Maria’s story

RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH!

Maria S.
Sobriety Date: March 2, 2016

My name is Maria and I am an alcoholic. My sobriety date is March 2, 2016, which is also my birthday. I have a sponsor named Nicky K., a home group called Joe and Charlie’s, and I have God in my life that in which I am still working on building a relationship with. I was born in Cleveland and grew up on 44th and Storer Ave. My mother’s side of the family suffers from deep depression and has a history of suicide. My father’s side of the family suffers from alcoholism. My dad is an alcoholic, and I can say that because he is a member of a 12-step program. Growing up my dad partied hard, I loved being around him and his friends during the summer time, we stayed out late. I remember loud music and getting paid as a kid to switch out the old empty beers and cracking open new ones for my dad and his friends. I can remember that nasty taste in my mouth but loved the feeling it gave me. I was just curious, I looked up to my dad and my uncles who made bad choices. I truly believe we are a product of our environment. 

I truly believe we are a product of our environment.

My sister was always really close with my mom. Growing up, my dad was really mean to her, and she struggled with depression. She was hospitalized for taking over-the-counter drugs, trying to escape her own problems. My father was abusive physically and mentally. My uncles took me to the store and showed me how to steal things around age seven. That was my first addiction. I loved the feeling of getting away with something and taking something and not having to pay for it. My uncles were in and out of prison and stayed with us a lot. My mom spent a lot of nights gathering us up in the middle of the night, chasing my dad for his paycheck. We all had our own sicknesses. 

Eventually, my mom made a decision after 12 years of being married to my dad, she decided to divorce him and move us to Middleburg Heights. I didn’t understand. I became angry towards my mom, as if it was her fault. Things just got worse for me. From that moment on, I did everything my mom told me not to do, and I basically ran my own life for the next 15 to 20 years. Drinking, smoking, sneaking out, being brought home late by the police, anger, fights and anything I could get my hands on to get high. 

Drinking, smoking, sneaking out, being brought home late by the police, anger, fights and anything I could get my hands on to get high. 

I lost one of my best friends to heroin in my freshman year of high school. He and his brother were out late one night boosting cars and systems and got into a really bad car accident leading to their death. I remember being hurt but always telling myself “I would never do heroin.” Shortly after, I found myself “in love” with a Puerto Rican dope boy from Storer Avenue that was selling Oxy’s and Opanas. He made me feel so good about myself, yet so bad about myself for 15 years. I was 15 years old, running around Cleveland with this guy who carried guns and was in a gang. He controlled everything about me — what I wore, who I talked to — he was physically abusive and verbally killed my self-esteem. Between the drugs and abuse, I could not stay away from him. Eventually he went to prison, and I continued to destroy my life on my own. I went to a bar every night and did many other drugs. I finally broke free from that relationship. That didn’t last long. His brother was murdered when he came home from prison, and I went to visit him one time, to send my love, and it was over from then on. 

My first treatment was in 2010 I went to Glenbeigh for 30 days, and the only thing that came out of that was my son Isaiah. I had been using throughout my entire pregnancy, when the pills got too expensive, and they stopped making them the same — then came heroin. That was definitely the worst time of my using — being pregnant, having a baby, and I only caring about one thing. Isaiah cried many nights. I was always too sick to take care of him. I couldn’t love him the way he needed. I actually resented him for a while, and it wasn’t even his fault. 

Isaiah cried many nights. I was always too sick to take care of him. I couldn’t love him the way he needed.

The abuse got worse. I remember calling my mom to take Isaiah for a couple of weeks so I could “just get this out of my system,” then everything would be ok. That didn’t go as planned. I had no idea I was mentally sick. My mother ended up taking me to court and taking full custody of Isaiah in 2012. I was neglecting him. The next year was just barely surviving. Sleeping wherever, stealing from whoever, and doing anything immoral to get high. I weighed in at 79 lbs. at Stella Maris detox in 2013. Ready to die. Dreading waking up and having to do the same thing all over again in a day just to not feel sick anymore. Stomach in cramps, sweating and shaking…asking myself “how did I get here?” I didn’t care who I hurt. I was willing to do anything for that drug. I went to the Jean Marie House in August of 2013. I remember not knowing anything about recovery or a 12-step program and having a conversation with Katie (the Director of Jean Marie House) and her explaining to me she knew exactly how I felt. How much of a relief that was. 

Through many mistakes and getting high again, I am finally in a place where I understand being honest with myself and my sponsor. 

Recovery has been so much learning, finally understanding. My behaviors had to change. Through many mistakes and getting high again, I am finally in a place where I understand being honest with myself and my sponsor. Growing through the steps, seeing what needs to be changed. I can’t steal and stay sober. I can’t put men before my kid. I can’t not pray and not talk to people when I have ill feelings. Going to meetings helped me. My life is pretty good right now. I live with Isaiah and my mom — we co- parent. My sister is one of my best friends. They trust me today. I have a huge support group. I have a good job. My credit is getting better. I stay active in a 12-step program. I sponsor. I am constantly reaching for better things in my life for my son and me. I have an open mind, and God has given me the willingness to keep pushing, even when I don’t want to, I just have to. My son loves me so much, even on those days where, if I can’t do it for myself, I push to do it for him. I just finished real estate classes in December and am studying to take the Ohio exam to get licensed! I am not sure what my plan is, but I know it’s a lot better than it used to be. Thank you divine intervention and everyone who has ever helped me on this beautiful, crazy road of recovery!

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