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My story begins around the age of five. My mother and father were fighting. I remember him just repeatedly hitting her with closed fist and kicking her. It was terrible. She asked me to call the police so as I tried to call 911 my father slung me into the counter. I awoke in an ambulance blood all over me and an ice pop on my forehead.

My parents separated and me and my younger brother lived with my mom. At the age of six, I huffed spray paint out of a brown paper bag. My mother and two aunts caught us. At the age of ten, I remember my father holding a shot gun to his mouth wanting to die. The only thing that would stop him was to get my mother back. Me and my brother obviously were not worth him living for.

We grew up in a small country town in Cecil County. My mother could no longer afford the bills on her own, so we moved to a low income neighborhood. I was separated from my best friend, Lisa that year. There my mother began smoking crack and became pregnant again. I remember her and her friend locking themselves in a room and me and her friend’s son tapping the ceiling with broom handles. I also remember chasing drug dealers out of my house and all the so called friends. My mother started letting herself, the house, and us go. She did no acknowledge us mentally. She was not there for us emotionally. I lost a lot of respect for her.

I smoked pot, began drinking and hanging with my older cousin and staying at her house and doing what she did. At eleven I also took my first hit of crack. I thought all this was cool. I looked for acceptance and I fit in with her and her crew if I did as they did. My other cousin began molesting me and at one time he raped me but I thought it was okay. I ended up in foster care at fourteen and then back and forth between my father and other relatives. I felt nobody loved me and I wasn’t wanted, but through all this I loved my mom and the love she once showed me stuck with me.

Well, I was out of control. I ended up going to a group home, then Hagerstown, then Annapolis, then Baltimore, back to Rising Sun, to some friends and back to my mom’s. I learned to hustle crack. I drank, smoked crack, and used Heroin. I watched two guys get shot and killed in front of me. I made trips to get drugs before my NA meetings. At 17 my friend overdosed and died. I decided I was not going to use anymore so I began to take drug classes but continued to do Heroin and smoke crack.

After the birth of my daughter, Elizabeth, I went to visit my mom and aunt but still continued to do Heroin, drink and smoke crack. My friend Lisa and my daughter’s father were killed in a car accident and 2 months later my cousin was stabbed to death. I had lost everyone close to me. Eventually I left my daughter with my mom. I did not feel worthy of her love. I began prostituting. I forgot who I was, where I came from, and who my family was. All that mattered was another hit of crack and other bottle.

I was in jail several times but it didn’t change my drinking, drugging, manipulating, and prostituting. I ended up with lots of charges. I came home once again and stayed clean for two weeks. I attempted to go to NA meetings however, the truth hurt. I know I was addicted but I felt there was no hope. I missed the streets and the fast life. I was accepted by these people and I felt loved. I felt they needed me. I supported them and they needed me to survive. This went on until April 2009 when I had had enough. I looked in the mirror and I looked like crap. I asked God for strength. I went to drug court and was sent to the county detention center. While there, I heard a speaker at the NA meeting that I could really relate to. I saw hope. I asked the drug court to send me to drug rehabilitation. I went to the Whit’Sitt center for 28 days where I heard about Peaceful Waters. I grew a lot in those 28 days. I moved into Peaceful Waters and found it a loving house that I call home. I’m rebuilding my self worth. I see hope every day and I have not picked up since April 27, 2009. I attend meetings daily and I have found God again. I see the future and I have hope. Every day I hear words of encouragement. I have a purpose. I have another chance and I will not die today using. This house has structure. I never had people of stories like mine and we work together in recovery. We encourage and confide in one another. We are safe and secure. We have found a new way of life, and trust in our higher power. Just for today I will continue respecting my addiction and remember where I never want to be again.