Florence, AL

Becky: Mom and dad divorced when I was six. Looking back, I think I blamed myself for it. I met the lady that my dad was seeing. It was his secretary at work. I liked her. She let me play on her typewriter. I went home with a note from her, "You're a very cute little girl. I'm glad we had fun at the office. I hope you'll come back and see me again." I put the note in my pocket. My mom sees the note and says, "Who's Judy?" I said, "That lady daddy meets at the  office every Saturday." So, I busted dad. Dad got kicked out and it was my fault. For years I felt that way.

And for years he bought me clothes and cars and stuff because he felt the guilt. I loved my dad but he was absent. 

BW: When did you start using?

Becky: I was like 12. I was going through my older brother's stuff and I found [marijuana]. I told him, "You're gonna show me what it is, or I'm gonna tell mom." So he did. That was the way my family worked. I got what I wanted. 

My clothes were great. We lived in a nice brick house. My dad always made sure we had everything. He paid his child support. We had everything. But I never fit in. 

BW: When did drugs get to be a problem for you?

Becky: I picked up at 12. I had a child at 18. I got pregnant in high school. My son passed away 24 hours after he was born and I went running. From that day in December of '79, I don't remember anything for about four months.  I was eating quaaludes and placidyls and snorting cocaine. I was selling it too, so it was readily available. 

BW: What was your bottom like?

Becky: In '93 my dad passed away.  I had watched my dad for 18 months and held his hand as he died. My first husband had been smoking crack. He had been to treatment a couple of times. He was going to go into town on his birthday and I said, "No, you aren't going without me. I'm gonna take you and you're gonna come home." 

Before the night was over I was in the crack house with him. That lasted from October of '93 to May of '94. Lots of stealing, lots of bad checks, lost my home, lost him... My mom shows up and says, "You can live in a ditch if you want to keep smoking, but I'm taking the kids." 

They were my life...

Dad was a gun collector. I went into his house and stole three really nice pistols. My plan was to sell two of them and use the third. I sold the two pistols and I went and got a bottle of Xanax, a bottle of Crown Royal, and some crack. I got in my car, loaded the third gun and put it on the seat. I kept looking at it. I'd eat a pill, and take a shot, and smoke, and smoke, and smoke, and I couldn't get numb enough to do it. I just couldn't get to the point to where my boys would leave my mind.

It was a miserable day and miserable night and all I could do was go home. I walked in my mom's and they both looked at me. I went to the bedroom and set them down. I told them "I gotta go where dad went." They were six and eight. They said, "Finally, you're gonna go."

That was May 6th of '94. I stayed clean until August 10th of 2005.

Then... I relapsed. 

My youngest son graduated from high school. My oldest son got married. My husband at the time was cheating on me with his ex-wife. I walked in my house and I wasn't needed anymore. I wasn't wanted. That little girl was standing there all alone.  The abandonment by my brother and my father and my first husband and my second husband, men... didn't hit me until I stood there in that foyer, and my boys were gone and my husband was with his ex-wife. The hole that I felt in '94 was bigger than it was back then, because I had shut myself off from recovery. I had gotten "better". I hadn't used my sponsor. I hadn't done the basics of recovery for the past seven years. I was busy with life. The nails were done, the hair was done, the clothes were perfect but the inside...

I got high for the next two and a half years. I ended up homeless and with 117 felonies. I had never been to jail before that. They were all forgery, theft of property, and possession of a forged instrument. When I finally got arrested I had an $80,000 bond and... I was pretty content. Finally, I was done. 

That was in October [2007] and in November I got out and used one more time. I was going across the Decatur Bridge. I had a pipe in my hand and it was full and I looked down at it. I was driving and... "I don't want this. I just don't want this anymore."

That was November the 6th so my clean date is November the 7th, 2007 and hopefully next month, if God sees fit, I will have nine years [clean] again.

BW: What's been different this time?

Becky: I've done a lot of things different. I used to know a lot of [12 step] literature and could quote things. I'm not that person anymore. I'm just me. I'm pretty aware that the dope is still there and it's waiting. I'm pretty aware that I have to stay vigilant. I think I've messaged seven other women today [in the program.] and I went to a meeting at noon.

I walked out of my marriage back in March due to him using [drugs]. I had to choose. I took some clothes and left. And today... today I got my first apartment ever, alone. 

We had a women's campout this past weekend and we had a letting go ceremony Saturday night.  We're still those little girls that don't feel accepted and loved and [we need to] hang on to one another and talk about that stuff. We're not big bad recovery women that can conquer the world alone, but together we can do anything.