Danielle: I moved to Savannah in 98. I’ve battled with addiction for thirty years. Crack is my drug of choice. I do good for a little while and then I do bad for a little while and then an intervention takes place and that usually involves the Chatham County Police Department.
BW: That’s no fun.
Danielle: No, it’s not but there’s something about total admission, when you reach that point. Everything comes out and then it gets better.
BW: That’s true. There’s a saying in the rooms, “you’re only as sick as your secrets.” This project was started based on that one line and the belief that there’s freedom and healing in sharing those things that we perceive have so much power over us. So, what are those things for you? What led up to the last thirty years of using?
Danielle: When I was three my stepfather started molesting me. He did it until I was about fifteen. I think that played a part. My mother hated him so much, because of his own addictions [alcohol and crack], that I don’t think she noticed what was going on.
It wasn’t an everyday thing but then again it was. When I’d go to bed at night, I’d barricade my door. It didn’t keep him out but it made noise where I could wake up. Or, I’d sleep under my bed and leave my window open so it looked like I snuck out. I’d rather take the whipping for sneaking out…
BW: Did you ever tell anyone about getting molested?
Danielle: It was me and my older sister. I was fifteen and we told my mom together. She didn’t want to believe us at first and I thought, “why would I make up a lie like that?”
But, apparently she believed something about it because she left dad after that and took the three younger children with her.
BW: Do you think he molested a lot of the girls in his path?
Danielle: I know he got in trouble many times for touching women’s breasts in public. I would bring girlfriends home and he would just not leave them alone. I could tell how uncomfortable they were so I quit bringing friends home, cause I didn’t want them to start talking about me at school.
BW: Have you ever stayed sober for any length of time?
Danielle: Yes. three and a half years. I got my CDL and became a long haul truck driver. I did very well with that. I was a trainer.
BW: What do you think keeps you out here?
Danielle: The reason I continue is because when reality starts hitting, it’s very uncomfortable. It’s like, my mind says, “I want to smoke” and my body follows. I guess I figure trying to fight it is a losing battle so, why try?