By Guest Blogger Suzi Blair

No matter what we are struggling with inside our hearts, minds, or our homes, there is help.

I am a recovering drug addict. I have a college degree, taught school, married over 20 years, two kids, able to stay at home.  Today, I am very grateful. I have been clean over eight years thanks to my 12 step recovery program.

During my days of active drug use, I wasn’t able to drink like everyone else who seemed to take it in stride. I went full force. I wanted to go all the way every time…all the way to oblivion. I began using off and on as a teenager. I could go for over a year without drinking at times, but I began drinking heavily once again after my daughter was born. I would get drunk most nights by the time I had my son. I was still able to have periods of abstinence during my pregnancies or when it was necessary, but I was never able to stop completely.

Eventually, I found myself using other methods to get high and doing things I would have never done with a clear head. I didn’t want to have to deal with life. I didn’t want to feel my feelings. I was overwhelmed and thought I had found a way out of the pain. I was hiding behind a fake smile and loud laugh…I didn’t know who I was and found it easier to pretend to be whoever I thought you would want me to be. I was lost. I felt dead and empty. I hated myself, so it was impossible to really love anyone else.

My life became unmanageable.  I was unable to function with or without drugs.  I would try to stop on my own or limit my using, but failed every time. I was hiding and lying to cover up my using. I felt shame and guilt, but could not stop or change my behavior. I could never keep my promises, with myself or others. I was ready to give up when my husband finally took me to treatment.

I realized that my addiction had not only affected me, but my family… especially my daughter. She was nine when I surrendered to the program of Narcotics Anonymous.  I immediately put her into counseling. She was angry, resentful and afraid. Her trust in me had to be established. She had been my mother in many ways. She had a few memories of me passing out or having to care for her little brother when I was incapable. My body was present, but my mind and spirit were altered most days. There were times when I could hold it together, but my addiction always resurfaced. Sadly, my daughter had witnessed all of this. There were some rough times through my recovery period, but I was willing to take the responsibility of the suffering I had caused.

I am grateful to share that over the years my daughter and I have grown and our relationship is amazing. I am able to be the Mom that her friends come to with their problems. One of the best things she said to me was when she was thirteen… “I’m not glad you we’re ever an addict, but I am glad you are in recovery. We would never be as close as we are now if you didn’t get help.” She is almost eighteen now and a week doesn’t go by without her telling me that she is proud of who I am or that she wants to be like me.

I share this with you to say once again that there is hope. No matter what we are struggling with inside our hearts, minds, or our homes, there is help. Reach out – we can’t do it alone.