In 2012, I started dating my best friend.  We bonded over cheating on our previous significant others with each other, smoking weed, eating pain pills, having sex, watching movies together, etc.  We were finally able to be together and we were extremely happy and in love. 

In Aug 2013, we found out I was pregnant.  Even though we specifically intended to have a baby together, it scared us both.  But we eventually got over the initial shock and were excited.  I stopped smoking cigarettes. Stopped everything except smoking pot.  I did start a program for new mothers who needed help being more healthy during pregnancy and finally stopped smoking pot around 7 months.  It was a struggle because I kept telling myself it helped with nausea. I just didn’t really wanna stop because I had been a smoker for so many years.  But I finally did it.  About a month later, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  I was sent home with pain pills.  In my head, I needed them.  I just had a baby! I was sore and uncomfortable, I needed something to help. 

After a few days, I ran out.  I was still uncomfortable, so I got more.  Eventually ran out again and didn’t really need them, I was more tired than anything so I focused on my new baby and sleeping when I could.  For a while there, I did well.  Breastfed my son for about seven months, till my milk production stopped. Kinda devastated me.  I started vaping, trying not to smoke cigarettes.  Ended up smoking cigarettes anyway. 

Eventually, my ear started bothering me again, a few years earlier I had found out I had a benign tumor around my ear canal that would swell every so often because I would clench my teeth when I was stressed out.  So I needed pain pills again.  Eventually, I got tired of trying to find them and my boyfriend introduced me to suboxone to ‘get me off the pain pills’.  Well, snorting suboxone isn’t exactly the way to get off pain pills.  It was just a new way for us to get high together. 

Fast forward a couple of years, I was introduced to Adderall.  It helped me keep up with my active son and get the house clean and added yet another drug for my boyfriend and me to bond over.  Then one day, we couldn’t find any Adderall so he came home with some meth.  I had always thought I’d never do certain drugs and meth was one.  Until that day.  I was told ‘it’s just like Adderall, Adderall is basically meth. Just try it!’ And there it was, another drug we bonded over. 

So this is the part of my story where things get the ugliest. Snorting meth every day, then smoking it while snorting it, then dissolving it in water and placing it in our anus too.  Super embarrassing to admit now but hey, we do stupid things when we’re doing stupid things, right?  It was all great in my mind until I found out he was cheating on me.  With several people.  All the time.  He became more absent at home.  And when he was home, he wanted me to do things I didn’t want to do, sexually.  I was constantly compared to this video and that video. Nothing I ever did was enough.  He’d put me in situations where I was alone with his friends and want me to have sex with them.  I never could do anything physically but I would pay for it later.  As if things weren’t bad enough with the mental, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse. 

I got pregnant again.  I was miserable.  I hated so many things about my life.  The only thing that I had to make me happy, in my mind at that time, was my son and ignoring the pain by numbing my mind with suboxone and meth.  I didn’t want to be pregnant.  Not because I didn’t wanna love another baby.  But because I didn’t wanna bring another child into what my son and I were living in.  And I didn’t wanna stop using because I was miserable, and not using would have made me even more miserable, I thought. 

So since I was pregnant, he began controlling my drug use.  Not because he wanted me to stop because of the baby.  But because it was another way of controlling me and getting me to do what he wanted me to do.  He would say awful things so that I would feel guilty and when I would break out in hysterical crying, he’d comfort me and give me the drugs to make me “feel better” and I would do whatever he wanted.  We would get into fights at all hours of the night. Wouldn’t sleep for days.  Needless to say, this was an extremely toxic relationship that, at the time, I saw no way out of. 

On December 27, 2017, we had the worst fight we had ever had.  Along with all the emotional, sexual, mental, and verbal abuse, this night became more physical than it had ever gotten before.  He forced my head into the toilet with urine and cigarette butts, then forced me into a cold shower and at one point onto the bed where he put all of his weight on my body, I was about 8 months pregnant and his 310 pounds on top of me, I couldn’t breathe.  I struggled to get loose and when he finally let me breathe, he proceeded to force himself inside me despite me crying for him to stop. 

This night was my breaking point.  I couldn’t take anymore.  I finally saw what awful life I was living and wanted out.  I didn’t use meth anymore after that.  Suboxone was harder to stop.  The withdraws were unbearable and I kept telling myself that it could be potentially more dangerous if I completely stopped.  So I weaned myself down as far as I could, doing only about a quarter of what I normally did.  On January 30th, I went into labor at 5 am.  When he finally got me to the hospital after running around to find drugs for his hospital stay with me, it was about 1 pm. 

I knew this was a way out for me.  If I came clean about my habits, I could make sure the hospital knew that my daughter would need help and I could finally get outside help out of the situation I was in.  Someone I could tell that would keep us safe while we were going through withdraws and keep us safe from him. 

While he parked the car, my mom met me in the hospital.  So when I arrived at the intake office, I told the nurse and my mom everything.  Even though I felt like shit for admitting to the danger I put my unborn daughter in, I felt relief also.  And I knew it was going to be a long road ahead but I was willing to suffer the consequences because I was ready to get out of that life. 

My daughter spent 3 weeks in the NICU recovering from opioid-induced respiratory distress. They expected her to be in for at least 6 weeks, but she is a fighter and she is strong!  When I was released from the hospital, I did not go back to him.  He had left me in the hospital alone right after I gave birth.  So he didn’t know when I was released.  I called my mom.  My mom took me to her house and I stayed there. 

CPS visited me.  It was the first of February at this point.  I expected them to do so and as hard as it was, I told them everything.  Of course, my children were temporarily taken from me.  My son went with his paternal grandmother, and my daughter was released to my mother.  And as hard as that was, I knew it was for the best.  The next day, I enrolled in a 6-month outpatient rehab program.  3 times a week for the first few months, then twice a week till once a week that last month.  I went to individual therapy sessions in addition to those group sessions in the program and had random drug testing throughout that time period.  At the end of August, I was awarded unsupervised visits with my children.  I could go places with them during the day as long as we were back at my mom’s at night.  My caseworker told me I was the ‘poster child for recovery’ and that made my heart swell with pride.  I really was doing well.  And the best part was, I wanted it so bad for myself that it seemed easy! 

In January 2019, I won full custody of my children.  Needless to say, it was an immensely proud moment for me.  On top of that, I had recently gotten an assistant manager’s position and that was also something I was proud of.  Things were coming together.  After I won custody, I decided to try making things work with my children’s Dad.  He had been sober for a few months and I thought if I didn’t try, I would regret it.  It went well for a few months but ultimately he ended up relapsing and I after he left the house in a rage on August 3rd, 2019, I packed my car with every necessity we had and my children and I left for my mom’s, once again.  We have never gone back. 

Now, I own my own vehicle, my children and I have our own place, I work as a Branch Banker at a widely known bank, we have everything we need and lots of things we want without any help from him.  I don’t allow my children to see their father.  Not because I hold any grudge against him.  I have forgiven him and let it all go.  But because they don’t deserve to have to see him as bad off as he is.  And it’s not safe or healthy for them. 

I have been clean and sober since January 31st 2018. And I am so grateful for everything I went through.  I am now a woman and a mother that I am absolutely proud to be.  I am not perfect.  But I am a better me than I’ve ever been.  And I am a warrior.  

My name is Nikki.  I am a recovering addict.

Keep moving forward warriors.