edge off. I didn’t realize I was abusing drugs.
In 2000, it was easy to go doctor shopping for Adderall prescriptions. One of the doctors was a close family friend and my children’s pediatrician. I tricked him into prescribing the highest dosage for my daughter. She didn’t need it, but he trusted me until he realized what I was doing. I was embarrassed and started buying Adderall from friends because everyone I knew was on pills.
Soon, Adderall wasn’t enough. I was binge drinking one night and didn’t have my diet pills. I had no way to get high, so my friend offered some of her ice. If she had called it meth, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. I did a line. It burned, but I immediately found the answer to all of my questions. What questions was I asking if meth was the correct answer?
For six months, I only did meth when I went out. I thought I was being responsible, but then I went to EMT school and was high on meth the whole time. I passed the exams with flying colors and did well on my clinicals but couldn’t get a job when they discovered I was on drugs. It’s a shame because I would have been a good EMT.
I divorced my best friend and my next relationships were abusive. The worst was a good-looking man who was a bad person. He was a true narcissist, but I mowed down the red flags because he loved-bombed me. When he was well, he was everything I wanted. When he wasn’t well, he tried to kill me or threatened to set my house on fire with my children in it.
Doing meth became a daily habit with him. In four months, I lost everything: my house, my car, my job, my kids. I lived in a motel, and he threatened to drive his truck into the side of it because I wouldn’t let him in. The SWAT team stopped him and took him to jail, but he said he would get out in 12 hours and kill me.
He got out of jail and apologized. I took him back despite the restraining order. I was addicted to him and always took him back. He treated me so badly, but left just enough crumbs of human decency that I ate them up with a glimmer of hope that we could work it out.
We quit meth for seven months and went to Narcotics Anonymous, but I didn’t take it seriously. I hadn’t surrendered anything. I just wasn’t doing drugs.
My mom drove to Nashville while I was clean, hoping to take me to Fairhope and help me turn my life around. We fought because I didn’t think my boyfriend was the problem, and I wouldn’t let him go. He and I were going to be clean and a happy family. At some point I started thinking obsession and control were love. He must love me if I had the power to make him that mad. If he beats the crap out of me, he must care.
My mom gave up and drove back to Fairhope. I should have left with her and straightened up. Instead, my life was about to get worse.”
(Part one of three. This interview was in Sept. 2022)