This letter tells the story of a woman who grew up in a house torn apart by addiction. The far-reaching consequences may surprise you. We were inspired and moved by her story.
Hello, my name is Alexandria.
I was born November 3rd, 1993 to two addicts and alcoholics. I’m the oldest of three girls.
Growing up, my parents were always fighting. I always felt like it was my fault like I was doing something wrong. I felt out of place like I didn’t belong there. Like I wasn’t good enough. This feeling has followed me throughout my whole life.
In Our House Addiction Led to Violence
I always felt like I had to protect my little sisters, so that’s what I did. I remember the day my dad was on top of my mom, and I jumped on his back hitting him to try to help her. He threw me against a wall and then drug my mom and me by our hair to the back bedroom. That was the day we walked away from my dad, but not permanently.
As my mom, my sisters and I walked down the street my dad was standing naked on the front porch yelling at us that he was going to find us and kill us. My mom called my Nana and Papa when we got to a gas station, and told them what had happened. They showed up shortly after she called and we went to a hospital close by so that they could photograph the injuries on my mom and me.
We stayed at my grandparents for a short period and then my mom got into a low-income house. I remember my mom making me lay down in the back of the suburban so that no one could see me; we were going to see my real dad. She made me sit on his lap, kiss him on the cheek and tell him I loved him and forgave him. I didn’t see him for a long time after that.
While we lived in the low-income housing with my mom, she got a boyfriend named Lawrence. He made me very uncomfortable and would walk around the house naked and just stare at me. I used to hide in my room, in the closet from him. I met a girl down the street who became my best friend. My sisters and I were always over at her house.
I never felt safe in the houses that were supposed to be my homes. I never felt comfortable, and never wanted to be in them. -Alex
My sisters and I went to the city with my mom to visit her friends. She was not in her right mind. Her friend said she stole his drugs that day. My mom gathered my sisters and me into the car, her friends surrounded the car and did not want her to leave with us due to the state she was in. She jumped the curb, and we left. Her friend was calling her and trying to find her. My mom finally agreed to meet up with him at his moms.
The ambulance and police showed up shortly after we were there. The cops were trying to take my mom away, and I was holding onto her, fighting them. I did not want to let go of my mom. She told me to look into their eyes, they were black and they were evil, and not to let them do this to us. My younger sisters stood in the background and were crying, they did not understand what was going on.
They Took My Mom Away Because of Drug Addiction
They finally got my mom into the ambulance; I was screaming and crying. I was beyond scared and had no idea what was going on; I did not understand. The cops called my Nana and Papa, they were two hours away. They said they would have to put us into DHS custody because they were going to take too long. Finally, they got ahold of my aunt who lived not too far from where we were. She showed up and had her state ID, and due to her having that, they allowed us to go into her custody until my grandparents arrived.
My aunt took us to get food and clothes; my sisters and I were dirty and hungry. It turns out that my grandparents had been trying to find out where we were the whole time we had been gone. That day played on replay in my head for a long time, and still does from time to time. -Alex
While my mom was in the hospital her drug levels were very high, and they did not know how she was even alive. During that time, my mom signed over her parental rights to my grandparents. Not long after, the hearing was held for them to adopt me and my sisters. My mom wasn’t capable of taking care of us, and she wanted us to have our best chance. -Alex
I felt like it was my fault that my parents had walked out of our lives; that I wasn’t good enough for them. I always wondered why they didn’t love me.
For the first time, I had a home when I got to my grandparent’s house. I felt safe. It was so different, and I didn’t know how to handle it. Shortly after, I wrote my mom a letter and told her I did not want to talk to her or see her anymore. I was tired of being hurt. She was living in a house with a few other women. I did not know it at the time, but it was something like a halfway house.
I Lost My Mom to Substance Abuse
My mom passed away when I was 14 years old. It tore me apart in so many different ways. I had had a conversation with my mom not too long before she passed and told her I loved her and I was ready to have a relationship with her. She had been clean for the last two years of her life and was about to graduate with her bachelor’s in psychology.
My sisters had a relationship with my mom, they were younger and didn’t remember all the things I did. I couldn’t forget them. I did not have the chance to build a relationship with her, and I felt like it was all my fault. I waited too long to forgive her.
Shortly after her passing, I got drunk for the first time. I drank to oblivion, and I completely blacked out. I don’t remember anything but throwing up at the beginning of the night. I drank throughout high school, and every time I drank until I passed out. I don’t remember much from my drinking escapades. I smoked pot from time to time and did duster. I switched high schools a few times; it seemed like I could never find my place in life.
At the age of 18, I got married and had a beautiful little girl. I was scared, nervous, and excited. I was going to have my very own little family, what I had always wanted. My husband went to basic training and AIT shortly after the birth of our daughter. Then, he got duty stationed in South Korea. I felt like he was leaving us. It broke my heart, and I didn’t know how to handle it.
Once again, I felt like I was being abandoned. I always swore I would never do to my daughter what my parents had done to me. I would never walk out on her, or ever touch drugs. I worked in my daughter’s daycare and we attended church with my family on a regular basis. -Alex
At the age of 20, I put a needle in my arm full of speed. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew it would make me feel better; there was so much in my life that I hadn’t dealt with.
The last time I saw my daughter was on her second birthday. She is now 4 ½ . I remember that day like it was yesterday. When I was saying goodbye, she was crying and reaching for me. Just like the day I got pulled out of my mom’s arms.
I had done exactly what I said I would never do.
My family suffered from my poor choices as well. Not having her in my life is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. It’s a knot in my stomach and an ache in my chest that I feel on a regular basis.
It was my excuse for using for a long time.
Once again, I felt that sense of worthlessness and not being good enough. My ex-husband had another woman there, who shortly after became his wife. They now have a son, and my daughter calls his new wife “mom.”
When all of this first started happening, I was completely broken.
My Only Coping Mechanism Was Drug Abuse
All I knew how to do was put a needle in my arm, and try to forget all of it. All the pain, hurt, guilt, and shame that had accumulated throughout my life.
My family and friends could not stand to watch me slowly kill myself; it tore them all apart. They were watching me do the exact same thing that my mom had done.
I wanted to die. I felt like I was just a body taking up space in a world that I didn’t deserve to be in. I had attempted suicide right after Christmas. They sent me to the psych ward, and I talked myself out of having to stay there. -Alex
I went back to the hospital about a week later because I was blacking out. I was sent to the hospital in the city. When I was released, the phone would not let me dial out long distance. This woman held her phone out, and offered for me to use it. I tried calling a couple of people, but no one had the money to come get me.
That lady fed me, introduced me to her husband who was in the hospital at the time, as well as her parents. She sat with me and talked with me, and I told her I did drugs. She got her son to take me home, and got my number and told me I could call her anytime. I told her I had no money, and she said, “Don’t worry about it. Pay it forward.” I had no idea why this woman was so nice to me or why she would want to help someone like me.
She and I kept in contact over the next year, always talking. She would pray with me over the phone all the time, and tell me she loved me all the time. She had never dealt with addiction, but for some reason, she felt like I was brought into her life for a reason.
My Dad and Addiction
The next December my birth dad showed up to my court date, and when I saw him, I thought he was there for court too. It turned out he was there to find me. When we got in the elevator, I told him that I was an IV user of meth. He told me it was okay, that he was too, and that he loved me.
That acceptance that I felt at the moment meant more to me than anything. I got high with my dad; I didn’t think anything of it. It felt normal like that’s the way it was meant to be. I never would’ve guessed that would have happened, but I felt like I wasn’t the black sheep of the family anymore.
My life continued to spiral down, the feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness continued to worsen. I stole a car and left town. I drove up to the city where I had met that woman in the hospital. I called her and told her that I was there, and I had nothing and no one. She told me to hold on; she had to talk to her husband. They would’ve never normally let some stranger, let along drug user into their home. They prayed about it and felt it heavy on their hearts that I needed them and they were supposed to help me.
For the next 3 weeks, I did not use. I went to church, had family dinner and movie nights with them. It was an amazing feeling, but I felt that I was being fake. I felt like it wasn’t the real me. -Alex
One of my friends that I ran with got a hold of me and told me he was coming to Tulsa, and that his mom lived there. I begged them to let me go hang out with him. I swore to them that I wasn’t going to get high, and against their judgment they let me go.
I got away with it the first couple of times, but the guilt ate me alive.
I went to the hotel and did not go back to their house for a week. Finally, the guy and all the kids showed up to the hotel with my stuff. The woman couldn’t come; it was too hard on her. They all told me they loved me, that I would always have a home with them, but I could not come back until I got help. They gave me a piece of paper with three phone numbers on it.
I went on for quite a while getting drunk and high. One day, I was in a hotel room sitting in front of the mirror trying to find a vein where I could hit myself. When I looked up into the mirror, I had no idea who the person was looking back on me. I honestly felt like it was not fair for me to be breathing your oxygen. I didn’t even deserve to be living at all. In the mirror, I saw the skeleton of what was supposed to be a person, and saw absolutely nothing but utter disgust, guilt, and shame.
Later that day, I pulled out the list while my friend was in Walgreens doing his shot. I was crying, scared, and the drugs had stopped taking all the pain away a long time ago. I called the phone number and told the person on the other end that I wanted to die, and I did not know what to do. They said it was okay and that they were there to help.
I Didn’t Even Really Know What Detox or Rehab or AA Meant
An hour later I was on a plane from Oklahoma to Florida.
I had no idea what rehab, detox, or AA was. My whole life was about to change from just one phone call. -Alex
It was hard for me in the beginning. I cried myself to sleep a lot and had terrible nightmares. I had no idea what I was doing here, and honestly, I didn’t know if staying sober was what I wanted.
All I knew is that I didn’t want to keep living my life the way I was. I was so worn down and tired that I wanted to stop running. All I had ever done was run my whole life.
Deciding to stay here in Florida saved my life. After I worked the 12 Steps of AA, I learned so much about myself and life. I realized that my mom and dad were just sick, just like me. That they did love me and that none of it was my fault. I learned how to work through all those things that had happened to me in the past that I had been running from. I realized that I am not worthless that I do have a purpose in life. -Alex
I Took My Life Back From Drugs & Alcohol
Today, I still have not spoken to or seen my daughter, but I also have faith that as long as I continue to do the next right thing, and trust in my higher power, that everything will work out exactly how it is supposed to. My family talks to me today, which means so much to me. They tell me how much they love me and how proud of me they are.
I am comfortable in my own skin today, and I love the woman I am becoming. I know that my life has value and that I can turn all my mistakes into a message that hopefully gives someone hope. For me, rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I am building my future. The day that my new life began was March 3rd, 2015. I have 506 days clean and sober.