Where I am does not define who I am

Since I was 14 years old, I have battled with addiction — sometimes things would get so bad for me that the only escape would be to numb my brain with alcohol or whatever street corner drug that was readily available.

Like millions of other people I drowned and injected my sorrows. Drugs made me happy. They created the false hope I desperately needed to cope. It sickens me at the thought that my son will be 18 this year and I can’t even tell you what his voice sounds like. … Or the fact I have three other children and by some glimmer of hope my youngest, being only 1, will even know me a few months from now. With that said, I should probably state the fact that I’m currently incarcerated on my third prison number. … but please don’t let where I am allow you to pass judgement on who I am, because I am human just like you, and there is no excuse for a person to stick a needle in their arm or drink themself into a coma — but I did — everyday. I could tell you each story and each reason that ultimately ended in relapse but that would be a really long book. The point is there was nowhere to turn when I was sober on the edge of wanting that high that took away that pain I was living in at that moment of time. The argument would be that there are N.A. and A.A. meetings in close vicinity to run to, but no one ever thought what was one’s go-to for prevention was another’s trigger. I used to think that it didn’t matter how many times I got sober that like always being labeled an addict, I’ll be an addict. It didn’t make a difference how many times I went in front of a judge and begged for help, I was told I was a lost cause. Key word “was” because now I’m just sick of the life that adults my age in the area seem to think is living. It’s not. This is no life to live. It’s sad that I’m in a place that I never thought I would ever end up in agian. I’m sure I’m not the only one either. So, what’s the problem? What can be done to fight the epidemic? Why am I crying out for help and nobody hearing me? If prison was a solution for an addict I guess there would be no recidivism rate. There is no reformatory here, my fight comes from within, and it’s an uphill battle in here everyday for those in here that wear their addiction on their sleeve. This time around made me truly despise drugs like you wouldn’t believe. It’s crazy that I let something so small destroy my life. I just hope I make it out of here soon to rebuild myself from the ground up. Instead of becoming a shell of a woman like others around me that have sat here to be forgotten by their children, to lose hope that there can be something on the other side of that fence besides the same old road. If I could come up with a magic potion that would bring my friends that I’ve lost back to life; that would take away the reason we addicts use; that would put our life back in order; to make all the wrongs right; I would, but I can’t — it doesn’t exist. I wonder if I went all Joyce Meyer on the town if people would listen. Maybe if more voices were heard based on experience instead of criticism that one or possibly even two people would stop to listen — to re-evaluate themselves and realize the hole they’re digging will fill back up with dirt over time if they quit digging. Not a very good metaphor, but I don’t know how else to put it. It doesn’t take rocket science to see who needs help … I read the Marietta Times every single day, I see the same names repeatedly, alot of the names I know on a personal level. They’re good people with a bad problem. We need help. Prison isn’t help. The family outside the gates suffer more than the inmate. Funny thing, I’ve never been to rehab, never even got close; the closest I got was an outpatient suboxone clinic. I signed into that facility myself. I did it on my own for once, I had other addicts looking at me in disbelief. I had finally put the needle down, I was doing what normal everyday people did. I even was idolized. I even got told once by a friend who is now dead from an overdose, “If you of all people can do it, anyone can.” He’s right, and here I am doing it for good. Nothing in this world can put me even close to a situation to ever keep me away from my children ever again. I can’t let myself sit back and watch my friends and family self destruct anymore though. I make it out, if I have to stand on the corner with a gigantic sign everyday I will — somebody will look, right? I don’t know what else to say or do, I’m only one person — but I’ve lived it. I know what it feels like to be at your lowest, and if I can help a few people to build their sobriety off that then I will feel more than accomplished. If we all come together on this instead of all falling apart things will change with time. All things do, but change never came well without a plan … and I have a good plan, with good intentions, but I can’t do it all by myself … but if I have to I’ll give it a good try.

A. Calvert

Marysville, Ohio

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