You are receiving this letter from yourself, just an older and much wiser version of yourself. Yes, put your pride down and just read, child. I am about to tell you a story about our life. I promise you this is worth reading.
You will succeed. You will strive to reach your full potential and you will make it through this life, however, there will be much pain, horror, sorrow, and there will be times where you will feel like giving up. Bear with us though, sweetie, because the end will become just a beginning for you. You will end up being able to see, smell, laugh, truly love, and be unbelievably happy. I am telling you these things in order to prepare you for what our life will hold for us. I am hoping that by telling you our story, you will take in every breath, for what it is truly worth.
We cuddle up in a corner, hiding underneath a blanket as though it will protect us from the sting of a horse whip coming down on us. You will scream for mercy wondering where God is to shield you. Our daddy comes to the rescue and he pushes her to the side and pulls you and swaddles you in the blankets into his arms. At thirteen years of age, you decide to give up. We call the “friends” that tell us how to rid the pain that is now being formed around our heart. Alcohol, benzos, and marijuana all in one night tends to form a black memory and numbing sensation. The monster takes a step out of the shadows and claimed the reins over our life.
It’s kind of like the movies, where a person is sitting in a chair and looking at the wall clock. We can see that the hands on the clock are moving, the people are being fast-forwarded, but yet we remain sitting still just stuck and staring. We are not living life at this time, just existing in what we think is “normal.” We fall behind in memories, our thoughts become useless, and we surrender to the monster stating there is no hope for us. A pretty face we hide behind and walk around, as though there is no pain, no secrets, and no problems. We become puppets and every action is directed by someone, driven by a force we cannot control.
You will rather sit, wait for two hours on a drug dealer to tell you where to meet him, drive to three different places of which they direct you, at times engage in sexual activities because you know if you pretend to love someone we could manipulate them into giving you money so you can get a quick fix on a daily basis, instead of forming memories playing Rook with your parents and siblings, laughing, sharing life with them, watching your youngest sister riding her first bike, being supportive for your siblings because of their pain from our past, and dealing and supporting everyone through our loved ones’ deaths.
You will tell your family you can’t come see them, even though you haven’t saw them in a month, because if you don’t find something to feed our monster, he will hit our knees and our backs as though what it seems with a baseball bat until we see bile. We will lay in utter misery until a phone is ringing and our noses are compacted with powder.
There will be four, five, and maybe even six different times where you and others will believe as though your time has ended and the monster is taking you to his home. We try to plead with the Devil as his hand covers our mouth, but not even the strongest man can defeat the Devil’s strength. Gasping for air many many times, we see we are only hanging on by a string that we are continuously thinning. He has a sand timer and our time is running low. CPR can only be administered so many times.
Our memory recalls many black holes, we will be left for dead in a ditch, thrown in the road to get ran over while passed out, we will look in the mirror after tying off our arm and wonder who we are and trying to catch our breath. Waking up on the ground, a car’s hood, different beds, and bathtubs covered in mud, vomit, alcohol, and sometimes blood just means we must have had of what we know as a “fun night.”
You will be raided by the police and you will somehow of what we see, “miraculously” talk our way out of being held accountable for anything. You will be pulled over by the cops and searched, but we still “got this” and talk our way out of nine different occasions if not more. The monster whispers to us that we are untouchable.
You will deal drugs, steal drugs, steal money, lie to the people who love you, miss out on important times and the little smiles and laughter of your loved ones and then think nothing of it. You will find sinful laughter of a gun being pointed at you and show no fear for the consequences of your actions as if you own the world and nothing bad will ever happen.
Then, after pulling on the tug a war rope for so long, an inch of hope is delivered. Instead of praying for dope, we will sit on the commode and for some reason screaming and praying that God delivers two little pink lines (as though we are capable of loving someone else, even though we don’t even love ourselves). Knowing that we have been given this chance to have a reason to get sober, we will fight every day to try and arrest our addiction, but that ill-tempered of a monster tends to thieve the cuffs every single time. Justifications to “slowly surrender” and cutting back as if we can control this disease are created. Finally, understanding our daughter will be taken from us after she is born, we maintain sobriety for quite some time to prevent this from happening.
We breathe. For a moment, complete serenity was granted to us while hearing the simple cries from our precious little girl. Yes, you do become a mother. She is perfectly healthy, beautiful, and absolutely perfect in every which way possible. All she has is us. The Devil has disguised her Dad’s eyes, just as he had disguised ours. So, we will take a stand for her and try our best every day to live for her. Every breath we take will be just for her. Until the monster wins the war with us, once again.
Repeating all the past, we feel as though we fail. We couldn’t stop the cycle and our thoughts lead us to believe our daughter will grow up believing we don’t love her. I remember the very day you are about to face. You will lay in your bed, screaming, crying, begging, and you will ask God to make you a better mother because you are tired of living this life and giving this life to your child. A week from this day, you will receive a phone call stating that the newspaper says an indictment was issued for you on a felony charge. You will kiss your daughter goodbye and once again lose your breath. Your loss of breath will not be due to an overdose this time, but to disappointment, pain, fear, and the worst kind of stabbing sensation to your heart than you have ever felt.
This failure will lead you to one last kiss, one last hug, one last day of fresh air, a day and night of isolation, a week in population, curiosity to where your child is at and who she is with, seeing your child behind glass unable to touch or feel her sweet face, hold her tiny fingers, kiss her little head, constant apologizing, loss of trust, chains shackled from wrists to ankles walking in front of the Judge while you see our dad and grandfather tearing in the background, the possibility of facing 12-20 years in prison, everyone giving up on us, and contemplating suicide in jail.
ALTHOUGH WE ARE LOSING OUR BREATH FOR OUR LAST TIME, YOU ARE GAINING YOUR LIFE AT THIS VERY MOMENT FOR THE FIRST TIME!
The judge will release you in the custody of your dad and stepmother, under the regulations you and your daughter will live with them, complete an addictions treatment program, on five year probationary period, and are granted with the opportunity to gain a diversion of the charges if we stay on the right track.
This is the beginning.
You will run to your daughter and hold onto her as though our life depends on it. You decide you will never let go. You will go through treatment and realize that we are not alone. We see that that “monster” is a deadly disease, we are not curable, but we can arrest it instead of it arresting us. We can grow. We do grow.
The pain is still there, but we are mending. We stay sober and we begin to dream again. We find God. Not the “Please let him have drugs so I’m not sick” God, but the loving, forgiving, ALMIGHTY ONE. He teaches us how to love ourselves by forgiving ourselves and others. He teaches us to be able to look in the mirror with hope and faith in knowing our salvation doesn’t have to be questioned anymore. He lets us know that we are wanted, worthy, and perfectly imperfect.
You will continue growing emotionally. You will deal with your resentments, face your problems, conquer struggles without using, and you will experience peace. You will get a job at Save A Lot and buy your daughter’s and family’s first Christmas presents by yourself with the income you honestly earned. You will graduate the intensive outpatient program, move back into your own home with your daughter, mend your relationships, earn trust back, your dad will state how proud he is, your stepmother has become nothing less than a mother to you, and you get to raise your daughter without drugs being involved.
You will get a job working as an Addiction Peer Support Specialist at Pathways offering support for the same treatment program you attended. You will meet the love of your life and he will drop to his knee in Tennessee under the stars, God, and all to proclaim his love for you.
This fairy tale gets better. You will then begin working in Mt. Sterling with a recovery program called Addiction Recovery Care. You will get to tell your story to others and carry the light that God has blessed us with and help others find their light through Christ as well.
In March of 2015, my fiancé and I closed on our very own home together. On July 23, 2015 you were sober for three years, we are working on four coming up! On October 3, 2015 that fiancé of ours, becomes our husband! He isn’t just our husband, but has taken on the responsibility to be a Daddy to our little girl. His family becomes our family as well and we really couldn’t be more blessed.
Kristi today holding a picture of a mugshot of herself during the time she was trapped by addiction.
We get to laugh today. We get to feel whole. We don’t have to be numb anymore. We take pride in cherishing the little moments that we used to not be able to see. The time consumed paint brush strokes of God’s world of which he made, the tiny little hairs on our head, the smile that our child has when she says, “I love you Mommy,” the way our husband sings to us and the look of love in his eye, the pride you see in our parents’ eyes, and the encouragement you get to put upon your siblings — this stuff, is the good stuff.
Our addiction stepped out of the shadows and had us dangling from his strings for many years, but not today. God wrestles and wins for us every day. We have the reins today and no one but God is allowed to take them from me.
Just remember, through all your experiences, don’t forget where you came from. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t allow your own guilt to turn into self-pity. Don’t ever get too confident in this life. The monster still hides in the shadows, just waiting for us. But God is always standing beside you, defending you. Just because you can’t see him, doesn’t mean he isn’t there. He’s offered you and is still offering you healing. Please don’t turn away from him.
I told you a short story about our life. Didn’t I promise you this was worth reading? You have succeeded to our own expectations. You do strive to reach your full potential and you are making a great life, even though there was much pain, horror, sorrow, and times where you gave up. But you bared with us and just look — what we thought was the end has become just a beginning for us, so take in every breath for what it is truly worth.
Love yourself with all your heart,
You are worthy,
Kristina Lenore Cornett Roberson
Kristi Roberson is a peer support specialist at Addiction Recovery Care. She works with clients every day, sharing her recovery experience in the hopes they will have their own recovery story to tell.