Readers share their stories of successful recovery
Several readers wrote in response to Imprisoned by meth: Mary’s story this week in the Nevada Appeal that followed a Carson City mother through her attempt at recovery from methamphetamine. (To read Mary’s story, or watch a video about it, go to http://www.nevadaappeal.com)
Although Mary Reasoner was eventually arrested and convicted of burglary, many readers were inspired to share their stories of success.
Here are some of them:
I applaud your effort to bring the struggle of recovery to the public. I would like to share a couple of my own observations with you, though.
You stated that relapse is part of recovery. That is not true. Relapse IS NOT a part of recovery, and it is a dangerous message that many people get. Many alcoholics and addicts go back out and die because of this erroneous belief. Also Mary and her boyfriend stated that rehab and meetings are bogus. When people don’t get it, it is bogus. When they are ready, meetings and rehab will work.
I have been clean and sober for nearly 20 years, through the grace of my higher power and the power in the rooms of recovery. I, too, was faced with the choice of having my son or my drugs, and I gave him up for adoption because I never thought there was another way.
Nine months later, I held my goddaughter for the first time at her christening and asked God to take me or show me a way out so I could be a role model for this child.
That was July 5, 1987. I checked myself into a rehab two days later – sober. From that day to this, I have not had to use drugs or alcohol except by a doctor’s order.
I have raised three children in recovery and been a widow for nearly 10 years. My eldest will attend an Ivy League university beginning in August, and my other two are at the top of their classes too.
Recovery is not easy. It takes hard work and dedication to becoming a better person without the crutch of addictions.
Please don’t forget to share the messages of successes, too. There are many, many who do recover, if they are willing.
If you choose to write about my story, I ask that I do remain anonymous in the tradition of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. Thank you.
In the joy of recovery.
• • •
I too am a meth addict of 12 years and have been in recovery since May 2005.
My story is similar to Mary’s, only I have lost my children to the state for good, did prison time, and have managed to turn myself around and give life a chance.
I did get clean on my own and stayed that way. I will not lie to you though, there is probably not a day that goes by that I don’t want to get high. I have just learned to reprogram my brain to be strong enough to say no and think of my consequences.
I have a new family now and too many people to disappoint if I went out again. That is part of why I say no to myself. The other part is that I have learned to love myself and indulge in other positive things for instant gratification other than chemicals.
I am so glad you did this piece. Most of our community still seems to think that this really isn’t that big of a problem or that their kids won’t turn out to be a meth addict.
I know my parents didn’t think I would end up that way. I was raised in a loving middle-class home, my parents are still married today, happily. Also, I think people view meth as a simple drug you can up and quit and never look back. Boy do us addicts wish!
To go from being a criminal druggie to an “acceptable citizen” is uncomfortable for them, or like Mary says, “boring.”
I need to get back to my duties as a mother and wife. Take care.
• • •
My name is Jennifer Wyatt. I am a recovering meth addict. So is my mom and so is my dad.
My mother and I are best friends and have been since I was about 13. I didn’t start using until I was 21. I am now 27.
My mother has been addicted to meth since 1983. She started with crank, for weight loss and energy. By the time she recovered, she had no veins left, no teeth and no home. My mother spent the majority of my teenage years homeless or living in substandard homes.
She slept with people for dope and has probably done more dope than anyone I know. She has had needles break off in her arms and has slammed a teener in one shot (about $120 worth). I am amazed she is still alive.
We three would ride around Carson City saying, “The family that gets high together, stays together.”
Now we all say, “The family that stays sober together, stays together.”
• • •
I would like to first thank you and Mr. Horn for your articles on the effects of meth on children. You are doing a good thing by shedding light on a very dark problem. But, if I may, I would like to ask one thing.
I, too, am a recovering meth addict. I have been clean for four years now, and it is only now that I am beginning to see the effects of my addiction on my children. My daughter, who is now 13, I have to say, has done a beautiful job of raising her little brother, who is now 11. Her education has unfortunately suffered for it though. She had missed so much school moving around so much with me or staying home to take care of me or her little brother she was held back in the second grade and is now in danger of being held back again. Sometimes she would stay home just because I was too strung out to do her laundry and the kids at school made fun of her because her clothes smelled so bad, and I was too high to care.
My son, has a hard time making and keeping friends, has an extreme anger problem, and has had no lasting friendships, the result, I’m sure, of moving around so much. He watched his father and I scream obscenities at each other and beat up on each other and now he thinks that that behavior is OK.
Now, at 11, he talks every single day of running away or killing himself, despite my best efforts to stay clean and be a good mom.
That’s my story, now here’s my point: People knew. Friends, family, and school counselors. They all knew! What did they do? They called the Division of Child and Family Services. Guess what? I found out each and every time that DCFS was called and was coming out to the house.
And I beat them, each and every time. I cleaned the house, washed clothes – sometimes in the sink – and borrowed food from friends to put in the house to make it look good.
It worked every time. DCFS did nothing as long as the kids and the house were clean and there was food. My daughter says that no one ever asked her about the fighting, the hitting, the screams that would wake her up in the middle of the night. The beatings from their father that my son still to this day has nightmares about.
All they ever wanted to know was if the house was clean and if there was food in the house. “Yes, the house is clean,” my daughter would say (thinking to herself, “because I cleaned it.” Remember she was only 8 at this time, and her brother was 6).
“Yes, there’s food in the house,” (thinking there was some leftover crackers and peanut butter from last night).
I know this because she admitted these things to me in counseling.
DCFS did go to the kids’ schools to speak with them. But the kids had a very deep, dark secret they knew they had to hide from everybody, not because they were worried about themselves, but because they knew they had to protect me.
The more they hid it, and the more they lied about it, the better they got at it. And, the better their father and I got at hiding it from the rest of the world. We had a house in a nice neighborhood, and their father had a good job as a plumber.
Nobody knew we didn’t pay the rent, or the power bill or the gas bill; all anyone knew is that their father was making good money, never mind the fact that we were spending ALL of that money (approximately $1,400 to $1,500 a month) on dope.
Most of the time, kids will do anything to protect their parents. Maybe if my kids knew that somebody wanted to help us and not separate us by arresting me or putting them in foster care, they would have opened up a little more to someone and we wouldn’t have had to go through another year of no food, no heat, no hot water, no baseball, no new clothes.
Just meth, everywhere.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ask your readers that if they suspect something, do not accept “everything is OK” as an easy and quick answer. Watch, every single day, watch for signs.
Get nosy if you have to. Watch to see if the kids go to school that day, or if the parents go to work. Ask the kids about their grades. Ask the kids if they have had anything to eat. Befriend the children and get them to open up to you.
And most of all, assure them that you are there to help them and their parents, not just get them taken away and put in foster care.
Oh, and by the way, with time the kids are getting better. My daughter is learning what it is to be a teenager and go to movies with friends and trying very hard to get through school and keep her grades up. And my son is finally playing baseball and loving every minute of it.
If you talk to Mary, please tell her that for the sake of her sons, I hope she gets better.