Now or Never

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Hitting rock bottom was the worst experience of my life. I was homeless, reckless, and desperate. Add all that up and throw in crack addiction, and you’ve got yourself a deadly combination.

By the time I was 25, I had lost complete track of my mother. I remember one night she never came back home, but I had Todd, so I didn’t care. But with Todd gone, my mother was the only person left who could understand my addiction. She would know that the only cure was more drugs.

I asked Ray, a meth dealer, if he’d seen her lately. “Kat? Chick with the banana tattoo? Yeah, man. I saw the ambulance carting her off a few months ago. She was messed up, man.” He shook his head and chuckled. “Real messed up.”

I later found out that she was taken to the Dupont emergency room, about thirty minutes from her house. I wanted so badly to go to the hospital and inquire about her, but I couldn’t.

I tried several times and I could never bring myself to go in there. To this day, it eats at me, not knowing what happened to my mom. If she was alive or dead.

After hearing what Ray said, all I could picture was my mom tweaking. Shaking uncontrollably, desperate for another hit. That image scared me half to death. I was on the exact same path she was. I was headed down that same road.

I literally could not look myself in the mirror. I didn’t recognize me anymore. Who was this tattered, dirty addict claiming to be me?

I finally had had enough. I cleaned up as much as I could in a gas station bathroom and walked to Grandma’s house.

I felt strong as I walked up the steps and knocked on the door, but when she opened it, I broke down in tears. Except for the beautiful streaks of gray in her hair, Grandma didn’t seem to age at all. There was one major difference, however. The look of horror on her face ripped through my heart. I haven’t even opened my mouth and I know I was already disappointing her. Somehow she immediately recognized me.

She bent down and wrapped her arms around me. She kept saying “Shhh,” as she rubbed her hand up and down my back. I smelled awful and I was sure she could tell, but it didn’t phase her any. She continued to hold me as I cried in her arms.

That night we spent hours discussing the last decade of my life. She said she was proud of me for realizing that I needed a change. Proud of me? After everything I’ve done?

She grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper and handed it to me. She told me to write down what I wanted out of life. What would make me happy. Where I wanted to live. The life I wanted to lead. I did as I was told.

Then she told me to cross out everything that I would not be able to have if I continued my addiction. After I finished, nearly everything on my list was crossed out.

She instructed me to rewrite my list on the back of the paper. “We won’t be crossing anything out this time. This is everything that you are going to achieve.”

That was the moment when I vowed to overcome my addiction and be who I was meant to be.

With Grandma by my side, I went down to the Indiana Center for Recovery. I began treatment immediately. We worked through the 12-step program and I got regular visits from Grandma. I made several lifetime friends and we all helped each other reach recovery.

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