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Vital Things I Have Cherished

Out of the Sandbox

By Angela B

Some of the things that I have cherished in the past weren’t good. Some of those things caused me great harm. Alot of those things that I cherished also brought me great hope. Equally important, the greater part of my life I was very destructive. The more recent years have been years of growth and strength. All things I have cherished in my lifetime, whether good or bad, have all led me to be the person I am today. Thus, my life has been filled with many people or things that I have cherished; the top three of which are my addiction, Jesus Christ, and my family.

After my parents divorced, my mother’s choices resulted in the loss of my childhood passion, skating, and the loss of security when we moved from place to place. Since I was my dad’s “doodie-bug”, he was now gone, and so was the neighborhood that I felt so safe in. In the beginning, the addiction took off slowly. I experimented with drugs, alcohol, and sex in my early teens, and didn’t consider these to be acceptable behaviors; however, several life changing events happened. My innocence was taken by my uncle when I was seven, and my mother covered it up in her denial. Moreover, a sister also made me engage in similar, confusing sexual behavior. My mother paid more attention to trying to keep a man in her life than paying the bills or meeting my necessities. The rest of my childhood was replaced with working to keep the lights on, and as a very young teen, my mom allowed me to have parties and alcohol was quite acceptable. Drugs seemed exciting and sex just came with the territory. My mother signed for an abortion so, therefore, it was like a license to have sex. Furthermore, school had lost its importance, so I dropped out. Later, I got my G.E.D. and an associate’s degree. I had a career, got married, and life was good, normal, so I thought. The final event was the birth of my first child, a daughter; my husband did not want children and no longer wanted me. My husband kept my daughter, and made me give up all my rights. My next relationship presented me with another daughter, an addiction to crack cocaine, as well as an introduction to prostitution and jail.

My next several years were spent in a succession or twelve step program and rehabilitation facilities. I would use drugs in the ladies’ room at meetings. I didn’t quite grasp the concept that in order for me to stop drugs, I actually had to stop drugs. The principal of the programs seemed simple enough, but I needed more than just words. I graduated from one facility and setup house for myself and the man I met while I was there. Our focus was never on how to stay clean, sober when we got out, so we returned to our old lives; only this time we had each other. We had a son together, got married, and remained for some years to come in a drug addicted, physically abusive, relationship in which I found myself in jail and yet another rehabilitation facility. This facility was faith based. I started to understand why the twelve step programs are three-fold physical, mental, and spiritual. I could not get and stay clean and sober until I finally embraced Jesus Christ. I had to put Jesus Christ in my life, do as He would have me do, and everything else began to fall in line. Two failed marriages, three children, and another one on the way, I still had a couple more hurdles to jump, but Jesus Christ showed me the way. I have discovered that without Jesus Christ in my life I am completely powerless over people, places, and things. With Jesus Christ in my life, I have the power that I need.

In addition, the time had come to start taking responsibility for the path of destruction I had left behind. The purpose of the twelve step programs is to help the addict, like myself, to become a productive member of society in all aspects of life. Thus, my family and friends saw a new dawn.

Some of them, I’m sure, were “waiting for the other shoe to fall” as they had heard my words before. This time I truly had to make amends. To amend means to change, so I had to make

many changes. Presently, my mom has rededicated her life to Jesus Christ and our relationship today is better than ever before. My dad and step mom keep in constant touch with me, and we go to visit frequently. My fourteen-year-old son chose to come live with me and our seventeen-year-old daughter calls our house home. My eight-year-old daughter calls my, now third, husband dad, and that leaves only the oldest daughter with which to reunite.

Today, I embrace not only those things that have come back to me but also all people and things that have made up my life. All of the choices that I made were based on my perception of what was acceptable in my life at that time. Not one event from my past has changed, but I have come to cherish the three things that have impacted who I am today.

Addiction doesn’t care who you are, where you’re from, or how much money you have. Unfortunately, many think that it won’t or can’t happen to them and that isn’t true. It is a disease and it can be arrested one day at a time. My hopes in sharing my story is that other students like myself will see just how real addiction is and that there is hope in breaking the chains that bind us.  You are not alone! If anybody needs a friend that can understand the insane committee in your head, it’s me. Feel free to email me at
Blessings, Angela B


Header photo by Darren Johnson (flickr creative commons)

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