My name is Jessica, and I’m an alcoholic.
I was born on New Year’s Eve 1985 in Philadelphia, PA. For all intents and purposes, I grew up as an only child, I have 3 half siblings, one of which I never lived with, and only lived with the others for brief periods. My parents were loving and I was never physically abused, I had everything I could’ve wanted or needed. My parents did drink more than the average people, and I would consider my father an alcoholic today.
I lived most of my young childhood in Virginia Beach, VA and I moved to the town I now call home, Fredericksburg, when I was 7. I was a pretty normal kid, I did well in school, I played sports, and I had a lot of friends. When I was in about 6th grade, I started to feel uncomfortable. I felt like I could not relate to a lot of my peers, and even back then I was a chameleon with lots of different groups of friends. I decided I preferred the company of the kids that liked to smoke behind the library, and by 10th grade I was a seasoned drinker and drug user.
I started out small, like most people do, smoking pot for the first time in 6th grade and drinking wine coolers in 7th. By 9th grade I was smoking weed daily and drinking a couple times a week. By 10th grade I was dabbling in pain killers and muscle relaxers and I remember one time having to sign my entire paycheck over to a dealer because I was eating X like candy. From age 17 – 20 I mostly drank and smoked and on the weekends ate mushrooms and acid. I got my first possession charge in September 2004, I was 18. I loved hallucinogens and swore to myself never to try “hard drugs” like cocaine and heroin.
I tried heroin for the first time in 2006 and tried cocaine at a party in 2007. Comparatively, I was an old maid when I tried the hard stuff, but my addiction took off like a rocket.
I didn’t really care for heroin when I first tried it, it made me vomit and black out, but I continued to do it anyway. I decided I preferred Oxy to dope and I had a long love affair with pills. I could take or leave coke, and alcohol was a staple in my life. In 2010 I caught my first felony possession charge, my co-defendant took the wrap, I skated, and the idea that I was untouchable as far as consequences due to my drug use was born.
Around 2011 pills started to become expensive and scarce, so what is an addict to do when their drug of choice becomes unavailable? They switch. Heroin was much, much cheaper, and I had been IVing pills, but the first time I shot heroin, I was in love.
I stumbled through 2011 and 2012, but 2013 was about to be MY year. I was introduced to speed balling and smoking crack, and I decided that speed balling just ruined the rush from both drugs, and I really loved that ole’ ringer you got from IVing crack or coke, so that became my drug of choice. I would do just enough heroin to come down and keep me from being sick, and now I had two drugs I was addicted to. I had been obtaining drug money by desperate means for years, payday loans, pawn shops, title loans, my parents’ wallets, but I became reckless and I was being investigated for credit card fraud and other things.
In June 2013 I was arrested for possession, and by the end of July I had been arrested on the same charge two more times in two different jurisdictions. I got a few driving on suspended charges and in mid July was picked up for failure to appear in court. I spent a few days in jail, and when I got out I was very, very sick. I begged my parents for money but they wouldn’t give it to me and they threw me out, so I called my drug dealer. He paid for me to get a hotel room, but he refused to give me any drugs for free. It just so happened someone that owed me was in a hotel across the street, so I went over there and got 2 points and rushed back over to my hotel. I sat on the toilet, I cooked a shot, and as I was looking at the dark brown liquid I thought to myself “If I do all this it’s probably going to kill me.” I did it anyway, and within seconds I KNEW I was in trouble. I made it from the toilet to the phone by the bed, I tried to dial 911, but I was fading fast and you had to dial 9 to get out and I couldn’t think. I woke up on the floor, the phone beeping from being off the hook, my lip and eye busted from hitting the table. I have no idea how long I was out, but when I came to I had a brief moment of clarity, all I could think about was that if I hadn’t woken up, some maid would’ve found me on the floor at an America’s Best Value Inn and my poor parents would’ve gotten a call to come identify my blue, lifeless body. I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know how to ask.
About a week later, I got a call from my dad because I had missed court, again. I was living in a Super 8 Motel with 4 other addicts, I was panhandling to eat a $1 cheeseburger from McDonald’s and a couple of 40’s of Steel Reserve a day, and I was robbing to support my drug habit. He begged me to let him come get me and to do the right thing to turn myself in. I was miserable, so I surrendered. I was released on bond, and I reached out to my best friend that lived and worked at a treatment center here in California.
Little did I know, she had been in contact with my family and some friends for a couple months, and 2 weeks later I was on a plane to California. I was considered a fugitive in Virginia, my future was uncertain, but I chose the rest of my life over the courts. My first sobriety date was August 19, 2013.
I stayed in California for 9 months, in that time I received 90 days of in-patient treatment, one on one counseling, group therapy, I went to hundreds of 12 step meetings, I got a get well job at a sandwich shop, I got my license back, I started a meaningful relationship with a man that I am still with today, my life went from chaos to serenity in 9 short months.
I left California on April 15, 2014 to go back to Virginia and face the legal music. I turned myself in on my dad’s birthday, April 28, 2014, I ended up only having to do 30 days in jail and I was released on probation. I stayed sober 6 more months. By November 2014 I had stopped going to my court ordered 12 step meetings and I was flying under the radar with my probation officer. I decided I could drink normally, and before you knew it I was making excuses to go to Fredericksburg to do drugs and drink behind my boyfriend’s back.
September 7, 2015 I was back on a plane to California for treatment. My new sobriety date is September 8, 2015. In 79 short days I have done about 45 days of out patient treatment, gotten a sponsor that has me do a tremendous amount of work, I’ve done a few couple’s counseling sessions, I got a job at A Better Life Recovery, I got my car back, my relationship has open honest communication, I am on medication for depression, I am genuinely happy and comfortable for the first time in a very, long time.
Addiction is hell, and getting sober is painful. I hope by sharing my journey I am able to help others that continue to suffer. If one person decides to reach out for help by reading my story, all the pain will have been worth it.