their stories


melissa

My early life was filled with a lot of abuse. My mom was in a really abusive relationship. I was always an introvert. I would just watch the abuse and wouldn't do anything.

When I was 12, a guy that my mom was seeing molested me. My mom didn't believe me and sent me to a foster home. She made it seem like I was lying. Right there told me that if I couldn't trust my mom, then who could I actually put my confidence in? I felt abandoned and really hurt that she thought that I was making up the whole thing.

I started drinking because I thought it would be fun.

I grew up watching my older brothers getting involved in gangs. I didn't have a good example. Eventually, I started to turn to partying and drugs. By the age of 12, I had my first drink and by 13, I was involved with drugs.

I started drinking because I thought it would be fun. The first time was at my uncle's wedding. I began using drugs because I simply didn't care. It wasn't the fact that I wanted to fit in, because I didn't care whether I fit in or not. I would always hang around with people who were really negative because that's how I was.

I first got involved with marijuana and that eventually led to speed. Heroin came next and that became my drug of choice. I didn't feel loved or valued, especially with both parents not around. Drugs took me away from everything. They numbed the pain and anger I had built up inside of me.

My first real drug experience besides marijuana was with crystal meth. I felt like I could do or be whatever I wanted. It numbed my pain and the way I felt inside. I didn't wanna feel. I didn't know how to handle my feelings because I was never taught how. I had no clue how to do that and drugs were a way I could hide it.

Drugs took me away from everything.

The drug that I used the most was heroin. I got addicted to it more because it simply knocked me out and I wasn't awake to experience my problems. If I did, all I had to do was go and get high again. It was like living in a dream world.

One of my worst days using drugs was when I overdosed off of heroin. It took the people I was with almost an hour to get me back. Nobody wanted to take me to the hospital. I knew, around that time, that I had to change. It didn't happen until a couple of years later when I woke up from being sick every morning from wanting the drug.

I didn't get involved with gangs. I would hang around with drug dealers for drugs. They were in gangs, into gang activity, but I never got involved with that. Addiction made me steal, lie, and betray people who had trust and confidence in me. It made me into a very violent person. I had no friends after a while because I would always abuse them mentally and physically. I started hitting my mom. I was turning into a really ugly person.

Addiction made me steal, lie, and betray.

Drugs filled the void because I could turn to them. Drugs eventually took away everything. They took away my innocence, my dreams and my family. When I was a little girl, I dreamed about growing up and being a lawyer or going into the military. It took away the trust my family had in me to the point where my older brother wouldn't even talk to me.

If I were talking to a person who is thinking about using drugs, I would tell them that it's not the way to go. It may be fun at the time. It may seem like they're getting somewhere and they're on top of the world, but, in reality, it will just destroy their life and lead nowhere.

My turning point came when I realized that I didn't care how I got my drugs, whether it was walking the streets, stealing, or whatever. I felt shameful about the things I was doing. This wasn't the life that I wanted or the life that I had planned for myself.

I realized that I couldn't stop on my own and I called out to God. I knew that I didn't have the strength to do it on my own and that there must be someone out there bigger than I am to take the situation. Almost a year and a half later, I went into Teen Challenge and got myself cleaned up.

Teen Challenge has put back into my life what drugs had taken away like confidence and self-esteem. I now know that I am valued by someone, I am worth something, that I don't have to go back to that life and that I can continue to look forward.

Teen Challenge is a stepping-stone that God is using to help me...

For me, Teen Challenge is a stepping-stone that God is using to help me, even if it's just one more day of a successful drug free life.