HELLO, MY NAME IS NICOLE AND I’M AN ADDICT. I DON’T KNOW WHEN IT HAPPENED, OR HOW IT HAPPENED. I JUST KNOW THAT I AM. I THINK THAT I REALIZED I HAD A PROBLEM SOMETIME IN MY TEN-YEAR MARRIAGE WITH MY EX HUSBAND. IT BECAME CLEAR TO ME THAT I WAS NOT A NORMAL DRINKER, SMOKER, ETC. I COULDN’T STOP, AND IT WAS NEVER ENOUGH. I DIDN’T LIKE MYSELF AND I HAD NO CONFIDENCE OR SELF WORTH. DURING THE TEN YEARS OF MARRIAGE WITH ANOTHER ACTIVE USER, MY EX HUSBAND AND I HAD USED METH, COCAINE, ALCOHOL, AND ANY KIND OF PRESCRIPTION OPIATES WE COULD GET A HOLD OF. WE EVENTUALLY TRIED TO MOVE TO ANOTHER STATE. RUNNING AWAY SEEMED LIKE A GOOD PLAN. IT DID NOT TAKE LONG AND WE WERE USING AGAIN. IN A HAZE OF METH AND OPIATES, MY MARRIAGE FINALLY CRUMBLED. WHEN WE DECIDED TO DIVORCE, MY EX HUSBAND AND HIS MOTHER ILLEGALLY TOOK MY DAUGHTERS FROM ME, AND I WAS OUTCASTED FROM A FAMILY THAT I HAD BEEN APART OF FOR TEN YEARS. I WAS ALONE AND HOPELESS. SOMETHING INSIDE ME DIED THAT DAY. MY CHILDREN WERE MY LIFE, AND I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO GO ON. I DID THE ONE THING BEST THAT AN ADDICT COULD DO. I USED EVEN MORE. THEN I TOOK OFF TO IDAHO AND JUMPED RIGHT INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANOTHER ADDICT.

WE WERE LIKE TWO TRAINS COLLIDING, AND ON TOP OF THAT WE DECIDED TO THROW A BABY INTO THE MIX. AFTER FINDING OUT I WAS PREGNANT, I DECIDED TO TRY RUNNING FROM MY PROBLEMS AGAIN. I LEFT MY BOYFRIEND, AND TRAVELED ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY BACK TO WHERE MY EX HUSBAND AND TWO DAUGHTERS WERE RESIDING. I TOOK AT LEAST ONE ILLEGAL OPIATE PILL A DAY DURING THAT TIME. LYING TO MYSELF, I JUSTIFIED IT BY TELLING MYSELF IT WAS NOT STREET DRUGS. EVEN THOUGH I HAD TO HUSTLE 23 DOLLARS A DAY FOR JUST ONE PILL, AND WHICH I USED INTRAVENOUSLY. I THANK GOD THAT MIRACULOUSLY NO HARM EVER CAME TO MY UNBORN CHILD. MY BOYFRIEND SHOWED UP AND WE DECIDED TO TAKE MY DAUGHTERS BACK TO IDAHO. WE TRAVELED IN A CAMARO WITH MY DAUGHTERS FOR THREE DAYS BACK TO IDAHO. I WAS NINE MONTHS PREGNANT. THE DAY WE ARRIVED I WAS ASSAULTED WHILE VISITING AT MY SISTERS HOUSE BY MY EX HUSBAND AND HIS MOTHER. THEY WERE WEARING BLACK SWEATSHIRTS AND BEANIES. THEY GRABBED THE GIRLS FROM ME, THREW THEM IN A CAR AND TOOK OFF OUT OF THE STATE.

THE TRAUMA LEFT ME IN SHOCK. LUCKILY, I DIDN’T USE AND GAVE BIRTH TO A HEALTHY BABY BOY FREE OF ANY DEPENDENCY. THINGS SEEMED NORMAL FOR AWHILE. MY BOYFRIEND GOT A GOOD JOB AND WE MOVED INTO AN APARTMENT IN NAMPA IDAHO. A MAN NEXT DOOR (WHO I WILL LABEL AS THE DOPE-MAN) OFFERED US SOME METH ONE DAY. WE STARTED REGULARLY USING METH, AND I EVENTUALLY I HAD SEX WITH THAT MAN FOR
DRUGS. I ENDED UP PREGNANT NINE MONTHS AFTER I HAD MY OLDER SON. MY BOYS WOULD BE 18 MONTHS APART WHICH WAS VERY HARD. NOW THOSE TWO LITTLE MEN ARE A BEAUTIFUL CHAOTIC BLESSING TO ME, AND I AM PRESENT NOW TO ACTUALLY ENJOY THEM! MY BOYRIEND AND I ENDED UP HAVING A NO CONTACT ORDER BETWEEN US AFTER ONE OF OUR VERY MANY PHYSICAL FIGHTS THAT FINALLY ESCALATED MORE THAN USUAL. I ONCE AGAIN, AND NOW FOR THE THIRD TIME, DECIDED THAT RUNNING AWAY MIGHT WORK (HAHA). SO I TOOK OFF TO IDAHO FALLS WITH A MAN WHO HAD DRUGS. WHEN I GOT THERE, I GOT A JOB IN A LITTLE APARTMENT AND CONTINUE TO USE.

I TOLD MYSELF I NEEDED IT SINCE I NEEDED THE ENERGY TO BE A SINGLE MOM, WORK,MANAGE THE KIDS, COOK, CLEAN, LIVE, ETC. IT WAS A ONE NIGHT STAND ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT AND I ENDED UP PREGNANT AGAIN. I WANTED TO BE LOVED, BUT I WAS ALWAYS SEARCHING FOR LOVE IN THE WRONG PLACES. AFTER THE NO CONTACT ORDER WAS DROPPED. I CAME BACK TO NAMPA, TO MY BOYFRIEND, AND TRIED TO START OVER. WE HAD JUST MOVED INTO AN APARTMENT, AND I FOUND OUT I WAS TO HAVE ANOTHER CHILD. I WISH I COULD TELL YOU THAT I DIDN’T TOUCH ANOTHER DRUG; BUT, UNFORTUNATELY THAT WOULD NOT BE THE TRUTH. I KNOW THAT SOMEDAY I WILL MEET MY MAKER, AND I WILL HAVE TO ANSWER FOR THE DANGER THAT I PUT MY UNBORN CHILDREN IN. IT WAS A MIRACLE, AND NOT BY MY OWN DOING THAT MY BABIES WERE HEALTHY AND OKAY.

I REMEMBER THE DAY I HIT MY ROCK BOTTOM. WE WERE GETTING EVICTED. A POLICE OFFICER CAME TO THE DOOR AND TOLD US WE HAD 24 HOURS TO BE OUT OF THE APARTMENT. DAVE GOT A CALL THE SAME DAY FROM HIS WORK TELLING HIM HE WAS FIRED. WE LEFT IN THE CAMARO WITH OUR TWO YOUNG BOYS ONLY ONE AND TWO YEARS OLD. I DID NOT EVEN HAVE SHOES ON MY FEET. I HAD A BABY GIRL A DAY LATER AT THE HOSPITAL. WHEN I ARRIVED AT THE HOSPITAL I HAD NOT HAD ANY PRENATAL CARE PRIOR TO THAT. I TOLD DAVE TO CALL A COUPLE THAT WE KNEW WAS ADOPTING, AND TELL THEM TO GET TO THE HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY. I ALSO TOLD HIM THAT BECAUSE OF MY ACTIVE USE THAT HE NEEDED TO STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE HOSPITAL, AND TAKE CARE OF OUR TWO BOYS. THE COUPLE CAME INTO THE BIRTHING ROOM RIGHT AS I GAVE BIRTH TO HER. WHEN SHE CAME OUT OF ME I LOOKED AT THIS PERFECT LITTLE BEAUTIFUL GIRL, AND REALIZE WHAT A MONSTER I WAS. I DIDN’T EVEN DESERVE TO LOOK AT HER, LET ALONE HOLD HER. I COUNTED HER FINGERS: TEN AND THEM TOES: TEN, AND TOLD THE NURSE TO GIVE HER TO HER MOM AND DAD. WHEN EVERYONE HAD LEFT THE ROOM AND I WAS ALONE I PRAYED THAT GOD WOULD JUST TAKE ME THEN, AND THAT I WOULDN’T HAVE TO LIVE ANY LONGER. I WANTED TO DIE. THAT WAS MY BOTTOM.

I CAME TO THE DOORS OF RAISE THE BOTTOM BROKEN AND DEFEATED. WE WERE HOMELESS AND LIVING OUT OF OUR CAMARO. ALTHOUGH WE BOTH HAD NOT USED, I NEEDED HELP. I WAS SICK AND TIRED. I ALSO WAS SCARED THAT I MIGHT LOSE MY CHILDREN IF I DECIDED TO USE AGAIN. I MET MY COUNSELOR. SHE SHARED WITH ME A PERSONAL STORY THAT RELATED TO ME SO MUCH. SHE WAS ADOPTED, AND HER MOTHER HAD USED. SHE NOW HAS A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH HER MOM. I FELT HOPE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME. WE MADE A TREATMENT PLAN THAT HELPED ME SET GOALS. I HAVE MET SEVERAL OF THEM. I ALSO HAVE NEW ONES THAT I LOOK FORWARD TO ACHIEVING. RTB KEPT ME ACCOUNTABLE MY MONITORING ME IN MY RECOVERY. SOME TOOLS I HAVE LEARNED THRU RTB TO HELP ME STAY ON THIS ROAD OF RECOVERY ARE KEEPING MYSELF OUT OF ENVIRONMENTS, AND AROUND PEOPLE THAT MIGHT BE RISKY FOR MY SOBRIETY. I HAVE ALSO BUILT A STRONG NETWORK, AND SUPPORT SYSTEM THAT I KNOW HAVE MY BACK. AS A WOMAN I AM STRONGER, AND MY SELF-ESTEEM, AND OVERALL QUALITY OF LIFE HAS IMPROVED, AND CONTINUES TO DO SO. I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT I CANNOT CHANGE THE WORLD AROUND ME, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE MY ATTITUDE AND OUTLOOK ON LIFE. I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW WHERE I WOULD BE WITHOUT RAISE THE BOTTOM. THEY SAVED MY LIFE. BAD THINGS HAPPEN SOMETIME. LIFE HAS IT’S UPS AND DOWNS, AND MY LIFE HASN’T GOTTEN ANY EASIER. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT TODAY I LIVE LIFE ON LIFE’S TERMS. ALL I MUST DO IS NOT USE. RELAPSE MAY HAPPEN, OR IT MAY NOT. I JUST SAY TO MYSELF “NEVER GIVE UP”. I JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD. I HOPE THAT I CAN REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE WHO HEARS THIS STORY. I PROMISE THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU, AND RAISE THE BOTTOM WILL BE THERE WITH YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

GOD BLESS YOU.

NICOLE