I am a young woman who struggles with addiction. I grew up in a very dysfunctional environment as I am the adult child of an alcoholic and addict. I have four siblings and I am the oldest. My brother and I had to go and live with our father. We were told that our mother was in a bad relationship. Throughout the years, my mother has been addicted to unhealthy relationships. She was always drawn to alcoholic men who were abusive as well.
The environment that I was raised in was very strict at my father's house. We had to eat only three meals a day, and bedtime was set at seven in the evening. My life was so rigid that I began to feel very different from the other children at school. I looked forward to seeing my mother every other weekend. I would await her call to confirm that we would be able to see her. The visits with my mom were an escape from my father's abuse.
Although I believe a child needs discipline, I feel that mine was abusive. I was spanked from head to toe with a belt. I was slapped and punched in the face for minor things. I never knew when to speak. I remember learning at a young age that "loose lips sink ships". Therefore, I was taught to remain silent. I felt so alone and very different.
When I was in the fifth grade I made a bad grade at school. I ran away from home at this time. Another incident that is vivid to me was when I was around eleven years old. My brother and I were playing in the bathroom and the toilet overflowed. We tried desperately to clean it up, but did not do a very good job as we were just children. My dad walked into the bathroom and was so angry that he shoved me into the floor. I had to go to the hospital as my mom thought my knees were broken. My dad made us clean the floor of the bathroom with the same toothbrushes we used to brush our teeth. The next day he grabbed my eleven year old body and pinned me to the wall. He spanked me as well. This incident was his "punishment" for misspelling a word at school.
My maternal grandmother demanded that my mom go to DHR and fight for custody of my brother and I. In the final court hearing it was announced that this man was not my biological father. Wow! A huge resentment formed at this very young age. We were temporarily placed with my aunt.
Finally my mom was granted custody. The environment with my mom was very different than the way my dad had raised my brother and I. We had a lot of freedom. I spent a lot of time involved in sports and I found a boyfriend who eventually became my child's father.
When I was seventeen I moved in a trailer with the father of my child. I was very stressed and began to experience with drugs. I was getting prescription drugs as my addiction worsened. I was able to get drugs from my father and I was so confused. This man who had been so strict was now giving me drugs. At this time my mom was looking for the perfect man, even though she had been through eight marriages. I never told my mother, but two of these men had sexually abused me. I never told as I did not want to hurt my mom.
I lost all control. By the age of twenty six I had been in and out of jail. I had received a felony for manufacturing. I have had many charges for various issues throughout my addiction. I eventually had my third violation of probation charge and saw myself facing prison.
I was put into jail that was five hours away form my family. It was maximum security and I was on lockdown twenty hours a day. However, in these circumstances, I found a profound peace. I discovered God was waiting for me. I had been so deep in my addiction and on the dark side that I could not see Him. I took my faith in God with me as I was extradited back to my hometown. I went to court and I was given one more chance.
I was given a chance at recovery rather than two years in a state prison. I am currently in trauma counseling and a twelve step program at a rehabilitation center. I love life today and thank God for this opportunity.
Danielle's story comes from St. Anne's Home. Visit their profile to learn more.