Hi, my name is Jenna and I’m a recovering addict. To those who know me best this comes as no surprise. However, I am certain that someone reading this right now is utterly shocked. That is because for the nearly thirty years that I have been an addict I have managed to be manipulative, cunning and secretive – as addicts are. I have compartmentalized my entire life… And I only let certain people see certain parts of me… And that is what keeps me sick. Other than in rooms facing other addicts I have never spoken these words out loud.
My addiction has taken me down a long agonizing road. The consequences of such are irreversible and will be life long. And as I sift through the rubble and the destruction I have left of my life, I have recently come to a conclusion – I need to own it. I need to own it and claim the responsibility for the hurt and destruction that I have caused to myself and to others so that I may begin to forgive myself and attempt to truly heal.
My story isn’t unique and neither is my shame. And my shame runs deep. Thousands of times throughout the years as I am face first into a pile of poisonous powder I have let this shame and guilt be the reason to keep me there. It is only now that I can openly confess that I was powerless to this poison.
OK, so now you all know my dirty secret. I am an addict and I am a mess… But its OK. In my active addiction I stopped feeling all emotions besides anger and hate. I was numb… I no longer felt agony or shame. I made excuses and justified my addiction for years. There was a point in my life where I could not get out of bed and function unless I was high and for a good many years I did just that… I would get high before my feet even hit the floor to turn on the coffee.
I am clean today by choice and I can say that my addiction was just that – mine. I am the only one that is accountable for my addiction and the path of destruction that I have left behind me. I am the one solely responsible for the hurt and dysfinction that I have inflicted on my daughter, my family and my friends. I have lost so many people that I really loved as a result of my addiction, including the one person I loved more than anyone else. See, at one point I had no love left in my heart, at least none that I could feel. I actually attempted suicide. I had become so numb and so lost that death seemed to be the only option. It seemed to be less agonizing than spending another day numbing my body with however much substance it would take to feel “happy.” I should clarify, the definition of happy at this point in time really meant numb – and for me it was truly an everyday mission.
And then God tries to intervene in my self-defined destiny of destruction. He gave me the gift of pure unconditional love and innocence when He bestowed upon my beautiful daughter upon me.
And that is where the demon truly reared his evil face. My addiction and loss of self in the drugs waged a war upon which I fought but was nowhere near prepared to win. Losing my daughter saved my life. I am sober today by the grace of God and my desire to make it right to my child. The only way I can fail her now is if I were to continue to be the junkie that lost her in the first place.
Yet, there are days that I still struggle to stay on the even path, even when life is pleasant. And in the wake of mending all the hurt and pain, more often than not the days aren’t very pleasant. The one thing about me that is finally different – that keeps me sober for each 24 hours – is that I can now own all of this. Yes, my name is Jenna and I am an addict and this is my truth.