In spending twenty-eight days at a recovery center for my addiction to alcohol, I had the pleasure of meeting a young woman named Presley. My first impression of her was “my goodness, this girl has got a mouth on her!” She is a very outspoken, outgoing, and caring person; a joy to be around. At every turn, she has a way of making people erupt with laughter. It was because of her ability to make others smile I asked if she would be willing to share her story. Gratefully, she accepted. This is Presley’s Story of Recovery.
Presley first realized she was an addict around thirteen years old, a year after she initially experimented with Percocet. Within the first year of use Presley admits that upon trying Methamphetamine, “I instantly knew that this was something I was going to do. It made me feel normal.” It appeared to Presley that, as a kid, she simply wanted to try something new, but the reality is that Percocet was the gateway.
Before addiction sank its claws into her, she had a great child that she can remember. She confessed she does not really remember all of it. “My mom was a soccer mom and cooked three meals a day and Dad worked. Because I don’t recall a lot of it, it’s like stories. A dream they tell me about.”
The Shadow Lurking
At 18 years old, she witnessed her mother shoot up for the first time. After that, her once-visioned ‘super-mom’ was always gone, in jail, or nodded out. Presley then developed a “devil-may-care” attitude. She says, “I was balls to the wall. I didn’t care about anything. I thought, at 22 what do you really know about life? So, I didn’t care.” The following year, Presley lost her husband, an IV drug user, to Sepsis. “There were no signs of illness. We were together seven and half years. He was the love of my life. He taught me how to love.”
Fast forward a few years, Presley became a mother herself. She stayed sober after his birth for eight months. “To be completely honest, if it wasn’t for my son and the Department of Child Services, I wouldn’t have had that period of sobriety,” she says. Relapse ensued when her DCS case closed. A short time after, she found herself with a criminal case, and once again, DCS involvement. “I had been thinking about recovery months prior. I thought to myself, ‘man, I really need to get clean for myself, my baby, and my future. Today I’m in rehab.” And so, Presley’s story of recovery began.
Taking Time to Breathe
Presley has been sober from methamphetamine now for 20 days and 4 years from opiates. She mentions “Being clean, at this moment, I am still processing how much time and life I’ve wasted.” She told me she has as excellent support system today and that her favorite part of recovery has been the bonds that she has built with the women at this recovery center, and that this is the only treatment center she has stayed the entire length.
Something she has learned in her recovery journey is that it really is one day at a time. “You don’t get the full experience of recovery if you don’t take it one day at a time. If I sped it up, what am I going to get out of it other than what I already had?” she says.
For those struggling in active addiction, or those having difficulty in recovery, she says this: “It’s alright. It’s okay that you might want help. It’s okay to walk your prideful ass into treatment. Shame and pride are big ones for addicts.” Presley adds, “Addicts do recover. You don’t have to be a statistic, there ARE success stories. Addiction is not a choice, it is a disease. No one wakes up and decides they don’t want to give a fuck about their kids, their house, their health, etc.”
Presley’s story of recovery is ongoing. She says that one of her biggest tools in her recovery is Jesus Christ. “He beared the cross. Now I’ve got a cross of my own that I’ll have to carry the rest of my life, and do it with pride. I’m not just an addict, I’m a recovering addict.”
I’d like to thank Presley for being so courageous and sharing her story with me. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please click here.