In a short time, I have met many amazing women. One of my closest, and most memorable, is Victoria; a woman of great strength, a hysterical sense of humor, and an unhealthy disposition of always saying ‘it’s fine’ in that very exact, female, not-so-fine way. She is beautiful inside and out. This is Victoria’s Story of Recovery.
In January of 2021, Victoria found herself completely broken, self-loathing, and in an endless vicious cycle. She had been sitting her car for four hours, trying to find a vein. Heroin and meth had her powerless. Much like a crime scene, blood had splattered all over her steering column. She realized that she was an addict and she needed help.
The Secrets We Keep
Victoria’s childhood was great, she says. Much like many seemingly normal families, there were skeletons in the closet from her father, and secrets behind the front door. Admittedly, she says she had a bit of a silver spoon in her mouth. Lurking behind closed doors, her father was an abusive alcoholic. On one specific occasion, Victoria was held at gunpoint with her family for a weekend. Her father had his finger on the trigger. Her household was a strict one, and if she talked back, she suffered physical abuse. The method her father used the most was hitting her on the back of the head, with the butt of his gun.
Proving to be unstoppable and having a determined heart, Victoria became her high school valedictorian and graduated college with a degree in photography, deciding eventually to serve her country in the Navy, despite her not-so-simple early years. Incredible accomplishments and inspiring to others. Unfortunately, things took a drastic turn.
A Price Paid for a Penny Earned
Doesn’t a forty-thousand-dollar sign-on bonus sound like a good deal? That’s what Victoria thought, too. She came to realize that was the price tag for sobriety, peace, and ultimately her life. Victoria was wildly successful in the military and moved up the ranks quickly. She had forty men under her and possessed impeccable leadership skills. This sparked disdain and resentment in twelve of the men. These men took their frustrations out on her. She suffered a brutal attack and was raped. “I spent six months in the hospital, had numerous STD’s, and suffered a miscarriage,” she says. This is a terrible price to pay for serving your country.
Victoria witnessed her best friend’s death (the one who had found her after her attack) by an I.E.D. With trauma from the war hanging over her head, she completed two more tours. Like for most folks, jobs don’t always go according to plan. On one mission, she failed to rescue someone. As this wore heavy on her heart, she came to find out the man that was not saved, happened to be one of her twelve abusers. The navy considered this dereliction of duty and she was discharged. Victoria felt sick, lost, and turned to heroin. Victoria’s story of recovery begins here.
“In active addiction,” she says, “I was a selfish, horrible person. I only cared about money and drugs. I sold and trafficked guns and substances through numerous states and I was an incredibly angry person, hard to get along with. Everyone had to walk on eggshells around me.” Many addicts and alcoholics can relate to this. Her drug abuse was self-medicating her bipolar depression and numbing her trauma. Victoria says that her addiction has given her several felonies, pending charges, strained her familial relationships, and has taken a toll on her body.
In her journey to sobriety she says she didn’t realize the impact that her past has had on her. Typically, trauma is a leading cause of alcoholism and addiction. Active addiction makes us speak lowly to ourselves and she has thought she was a terrible person. Victoria admits she will never be who she was, pre-military. Today, she strives to become a more knowledgeable, experienced woman that her family can turn to and trust. After blowing out every vein in her body and hitting her rock-bottom, Victoria remains hopeful and grateful.
The Seventh Step Prayer
My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. You can find more Twelve Step Prayers here.
Perfectly imperfect, fiercely loyal, and the definition of a true hero. Victoria’s Story of Recovery was shared as she stood before myself and many other women. She spoke with grace and integrity, and an intense earnestness that had us hanging on to every word. It was spiritual. She touched all of our hearts. “I am a mom, a daughter, a sister, a veteran, but I am not a victim, I am a survivor. We are all survivors.”
-I’d like to thank Victoria for allowing me the privilege of interviewing her and her bravery of sharing her story. Her story has inspired me and is sure to help others as well. You can find other personal stories here! – There are many veterans and active military that struggle with addiction and alcoholism. If you or someone you know needs help, please don’t hesitate to message me. You can also find some amazing resources here.