their stories


samantha

As a child, my mom's boyfriend physically and verbally abused me. Both me and my sister went through it because we weren't his kids. I cried out to my mom and she didn't believe me. She was with her boyfriend and took his side over mine and my sister's.

I didn't have a stable family and there was no love. My mom was on methamphetamine, so she really didn't pay attention to us. My parents split up when I was 2 years old and I lived with my mom until the age of 10.

When I was 10, I made a collect call to my grandma. I said, "Grandma, I don't want to be here anymore. I'm tired of this. I don't want to continue to be abused by this man anymore." I begged her to bring my sister too, but we couldn't because they wouldn't sign over parental rights. Six months after I left, Child Protective Services took her away because she went to school one day with a black eye.

I went to live with my grandma and I was really rebellious. I didn't listen, was disobedient and I didn't understand what my grandma was trying to teach me. I did my own thing, lived my own life and grew up too fast. I didn't have a normal childhood.

By the time I was 17, I wasn't using meth just to cope, but it became a necessity. I had to have it to live and to function.

I began drinking and using drugs in the 8th grade. I went to a Halloween party and I had my first drink of alcohol and smoked marijuana for the first time. That opened the door to my drug use. I was a pretty good student and made good grades, but I lost my focus in the 10th grade.

I used methamphetamine for the first time in the 10th grade. I snorted a line and it wasn't until I was 17 that I started smoking it. That's when my life completely changed. I had been hooked from the first time I had smoked it and it became an every day thing.

Meth took a lot of my past pain away and I used it to cope. I was a different person when I was high. I didn't care about anything or let anything get me down. When I would party, I felt that I fit in with people and was having fun. But, in reality, it just became an addiction.

By the time I was 17, I wasn't using meth just to cope, but it became a necessity. I had to have it to live and to function. My body became immune and I had to have more and more daily to get high.

Addiction takes over your life and makes you do the unthinkable. It makes you do things you never thought you would do. It completely changed who I was. I didn't have morals anymore. Methamphetamine completely took over my life and controlled my every thought, my every decision, and my every move. I've done a lot of things that I regret.

Methamphetamine completely took over my life and controlled my every thought, my every decision, and my every move.

Drugs have taken everything from me. They've taken my family, my freedom, and everything that was good in my life. They've only added hurt and shame and that's not something I would like to live with.

The worst day of my life on drugs was when I tried to commit suicide. I was alone and I had been smoking too much. Something told me to end it and to kill myself. I had a knife and I was so high that I fell asleep with the knife next to my side. I woke up about four hours later with the knife pressed against my side. That's when I knew I wanted help.

I didn't know how I could do it because meth had been controlling me. It was saying, "I'm not gonna let you go. You're a prisoner forever." I wanted to end my life. That's how much power the addiction had over me.

The turning point came when two people that I was using with were gonna get help at Teen Challenge. I rode along with them, but I wasn't aware that I was gonna get help that day. I basically surrendered and said, "I want help."

I wanted to end my life. That's how much power the addiction had over me.

I filled out an application and was interviewed. I said, "I want help. I want to end this. I can't do it by myself. I need a push. I need something to live for. This can't be all my life is." The interviewer said, "Teen Challenge sounds like the best thing for you."

I was scared because I hadn't heard of the program before. I didn't know what it was about. I went in with nothing. I only had the shoes on my feet, the clothes on my back and a purse. I had a knife, paraphernalia, some meth and lighters on me and I gave it all up before I walked into the door.

When I went in, I hadn't been clean for 24 hours so my body was still coming down and weaning off the drug. I slept in the first day and on the third day I actually wanted to leave because I felt like I didn't understand the program.

I finally surrendered and said, "You know what? I have a bed to sleep in, a blanket to cover me, I can take a shower, I eat three meals and I'm taken care of." Basically, I like the program and I now have a positive attitude. There could be another girl taking my place, but I'm here.

Physically, I hadn't lived nice, but now I'm as beautiful as can be. Mentally, my mind has come back to the right place and for the right things. I'm just so blessed.

I hope to be able to help girls that are going through the same things that I went through. I know I can be a help to them. If I can do it, they can do it. If God can change me, God can change anybody. I want to live a good life with a purpose and I now feel like I have a purpose.

Teen Challenge is the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Teen Challenge is the best thing that's ever happened to me.

If I could go back, I would prioritize and put school first before anything. I would also have a good relationship with my parents or my caretakers. I wouldn't take that first drink or smoke that first weed joint. Those are gateway drugs that lead to bigger and worse drugs. I would do a lot of things differently. I wouldn't hang out with the wrong crowd. I would rather be lonely than try and fit in with the wrong people.

You shouldn't care about what other people think about you. You should care that you're living your life without drugs, have a sense of who you are and know that you're a good person. Once you get into drugs, you're not a person anymore; you're a prisoner of drugs. It's not worth doing drugs because it ends up being a long life of pain and hurt.