I used to feel like I was born to be an addict. My biological mother drank and took heroine while she was pregnant with my twin brother and me. And addiction runs deep in my biological family. My parents, who adopted me when I was born, told me I would be more susceptible to addiction issues because of this and warned me that I needed to be extra careful.
That didn’t stop me from having my first drink in the seventh grade. By the time I was in high school, I was drinking every day, all day. I loved the feeling – escaping my problems of feeling alone and anxious. Eventually I moved on to drugs, and as I got deeper into my addiction, the drugs got harder and I became someone I didn’t recognize. It was easy for me to use my biological family’s history as a crutch- an excuse for my addiction.
My whole life, my biggest fear was becoming like my biological mother and I was well on my way.
I knew I’d hit rock bottom when I tried smoking crack. This was my biological mom’s drug of choice. After spending a night in jail, it was clear to me that I needed to make a change. That’s how I ended up at Portage.
When I first got there, I was scared. But then I started liking it. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel alone. I liked talking to the other girls – they were my age and understood what I was going through. I wasn’t judged for my past, I was accepted. And I really enjoyed having a routine again.
After five months at Portage, I was able to go back home. The sobriety road hasn’t always been easy but Portage taught me the tools I needed to stay on track. I am also diligent about attending AA meetings as they are important to my sobriety.
It’s been three years since I left Portage. I now have an 18-month old daughter and she is my world. I’ve been accepted into school for social services – I want to help protect and help kids like me.
I am proud of my sobriety. It enables me to be a good mom. Now, instead of resenting my biological family’s history, I am thankful because it led me to where I am in my life today. I have parents who love me and supported me unconditionally. I am proud to buck the trend of addiction in my birth family.
I now know that I wasn’t born to be an addict. I was born to be a survivor – to overcome the cards that were stacked against me – and embrace the life I have to live.