By Angela Allen | Fresno, CA
Everyone has a point in their lives where they don’t know who they are, where they are, or who they want to be. Some people have to hit rock bottom before getting back up but sometimes we keep falling which is okay as long as you keep trying. I had to hit rock bottom twice before I realized I had to get clean and sober. Im not perfect and I can fall at anytime but, right now Im heading back to the top of recovery. Let me tell you about my journey and my story about strength; sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
It all started when I was four years old. I survived a divorce between my parents. I also survived physical, mental, and sexual abuse. Both of my parents are deaf so at a young age I could not talk to them, it felt like they were the child and I was the adult. As a child I already hated life; I was scared, worried and I kept to myself. As years went on nothing got better, things actually got worse. I thought that this is what my life Is all about. When I was ten years old I found something that helped me hide my emotions and made me feel numb. I started drinking alcohol, at first it was once or twice a week. Then it got to the point where I was drinking almost every day. I thought that drinking was my only happiness. I kept doing it in till I was 14 years old. That year i got raped by a family member and a kid from school. I thought that I deserved it. It made me hate myself even more. I felt like I lost control of my life. I started drinking, smoking pot, snorting coke, taking ecstasy, adderall, and pain pills. I was high on a daily basis and I started cutting. I was diagnosed with an eat disorder which was bulimia. My eating disorder and when I cut myself made me feel like I had control of my life. Despite all of my hardships, I graduated from high school with honors and got a good job working at papa Murphys. But I was still using and I still going threw sexual, physical, and mental abuse. I thought it was never going to end. My addiction got to the point where I could not wake up or go to bed without my fix. I started stealing from family, friends, work, and even strangers. I was digging my grave.
April 29th is the day I got sick in tired of being sick in tired. I went to my family and asked for help. The next day, I was on the plane to rehab in Jacksonville Florida. I was so scared: how was i going to live without a substance? How was I even going to stay clean? I went to a place called lake view health center for forty two day program. This is when and where I learned a lot about myself. I learned coping skills and tools to stay clean. I was diagnosed with bipolar, depression, ptsd, anxiety, and ocd. At first I thought “oh my god I am crazy and this does not make me feel any better about myself”. But as I learned about each diagnosis, I found out that given things I have been through and how i was was raised, it made sense that I was feeling this way. The medication that they gave me made me feel better and I could handle life. After the forty two days of rehab, I did not want to go home. I was clean and I had learned a lot, but I was scared I would not be able to do this by myself. I moved to a halfway house in west palm beach, Florida and went to an out patient clinic I was there for 90 days. I learned how to control and conquer my bulimia. I also learned a lot of techniques on how to manage my ptsd, thanks to my therapists. While I was there life felt so great but I got a stalker who was sexually and physically abusive. But this time it was different because I had great friends and a program to help me get threw it. I finally left the program. Went back to Washington and I brought my best friend with me. My first mistake in my recovery was moving in with my dad, who was one of my abusers. The abuse continued which triggered me to relapsed. I got kicked out of my dads house and moved in with my grandma. I stop using for a couple months but I picked up again. But I got into a new addiction, which was heroin. I started hanging out with my druggie friends and heroin was a big deal to them. I would always be up to trying anything once, but when I learned how much cheaper it was and the high was better i got hooked. I got bad into it and I got kicked out again. I moved to California because I wanted to get out of Washington and away from everyone. I was still using and I was stealing from family and stores . on February 28th 2014, I got caught stealing and got arrested, but i was lucky and they let me go. This is when I hit rock bottom for the last time. I got back in the program, did detox for twenty two days and also went to a place called Blue Sky Wellness Center where I learned to cope with my mental illness and learn to live sober again. I started volunteering there and a few months later, they hired me. Now I am a peer support specialist and get to help people just like me every day. Things are not perfect and I am not perfect but today I am clean, sober, happy and that’s all that matters.
What gives me hope today is that I know I am a survivor and I am already achieving my goals. I have healthy coping skills which are doing what I love everyday , and I have a great support system to help me. I draw strengths from remembering who i was and where i am now. This gives me strength because I have the will and desire to stay clean. I also get my strength from family friends , and my relationships,which push me to strive for success. Although I cannot predict the future as long as I continually go to my support groups and practice my coping skills I can stay clean.
I am Angela Allen. I am a recovering addict with mental health disorders and I accept it. After some time staying clean, doors started opening for me. I got my dream jobs and now I am an interpreter for the deaf and a Peer Support Specialist at Blue Sky. I try to give what was freely given to me. I realized staying clean was worth all of this. I hope this story helped someone and let them know they are not alone. There are people and places that you can go to for help. If you fall , it’s okay, just get back up and try again. I hope you can take a piece of something i said from my story to help you on your journey. I can honestly say I’ve been clean since February 28th 2014 and I would not change it for the world.