Hi, my name is Kristine and I’m an addict.  

My childhood was affected by addiction.  My mother was an addict and an alcoholic.  And because of this the kids were extremely mean to me.  In grade school, I was teased quite a bit.  I would come home for comfort and all my mom told me was that it would be ok, that was it.  Because of this abuse, my self-esteem was quite low.  

Around fifteen years old I started drinking and using drugs.  I would do drugs and drink with people who I hardly knew.  I just knew they had the drugs and alcohol.  I would also run away to go to people’s houses who were drinking and doing drugs.  I was just trying to numb myself.   A lot of my childhood around this time has been forgotten.  

I do remember that I was high all through high school.  I remember I started getting into trouble.  My grades fell dramatically.  One time I even changed my report card out of fear of my parents’ reaction.  I was caught and punished.  

My home life got even worse when my parents started having trouble.  We found out my Mom was cheating on my Dad.  My Dad was an absolute mess.  They finally got a divorce and my Mom moved away.  She also decided that she no longer wanted anything to do with me or my sister.  I felt abandoned.  And then my sister passed away when she was twenty-one.  This destroyed me.  

My dad met a woman and then we ended up moving to Santa Fe.  There I faced a lot of prejudice.  Because of this, I couldn’t even get through high school.  I dropped out and got my GED.  I was still running away from home and this time there were times that I was living on the streets.  Just getting high and drunk.

Then one day I came home to find all my belonging outside my parent’s house.  They decided to kick me out.  From that point, I was officially homeless.  I would go and sleep on people’s couches.  I would also sleep outside in public parks.  I would have to go to the stores to steal food to eat.  These were hard times.  I did this for about a month.  Eventually, I moved back in and I went with my father to Illinois.  

There I was sent to a facility called Outward Bound that was for troubled children.  This helped me tremendously.  It was there that I got my life together enough to decide I wanted to be a nurse’s aide when I got out.  I ended up doing that for twenty years.  This was the first time in my life I had motivation like that to find a job to help others.  I eventually went to school and got my certificate to practice.

I decided to start going to AA meetings when I was around nineteen.  This is where I met my ex-husband.  We ended up staying sober for eight years.  My husband and I were bad for each other.  We got high together and this didn’t help in my sobriety.  This was also an extremely abusive relationship.  My husband at the time would tear me down emotionally.  This also helped me form an addiction to pain pills so I can numb myself from the reality of this marriage.  When I did get the courage to say that I was leaving he would tell me that he was going to kill me if I left.  I believed him and I stayed.

I ended up staying with this man for twenty-one years.  For more than twelve years we were getting high together.  I had no support system except for him and we couldn’t handle each other very well.  Eventually, we got hooked on oxycodone.  This actually led to more abuse in the relationship.  We tried going to AA meetings but that didn’t work. We then went through a nasty divorce.

I had a new boyfriend and now I was introduced to crack cocaine.  I was hooked.  I was with him for about four months and then he was caught with drugs and went to jail.  I still continued to use crack cocaine for about a year after that.  

I found myself being evicted from the apartment I was living in.  I ended up going to a church that would take in the homeless and give them a place to stay.  There I met a man that I would eventually date.  He introduced me to meth.  This was now my new addiction.  And I was also being abused again.  I was abused physically and given a nasty black eye.  I think he actually poisoned a dog of mine.  I had come home on my birthday and he told me the dog was dead and he threw it in the dumpster.  He was quite cruel towards me.  

Finally one day my neighbor called the police while we were having an argument.  He ended up going to prison for abuse.  We eventually broke up.  I’ve heard that he has moved on and is now doing this to his current girlfriend.  

I ended up in another long-term relationship.  And we continued to use drugs, primarily meth.  And I now for the first time end up shooting up the meth with a needle.  Where we were living was quite a drug-infested area.  I was in pain mentally and physically and thought that shooting up meth was the cure.  I was also drinking quite a bit.  

I ended up finding what we called a “drug house” and lived there.  I wasn’t quite sure who paid the rent but we all just hung around there and did drugs all day.  One day the police raided us and busted the door in and they came in with machine guns.  It was quite scary and by random chance, I got lucky and didn’t have any drugs on me and didn’t have any warrants for my arrest so I was let go.  

I had a new boyfriend and we were thrown out of where we were living because he was a complete slob.  Once again I was homeless.  We set up a tent down by a river out of sight from the main roads.  For food we would eat out of dumpsters.  Every once in a while I was able to get into local shelters.

I was able to stay with my ex-mother-in-law with my boyfriend.  At first, we lived in a tent in the backyard and then the township said we couldn’t have that, so she let us stay in the kitchen.  It wasn’t much but it was much better than sleeping outside.  This was a huge upgrade because at that point we had been living in the woods for four months.

I had to go to jail for a bit and this woke me right up.  I knew at that point that when I got out I no longer wanted to use.  No more drugs are dinking,  I had enough.  I had ruined relationships with friends and family.  I just didn’t like the lifestyle I was living anymore and my body just couldn’t take it anymore.  I was deteriorating.  In jail I got healthy and started feeling better mentally and physically.  

When I got out of jail my Dad and Stepmom were living in Las Vegas.  They flew me out there and I started living with them.  But eventually, I did get my own apartment but it was in a really rough neighborhood.  There were many triggers around me.  People were using drugs and also trying to sell them to me.  It was also dangerous.  Sometimes homeless people would just follow me into my apartment but thank god nothing ever happened and I was able to get them out.  I stayed there for about a year and then I moved to a sober living house where I rented a room.  It was much safer and they provided therapy one on one and group therapy every week.

It was around this time that I started to really try to get myself together and also get myself sober.  This time things were different.  This time I knew I could do this.   From the sober living house I went and moved to Denver.  I moved in with my cousin where every day I wake up I thank God for seeing me through another day and guiding me to a sober style of living.  I had a great support system and couldn’t have asked for more.  My past is the past and today I just live my life one day at a time.