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The Moment I Hit Rock Bottom

February 17, 2013

                                                                Amy 2012                                                                                                                                            What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

One day I went to the cupboard to find something to eat and found a small bag of rice with less then a cup of rice in it.  There was no canned food, no condiments, nothing in the stained, dirty, fridge, empty, crusty ice cube trays in the freezer.  I called my mother and asked for her help.  I needed to leave that apartment on Walnut Avenue and I had to act fast.

It was late January of 2011.  I weighed about 90-95 pounds.  I was in methadone treatment but still using, especially crack because the methadone was blocking the heroin and I could not get high from it.  Crack, on the other hand, could get me high.  I was slowly dying.  I was starving to death as well as killing myself with drugs.  I had reached rock bottom and reluctantly called my mother to help  get me out of there.

My mother helped me rent a beautiful, cheap one bedroom apartment in Youngstown, New York, just ten minutes or so outside of Niagara Falls, New York were I was living.  I had very little to move into there, just clothes a few kitchen items but no furniture, TVs, electronics, nothing.  I had nothing.  I recieved the keys on January 25, 2011 and loaded my car quietly well my boyfriend and his sister were asleep.  I drove to Youngstown, went to the door of my new apartment, put the key in and turned the knob.  I slowly opened the door and a smile immediately engulfed my face.  I stood in the doorway taking in the bright glow of the white walls, the sun shining through the sliding glass doors that separated the outdoor patio from the living room.

I ran into the room and twirled around like a school girl.  Dropping to the floor on my knees I raised my head to the ceiling and closed my eyes.  I thanked God over and over in my head.  Next I threw myself down in the middle of the empty living room and pretended I was in snow making a snow angel in the thick tan carpeting.  My smile was ear to ear as i flapped my arms and legs making imaginary snow angels.

I jumped up and went into the gigantic bedroom with a walk in closet and another closet that ran the length of the wall.  I was so happy, so overjoyed, I was being given a second chance to reclaim my life and fight my disease of addiction.

I eventually received some chairs and end tables, an old kitchen table with chairs, coffee maker, a few dishes, some silverware, some dressers.  It was a start and I was so happy.  Except for one missing thing, Harry, my soul mate.

Harry was left behind, in the lion’s den so to speak.  I left him behind and as happy as I was to escape that hell, I was overwhelmed with guilt that I had left him behind.  He had his own struggle though.  He could not just leave because of his sister, she was unable to care for herself engulfed in the torments of addiction herself.  Harry was torn, leave her to potentially die from an overdose or from withdraw or escape to Youngstown with me and recover.

Harry stayed with his sister for awhile.  He would come to my house to escape the hell he was living in.  Essentially he was living in two worlds, one of peace and free from drugs and the other a world of extreme poverty, dingy apartment with no food, dirty needles everywhere and the smell of vomit emanating from every corner of the apartment.

Harry was trapped, he could not leave his sister, she would surely die.  Then it happened, she overdosed and was sent to the hospital, crisis services were contacted.  Harry came to Youngstown and did not leave. He would visit his sister only to have her ask him to slip her something, which he did here and there. When he decided he was not helping her he told her he would not do it anymore he was unaware others were doing it for her too.

Harry learned that he could not control anyone else but himself.  He knew he had to save himself.  The only way to do that was to avoid putting himself in the crisis and chaos surrounding his family.  He did not cut them out completely, he just visited and limited his contact with them.

We began to build a beautiful life for ourselves over the next year and a half.  To some, mostly other addicts, it seemed a boring life from the outside.  For us it was a dream come true, shopping for ingredients for new recipes, making homemade bread, soups, and deserts.  We went to garage sales, and to estate sales.  We recovered together.

I loved my new life.  I was in love, I had my children back and I was maintaining a comfortable life within a budget for the first time in my life.  We lived in a routine, not strictly adhered to but a basic way of life.  I was obsessed with recovery though.  I tried vigilantly to get Harry to follow in my footsteps and join NA.  He would occasionally go, he would listen as I chattered on about the steps and my recovery.  He went to family sessions at the methadone clinic with me.

I ignored Harry’s needs, what worked for him was not my program of recovery.  What worked for him was his own which did not include a multitude of meetings and step work.  I tried endlessly to force the steps and principles of NA down his throat.  He continued to do what worked for him and sat idly by watching my obsession with recovery grow.  We did not know that disaster loomed in the near future.

In the spring of 2012 I felt superior.  I knew it all, had all the answers, I was running groups and sponsoring newcomers.  I was warned by many that I was doing to much and not enough real work.  I was not applying the steps and principles to my life.  I was completing a step and giving myself a check mark or a gold star.  Then I would move to the next step, like homework.

I began to burn out.  I thought I had all the knowledge, I stopped calling people and answering the phone.  I stopped going to meetings.  Harry watched in horror as I became more and more irritable and depressed.  If he tried to talk to me about it a fight ensued and I blamed him. He was powerless.

I weened myself off of methadone.  I felt I could stay clean on my own.  I did not think I needed anyone or anything.  Within days of coming off methadone, in May of 2012, I relapsed, Harry packed his bags and left.  I was alone, depressed, disgusted with myself and did what I knew would get rid of the pain, I got high.  I locked myself in my bedroom.  I did not come out until September 27, 2012, my first day at a methadone clinic in Buffalo.

It took over a week before I quit heroin.  I did it though, I tried to stay positive and write my gratitude list everyday.  I could not be complete though, my other half was missing.  I had not heard from Harry for months.  I tried to focus on staying clean, living clean and taking care of my kids.  I thought about him everyday but he had told me, he could not watch me hurt myself when I relapsed.  He loved me too much to watch me do it myself again.

The best I could do was take care of myself and my kids.  Which is what I did.  I missed him terribly, I tried to forget him but I could not, he is part of me.  Harry is the reason I believe in soul mates.  He is the reason I believe in true love.  I know he had to leave, I know why he did, not only because he could not watch me slowly kill myself with drugs but because he did not want to be triggered into using again.  I understood and I was prepared for whatever God had in store for us.

In December 2012 with about two months clean I was given a gift that to this day I will never take advantage of again.  Harry came home.  I still thank God every morning when I look at him sleeping next to me, I write it in my gratitude list daily, I feel so blessed to have him back in my life.  I try not to take it fro granted, Harry is a gift.  He is compassionate, funny, caring, smart, amazing and so much more.

To make it even better God removed the memories of bitter jealousy, the terrible fights all the awful experiences we had in active addiction.  It is not that I do not remember, I do it is that I do not dwell on those things from the past.  The only explanation I can think of is God helped lift those obsessive thoughts associated with those memories.  We have been given a fresh start and a new beginning

I do not stuff NA things down his throat either.  What works for him and what works for me are very different, the importance is that we have  working programs of recovery that keep us clean and help us heal.  We have much to be grateful for and a wonderful story to share.  Two romantically involved addicts can recover together but it takes hard work and respect for each other’s programs of recovery.


From → My Story

  1. I’m sorry to hear of your relapse. How are you doing these days?


    • I’m doing much better. I take things one day at a time, trying to love life in the moment and limit stress. I love my writing and feel like I might be able to help someone if I tell my story. God or some Higher Power saved me for a reason, I think it’s to share my experiences and hopefully help someone in the process. How are you doing? What’s been going on with you?


      • I’m doing well. I’m learning to find stability and to know joy in my now and not long for where I’d like myself to be.


      • My advice is to live in the now, find joy in today, learn to do that and don’t worry about the past or the future!


  2. Penny Hartman permalink

    Amy you are an amazing person that is always willing to fight the bad and come out being on top.


    • Thank you Penny, I’m hoping I can get this blog up and going. I am currently working on a few ideas for a new novel as well as my life story. I’m using some techniques to help organize characters and I’m developing storyboards to organize the ideas. I’m actually going to buy a microphone and try to figure out how to activate the voice thingy on my Microsoft word, problem is it’s a starter program, I haven’t bought it yet so i don’t think it has that feature. I’m going to buy the office suite though but for now starter will have to do. Once I’ve activated the microphone and voice recognition feature I’ll be able to get way more work done because I cannot type for long periods because of my neck injury. Anyway I then did some research on E=books and self-publishing, I think I’m going to take this route with the “30 Days of Sobriety” I wrote last year. If I publish it as an E-book and it picks up I can then publish it as a hard copy. I’m also working on articles to submit to newspapers an magazines, basically I’m building a portfolio. My prize novel, “The Silo” is the book I really want to publish but I’m saving it until I get some other work published and see how the industry works ya know! Anyway have a great Monday! Thanks so much for the encouragement, I need all the help I can get!


  3. He’s gone, it was not meant to be, no matter how badly I wanted it. It was not what God wanted for me. I am ok with that, I am happy, I love life, I love my kids, my friends and life is really good. I have no business being involved with another addict, recovering, not recovering whatever…I need to learn how to love myself and get to know myself. I’m ready and I’m excited!


  4. Love reading your story. I’m almost 1 year sober. I just recently joined word press to start blogging myself. I have been rescued from so much and have so much to say and no real outlet. I will continue to follow your story and pray into your life.


    • Thank you as I will yours! It is a difficult journey…well worth it though! Ever see the movie “Trainspotting”? Well it triggers me now but I love the soundtrack….and I choose life, like Renton does in the end!


  5. helnbak permalink

    Trainspotting is a very romantisised version of the book which is grittier and more real, I would recommend it. I can really relate to your story, i left my partner in the city 600 miles away to get well in a residential detox centre. It’s hard but it has to be done as we can’t do it together, not at the moment, but I do worry about hiim everyday and hate that he is suffering. It’s great to read your blog, it gives me some encouragement and is interesting to hear other peoples perspective on things.


    • Trainspotting was first introduced to me by my mother and grandmother who were into the foreign films and indy movies. I was about 20 years old at the time and was in no way involved with hard drugs. You are right though, that movie romanticized the idea of heroin addiction. I still have trouble watching it.


  6. helnbak permalink

    The book might put you off again, it’s much more realistic and pretty grim, in the film they even changed the ending – in the book he runs off with the money and doesn’t give a shit about any of his mates! hey ho, that’s the movies for you.


    • I just watched it and the ending is the same, he grabs the bag of money and leaves, he turns at the door and looks down at Spud and Spud shakes his head “no” with those classic silly wide eyed look. Rent didn’t hesitate, he walks out the door and then crosses a bridge narrating the whole thing, and I’m paraphrasing but he said something like, “I felt bad for Spud, he never did nothing to me, but I didn’t give a shit about the rest of them, I had ripped off my mates……I’m excited and off to live my life, this time I choose life,” and then the credits roll up


      • here’s a clip from the end scene of him justifying it and bebbie trashing the room and the cops get called

        watch it to the end and he explains why he did it, “cuz I’m a bad person….I’m moving on and choosen life…I’M GONNA BE JUST LIKE YOU!”


      • helnbak permalink

        In the cinema version over here he hides the money in a locker and spud finds it later on when the rest of them have given up 🙂 maybe they cut that out sometimes. It made the ending a bit more cheery but not what irvine welsh wrote. The book is all written in Glaswegian, you end up hearing a scottish accent in your head after a while!


      • I love it when that happens! I actually read it outloud if it sounds cool. My kids are used to my unique behavior so if they were to walk by me doing something like that they would shake their head and keep walking lol!


  7. My family members every time say that I am wasting my time here at net,
    however I know I am getting experience daily by reading thes fastidious content.

    Liked by 1 person

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