By Christy N.
My name is Christy. I’m a believer who struggles with drug addiction, codependency, resentment, anger, overeating and depression.
My family life was dysfunctional from the beginning. My mom was a people pleaser, trying to please my abusive dad and trying to protect my sister and me from his anger and abuse. He was not an alcoholic, but he was abused terribly as a child and, as we know, “hurting people hurt people.”
My mom grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family as well, so neither of them had any parenting or interpersonal skills. There was always the family secret that we were not to tell anyone what happened at home. Mom was heavily into denial until finally one night he almost killed her.
We ended up in counseling for a while, but my dad was never able to control his rage and verbal abuse. I never knew there was another way to live until I visited a young friend’s home and saw people treating one another with kindness.
I began getting into trouble in the second grade and while I was above average in intelligence my dysfunctional behavior kept me in trouble much of the time.
On my 13th birthday my cheerleading squad introduced me to pot and alcohol, and it went downhill from there. When I was 16 I took an overdose of pills after breaking up with a boyfriend. I felt like there had to be a better place than this.
My mom and dad responded by going into counseling, but it had no affect on me and my drug use continued all through high school. During this time I began dating the biggest drug dealer in town and stayed strung out on cocaine for several years.
At one point, I moved to a different part of town to start over. I got off cocaine, but continued to use pot and managed to function and hold down a responsible job for a while.
I left my boyfriend and after that met my first husband, a relationship based purely on sex and drugs. We married and moved to Atlanta, but without my family, friends and the job security I had before, I lost all self-confidence.
I turned to new friends for comfort, and they introduced me to smoking free-base cocaine for the first time. For a second time I overdosed, and my marriage ended.
I met my second husband when he had just gotten out of an AA program and halfway house, and I was still drinking. Within a short time he relapsed, and we got into crystal meth and our relationship spiraled out of control. We were both out of work and the utilities had been turned off, and I decided to go home and get help.
My dad took me to a treatment center (four years of intensive cocaine treatment). My boyfriend decided to come back for treatment as well. We completed the program, got married and regularly attended NA meetings, sponsored people and got into national service work. It didn’t last. We began to miss meetings and soon started drinking and smoking pot.
A new baby
In the midst of this, we decided to have a baby, but after the birth of our son, Austin Cody, at age 37, I discovered that my husband was having an affair. It shattered the peace and security of my world and plunged me into post-partum depression. We tried to work it out, but he went back to the other woman, and we divorced.
That’s when I returned to the “trash can” and started using any drug available. I overdosed on GHB (Gamma hydroxybutyrate), a popular “rave party” drug and almost died while my 18-month-old-son watched.
After that I turned to meth just to keep going — working 16-hour days and caring for my son and my parents. With no support from my ex husband, I eventually turned my son over to my parents and finally left town without him.
Shortly after that I came to know Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord. Partly because of the man who is my husband today, and the first Christian I had ever dated.
He, too, had a background that included drugs, but he had decided to stop. We traveled a good deal due to his job and lived in hotels, where I was exposed to active drug addicts. While he was at work, I started using crack cocaine for the first time in 14 years.
That’s when we returned to North Carolina and I entered another treatment facility. We subsequently moved to Hot Springs and joined a church where I saw an ad for Celebrate Recovery in the bulletin.
The first night I attended CR, Rhonda gave her testimony. It was so powerful that it made me realize this was where I belonged. My recovery this time is different because Jesus is my Higher Power. I have worked the 12-Step program in CR twice, and it has given me encouragement about my life now and the prospect of being reunited with my son, Austin.
For the first time in my life I have true Christian friends who accept me as I am. My relationship with my sister is better than ever, and she keeps me posted on Austin’s growth and his interests. Though sometimes painful, it helps me to know that he is doing well. My niece has also given me comfort.
I trust what Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20: “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
God has blessed me by allowing me to go to Saddleback Church in California where CR started and where I celebrated my one-year anniversary.
Coming back, I was asked to lead a 12-Step study for a group of women which included co-dependent moms whose children had become addicted to drugs. They helped me understand what my parents had suffered through all those years of my drug abuse. We completed the study just as I entered my second year of sobriety.
My old patterns of trying to control others, escape from problems through drugs and other self destructive behaviors have been broken. I have learned to live life on life’s terms and am able to give God all the glory. I have strengthened my relationship with Jesus Christ, and I have learned how to slow down and listen to God as I wait on His perfect timing for my reunion with Austin.
Now that I am clean and sober, I have been able to concentrate on the anger I have felt for so long toward my parents. It has also given me tools to work on my marriage relationship rather than bailing and running away as I would have done in the past.
Learning to reach out to others for accountability and guidance has helped ward off that old tendency to withdraw, isolate and turn anger inward in depression. Now I am able to use what I have learned to lead a new group on mixed issues.
I want to use the comfort God has given me in this program to help comfort others who are hurting. If the sharing of my story can encourage just one of you, then it will be worth the effort.