“I was 17 the first time I did drugs. I became a drug dealer, selling for decades to pay the bills and support my habit.
I went to jail three times and almost died a couple of times. I kept hitting the wall over and over. I had so much loss in my life, I just didn’t care. I was a young girl when two men in my family started molesting me. Other family members didn’t want to believe me or take my side.
It was in the 1970’s when we didn’t talk about this, so I kept it to myself. All of that messed me up. A few years later, I started smoking weed and hanging out with bad people and ending up in juvenile detention. I left home at 17 and met my first girlfriend.
She was trying to pay the bills with prostitution, so I joined in. We made enough money to pay the rent and buy weed and alcohol. The first time I did it, I got drunk. I always needed a few beers and shots of whiskey before I got going. Prostitution was belittling, and I already had a bad thing about being abused by men. I never should have done it.
We got out of prostitution and into other jobs. My girlfriend was hit and killed by a truck while washing the walls of one of the tunnels in Mobile. I was devastated by her death and kept using drugs. Heroin had just been cleared out of Mobile and Dilaudid came out. I also used Percocet and Valium.
The first time I went to jail, nobody picked me up when I was released. I wound up at the dope house. I know that’s a poor excuse, but going there seemed like my only option. That kept me on a bad path.
I started shoplifting for drug money. We lined bags with aluminum foil so we wouldn’t set off the alarms. We stole a couple of packs of meat every day. We used that to buy crack.
I also started selling drugs. Selling drugs meant I didn’t have to do the things I used to do to buy them. I know what I did was wrong, but it was the only way I could make money. I was too strung out to get another job.
The drugs I sold changed with the trends. I learned how to make meth but quit the day a sheriff’s deputy left his business card on the door of the trailer where I was making it. When doctors freely prescribed OxyContin, I went to multiple doctors to get prescriptions of OxyContin and Xanax, then sold the pills.
I rotated doctors in Mobile, Fairhope, and Mississippi, going to a different one each week to get prescriptions. Pills sold for $1 per milligram. I sold an 80 mg pill for $80 or 40 milligrams for $40.
I sold from my house and some customers stopped by several times a day. I also met them in the bathrooms of fast-food restaurants or delivered to their jobs. I charged $5 less to customers who were turning around and selling the drugs to support their habits,
People were out there looking for drugs. If they didn’t buy from me, they would buy from someone else. Most of them didn’t care that they were messing up their lives.
Getting caught or someone snitching was always in the back of my mind, and there were a few limits to who I would sell to. I didn’t sell to teenagers or pregnant women. I even tried to talk a few mothers out of using because they had kids at home.
I wish someone had talked with me about what happens when you go down this road. One customer got clean, and I was so happy for her.
I was also raising a daughter. As she got older, I knew it was time to change. She was 14 and seeing stuff. I couldn’t give her much, and I didn’t want her to follow in my footsteps. She was already headed in that direction.”
I am now on methadone as treatment my addiction. I am thankful I stopped selling and using drugs before fentanyl landed in Mobile. Fentanyl is a monster that is killing people. Now you don’t know what’s in the pills you are selling, and they can charge you for murder. I used to think it was bad with the stuff I was doing, but it wasn’t as bad as fentanyl. The customers have changed, too.
I still beat myself up for what I’ve done and the people I have hurt. I used to blame the drugs, but there is no one to blame but me. I put the drugs in my body and sold them to a lot of people doing the same thing. I had to go through a lot of shit to get back right.
I lost a lot of years of my life that I can’t get back. I am trying to finish an English class and get my diploma. My daughter is going to school to be a nurse.
I have a grandson who I adore, and my daughter is a better mother than I was. They are my reward for everything, and I am so proud of them.
My daughter forgave me for what I have done. But I still have to work on forgiving myself.”