Pubdate: Thu, 01 Dec 2005
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Section: Lifestyle & Arts
Copyright: 2005 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Bookmark: (Youth)


I am currently incarcerated at the Aroostook County Jail. I am being 
held on the charge of possession of scheduled drugs, a Class C felony.

At the age of 13, I began smoking marijuana and drinking 
occasionally. I was hanging around with older people, mostly men, and 
putting myself in situations that no young teen should be in.

At 15, I got pregnant with my first daughter and stopped my drug use 
completely. Soon after she was born, though, I started using opiates. 
It wasn't long before I was hooked. I started to forget what was 
really important in my life.

As my addiction progressed and my tolerance got higher, I started 
stealing from people - cash, checks, electronics - and doing whatever 
it took to get my fix.

My second daughter was born shortly after I turned 18. At this time 
in my life, nothing much mattered to me besides getting high. I was 
sick, not eating and not getting proper sleep. I looked like I was 
ready to die, and I felt like it, too.

Although during this time my kids were clothed, fed, and had a roof 
over their heads, I was not giving them the love, attention, and 
guidance that every child needs.

In 2003, I lost a close friend to suicide due to his drug addiction. 
Most people would look at this as an eye-opener, but for me, it was 
an excuse to use more drugs. I started using needles and stopped 
caring about everything except my drugs. I had lost control and lost myself.

DHS got involved in my life and my children went into state custody. 
Luckily, they were placed with my mother, for whom I am so thankful. 
If it wasn't for her, I don't know where my kids or I would be right 
now. The loss of my children, being evicted from my apartment, and 
losing the trust of my loved ones - it was all just another excuse 
for me to use more. I figured I had nothing left - why clean up?

Since then I have been in jail nine times and have made several 
attempts at completing inpatient rehabilitation. In 2004, I spent 
31/2 months in rehab and got kicked out for using drugs. Three days 
later, I was arrested again for theft and forgery and spent six 
months locked up. I was released in November and thought I was ready 
to face the world. I went home to my kids, but nothing about my life 
had changed. I had no job, no place of my own, and the same friends. 
After a month or so, I was right back where I had been a year 
earlier, sticking a needle in my arm.

In February 2005 I hooked up with an old friend and we became very 
close, but we were using heavily together. At this point, my drug use 
was worse than ever. I lost 30 pounds in the course of about a month, 
I was drifting away from my children again and I didn't even see it happening.

In April my boyfriend and I both were arrested for possession of 
heroin. He was released to a drug monitoring program in June and 
shortly after died of an overdose. I spent the month of September in 
a 28-day rehab, which I completed, but had to return directly to jail 
afterwards. I am now waiting to be sentenced in December.

I am 21 years old now. Out of the last two years, I have spent a year 
in and out of jail. I've missed birthdays and holidays and have 
watched so many people die because of drug addiction. I can fit 
everything I own in two suitcases. I can honestly say that this is 
not where I thought I'd be at 21.

I had forgotten what I set out to do, what life was really about, and 
most importantly, who I was. I don't want my kids growing up to hear 
that their mom is a junkie, a thief and a bad mother. I want them to 
be proud of me and look up to me.

It kills me to think of how I have hurt the people I love, but I have 
to keep telling myself it will only get better from here. I have a 
chance that some people will never again have and I plan on taking 
full advantage of it.

For so long I was worried about what people would think of me if I 
actually told the truth about my addiction, but the only thing that 
matters to me now is a good, healthy relationship with myself, my 
kids, and my family and friends. This is my chance to make that happen.

I may have another high in me, but I'm not so sure I have another recovery.

Please join our weekly conversation about Maine's substance abuse 
problem. Mail your comments or questions to Finding a Fix, Bangor 
Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04401. Comments also may be phoned 
to the column response line, (207) 990-8111 or emailed to  You may choose to remain anonymous 
or to have your name used. If you need help getting your thoughts 
down on paper, column editor Meg Haskell will be happy to work with 
you. Call Meg at (207) 990-8291 or toll-free at (800)432-7964, or 
email her at  ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman