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Bell bottom pants crop top sweaters, and giant gold earrings, Marissa’s retro vintage style is one of a kind. She is nineteen, owns her individuality, and has an old soul. While I was in rehab, she was full throttle into her recovery and her determination was inspiring. This is Marissa’s Story of Recovery.

               Imagine yourself, for a moment, having your mother and sister do CPR on you on separate occasions, being kicked out of your home twice, and using your body to obtain Xanax and Roxies. No? Too traumatic? This Marissa’s reality and rock-bottom, and this is her story.

               Marissa grew up in a one-parent household. She smiles as she recalls her and her sisters being comparable to the three musketeers. Her bond with them helped as her mother’s boyfriends threw their weight around. One was extremely verbally and physically abusive. She was seven years old when this began, and her mother started disappearing for days on end. Her mother’s next love interest was a child molester and preyed upon one of her sisters. Mom was less-than-enthused when she was told and proved her denial by attempting to have her daughter committed to a psych ward. Next in the line for the pervert’s picking was Marissa. Marissa remembers her mother saying, ‘he just can’t drink anymore’. “It took him beating her in front of us for her to finally stop bringing him around,” she says.

Behind the Mask

               In high school, Marissa’s struggle intensified. “I tried to escape my timidity an sought the attention of troublesome boys because I lacked that loving, nurturing care that a father could provide.” She began sneaking out and drinking. On one of these occasions, she was locked inside of a car by two boys, and raped. She was young, broken, and distraught, but the sexual abuse does not end there…

               Marissa was defiled and used again, this time by her neighbor. She was now thoroughly convinced that it was her fault, felt dirty, and her self-respect had dwindled. Her thought processes led her to using her body to get her next fix. “In active addiction, I was completely lost and selfish. I lashed out at the ones I loved, blaming them for all my hurt and pain. Their love was not enough because I couldn’t love myself. In the madness, I was causing myself even more suffering. I was having sex just so they would give me drugs. I was abusing myself.”

               Today, Marissa says, she is still learning how her trauma has affected her and is working through processing it. “I realizing I’m working on resentments that I hold towards my mother and forgiveness to myself.” On the road of recovery, she says she is grateful for being able to do this while she’s young. “I’ve learned that acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. I now live life on life’s terms, knowing that everything will be better in the end, and if it’s not better, then it’s not the end.”

Angels

               Despite her painful history, she remains optimistic about her future. She states, “I’m thankful that my Higher Power has plans for me and that there is a reason that I am still here. It has saved me from two overdoses and countless other situations where I could have ended up dead or in jail.” Marissa has her own concept of her Higher Power and more about her beliefs. Her favorite prayer is “Angels wrap your wings around me, hold me tight, keep me safe, and stay be me all night.”

               For those struggling or stuck in the madness she says, “It can get better if you let go and let God. It won’t work unless you’re ready. Recovery can be so beautiful when you finally let acceptance into your heart. There are only three endings for a life in addiction: jails, institutions, and death.” She continues, “Laughter is the best medicine through it. Being able to take care of yourself again, loving yourself again, and gaining your power back is worth it. Much more than trying to find your next fix that consumes your whole day, and ultimately your whole life. If you’re scared to make changes, then you need to do exactly that which takes you out of your comfort zone.” Wise words from a young woman. Change = Growth.

I’d like to thank Marissa for sharing her story with me. Other inspiring walks in recovery can be found here. If you or someone know you know needs help please reach out.

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