“I love living life on my terms.”
My name is Tamara, and I am an addict. I was not born an addict, my parents were not addicts, and I did not aspire to be an addict. It was quite the contrary. I was an only child and grew up in a middle class two-parent home. That lets me know that addiction does not discriminate based on family of origin, income status, or socioeconomic factors.
I was a straight “A” student, actively involved in church and community—girl scouts, March of Dimes, 4H, etc. Despite all of this, I still did not seem to fit in until I started experimenting with alcohol and drugs. I started drinking and smoking marijuana, occasionally, around age 16 while working part time at a local ice cream parlor. I loved the way those substances made me feel.
I went to college, graduated from Columbia State, and attended MTSU. My problem became a problem while in college, but I did not realize it, even though I stopped studying and going to class. I left college, got married, moved to Detroit, and was introduced there to crack which was the drug of the day in the 80’s and 90’s.
My addiction, which I had then started to recognize as a problem, was progressing, and my daily living skills were declining. I had two young boys that I could not care for. I could not hold a job. Therefore, I could not maintain a residence. I went to several drug and alcohol treatment programs and was introduced to 12-step recovery, but was not ready to let go of the addictive lifestyle, despite mounting negative consequences. I had abandoned my faith-walk and was consumed by the drugs—the getting and using, and finding ways and means to get more. This led to legal problems, degradation, and hopelessness.
Finally, I sincerely sought help and help was available. I got serious in seeking solutions to my problems. I started to re-develop my relationship with God, my family, and to people in recovery. It was then that my life began to change. I started working a recovery program, developed some goals, and became a better me in the process. I went back to college to finish my bachelor’s degree, got remarried, and became very active in my church and the community.
I now have a job that I love as Coordinator of a Recovery Court and also do part-time substance abuse counseling at an outpatient clinic. I make myself available to spread the message of recovery along with the miracle-working power of God through Jesus Christ. I love being a daughter, mother, wife, grandmother, cousin, and friend. I love living life on my terms. I love being happy, joyous, and free. I love living a life pleasing to God and the assurance of eternal life through Christ Jesus. Most of all, I love “me” today. As of June 20, 2019, I have 13 years clean, and I plan to continue on this recovery journey one day at a time.