Who would've ever thought someone like me would end up doing drugs. I came from a really good family. My mom and dad loved me so much. I did really well in school. I made straight A's. I was a perfectionist. You couldn't get me to miss a day of school. I was even a Girl Scout for 11 years.
When I was in junior high I started hanging out with people from my neighborhood. They were smoking cigarettes. I honestly thought it was cool. My parents were smokers so it was something I'd grown up around. And then I started drinking and thought it was really fun. I was about 14 years old when I started drinking and going to parties. I was just having fun with it at first. In school I'd heard about what drugs did to you, what it did to your body and the harm that it could have on your school work. But the fun outweighed the consequences that they tried to warn us about. I didn't really think too much about what I was doing. I was just doing it to be like the rest of the kids and have fun. By my freshman year in high school partying became more important than school and so my grades started to drop. I was introduced to marijuana. I started ditching school to hang out with my friends, smoke, drink and get high.
There was a guy in high school that I really liked and he smoked pot. I thought he was really cool and so I thought that if I smoked pot maybe he would like me. And so I started smoking pot with him. He would ask me to ditch school. I thought, "Yeah, this is cool and I have this under control. I'm not a stoner like all the rest of the people who smoke pot." I just did it once in awhile. At first it was just on Friday night and then it became Saturday night, too. And then I was doing it Sunday night, instead of doing my homework. I didn't really notice that my grades were slipping, but they were. I thought that everything was going good until the report cards came in. But by that time, I didn't really care. I just wanted to keep smoking pot and so I did. That whole summer was filled with nothing but partying.
I had always really wanted to graduate from high school. That was my big goal but that goal was lost with the marijuana use. All I wanted to do now was get high. I lost interest in everything I used to care about. I couldn't just go to the mall or go shopping anymore. I had to be high when I did anything or went anywhere. Nothing was fun anymore if I wasn't high.
The summer going into my sophomore year, I was at a party and I was having fun. I didn't want to leave. I was extremely wasted and ended up being gang raped by seven guys. I had a boyfriend whom I had dated for a year and a half and they knew it but it didn't stop them. I wasn't going to just lay there and let them have what they wanted, so they hurt me pretty bad. I was severely beaten. I had broken bones. For the first few days afterwards I tried to play it off like it didn't really happen. I hid it, trying to be really happy. I didn't tell anybody. Two days later, I broke down. I sobbed for two days straight. I couldn't talk or eat. I told my parents what happened to me. They got the police involved, so I had to go through medical exams, talking about it and having to re-live it. After that, I became so depressed. I was angry at the world. All I wanted to do was sleep and cry. I thought it was all my fault. I didn't really know how to cope with life anymore. I just wanted to give up. I tried killing myself a couple of times. Mom and Dad got in the way, so I hated them for that. My world just fell into pieces. I couldn't get out of bed. I had to change high schools. I tried to go to school, but I couldn't stay focused. I would just wig out on people for no reason. They would say one wrong word to me, a word that maybe one of those guys said to me, and I would freak out. I wanted to numb myself in any way I could. The drinking and the marijuana use just wasn't enough anymore.
Three months after being raped, I was introduced to methamphetamine. The first time I used it, I was hooked. I thought it was the answer to all my problems. I didn't have those terrible nightmares anymore when I slept. I didn't have to keep reliving the tragedy that I went through. I didn't have to feel. I didn't have to deal with anything that I was going through. I thought that I felt really good about myself. I was losing weight. I loved it. I felt I had a sense of meaning. I was able to talk to people when I was on meth. Because of my rape I was so afraid of everything. Meth brought kind of brought me out of my shell. I was able to interact and I thought be Meaghan again. It was all a lie. It led me to an every day all day addiction. So for nine months straight, I used it all day, every day, every night. By this time, I had completely stopped going to school. I just wanted to get high. I began stealing to support my habit. I stole thousands of dollars from my family.
Meth now controlled me, my behavior and my actions. It controlled everything about me. It wasn't just a matter of doing it one night and then being done. My body physically needed it. I lived for each high.
My drug use made me lose all sense of Meaghan. I lost my identity. I didn't know who I was anymore. I didn't know what I liked or what I didn't like, or what I wanted. Drugs took my family from me. It took my education. I wasn't able to graduate or do anything that normal high school kids get to do like go to dances, football games or anything like that. I lost all my ambitions, my goals and my dreams. It took my sense of purpose in life I was so lost, confused, and hurt. I just wanted to give up on life.
I was 18 years old, working to try to support my habit. I was not going to school and I was on probation. I was being tested for drugs three times a week. I got arrested on the job. I was a cashier at a grocery store and was arrested in front of all my co workers. Sitting in the back of that cop car, I thought, "Man, you're a mess. What have you done? Look at yourself." And so I started to really think about what had led to this point in my life. When I was booked into my jail cell I fell on the ground sobbing. "What do I do to get out of this? How do I stop?" I needed help. I hated the way my life was going. I had no control anymore. In jail I didn't have access to the drugs so I was going through withdrawals. It was a hard disgusting experience. I'd been in and out of programs through the system, but I never really wanted to change. But here I was with this need, this desire to change, but nobody to help me. And so, I called out to God, "Help me!" I went to court and they said, "You're going to do six months in jail." I begged them for a program, for help. I called my parents who wanted nothing to do with me at this point. They had heard about Teen Challenge through a co worker. I asked to be court ordered to Teen Challenge because I knew that I couldn't do it on my own anymore.
When I went into Teen Challenge, I was broken, hurt, lost and confused. But the people in Teen Challenge were so happy and joyful, and I wanted that. I wanted to be happy. They weren't craving the drugs anymore and that's what I wanted. The love of God filled me with a sense of purpose. I had been trying to find acceptance and love, and there it was. Through Teen Challenge, and through God's love for me I've been able to learn how to love myself and know what I want to do with my life now, and where I want to go. I know how to love other people today, and accept other people. Teen Challenge has done so much for me.
I want to go back to school and get an education. That's what I really want, and I'm going to do it. I want to be able to give back and help other kids who are going through what I went through. I mean, I was there. Who else better to tell them, "Drugs take you down a road that you really don't want to travel, nothing but darkness and bondage. It has nothing for you but hurt and pain. You are so controlled by it. You don't want to have to go through the consequences, the withdrawals. You have so much to look forward to in life and drugs take you backwards. So I encourage you to look at what you already have. You have so much to be grateful for. Do things that you're interested in doing. Drugs are not the answer to your problems."