In this judgmental world where ex-addicts already in recovery are condemned and stigmatized by the “normal” self-righteous people, it comes with no surprise that many go through great lengths to try to cover up their past and detach themselves as far away as possible from the “title”.
When someone in recovery chooses not to stay in the sidelines and reaches out to help educate and inspire struggling addicts who want to have a second chance in life and puts a name and face together with an honest, heartfelt testimony, that’s courage. And to think she is a woman.
Here is the personally written story of one brave soul who is now a Caseworker/Recovery Coach and Ambassador of Hope in Safehaven Recovery Village:
My name is Diane Mae. I’m 29 years old, born in Cebu City in 1990. I lived with my mom and grew up without any father figure in my life. Ever since I was a child, my mother was always out drinking with friends, dancing and living the night life. She wasn’t into illegal drugs as far as I know. All I know wa, she always hang out with rich guys and sometimes comes home drunk.
In spite of her being away all the time, I love her very much and I truly understand her. It’s not easy to take care of a child by yourself without anyone else’s help. She did what she thought was the best way at that time. One day, she was introduced to a widower, who was in the military who eventually she married.
We moved to the United States when I was in grade 4. It was different. Very different from the place I was used to. I started having low grades in school, and then I made friends and finally got used to the American lifestyle.
By grade 5, we were already flirting with boys, I started becoming curious. Such time came I started to go to house parties or hang out after school where there would be alcohol. That’s when it all started and when I think about it now, that’s when I became blind to what was right and normal, especially for my age.
That was the start of my addiction. The more parties and guys I experienced, the more drugs I was introduced to. There were a lot of consequences for my addiction. From running away and hurting my mother, prostitution because I couldn’t afford my habit, and going to jail. I feel like somehow I lived my mom’s life from before. At that time, I somewhat thought it was normal.
My drug of choice in the U.S. was alcohol, crack, cocaine, and ecstasy. It got so bad when I got to robbing and stealing. I got caught a few times and went to jail. My last one was when we got caught in the act of robbing a 7Eleven gas station in Kansas City, Missouri.
I got sent to Immigration Jail and I got so scared I asked to get deported instead because I was about to face 15 years in Federal Prison. August of 2009 was when I came back to the Philippines. My mom stayed behind so she could work.
I met my old friends, drank a lot of nights until I wanted to do drugs. I craved for crack cocaine so bad one night after drinking a few bottles and asked one of my neighbors to give me drugs, they introduced me to shabu (methamphetamine) instead.
My first high was so good and I liked it. My first became my life. I just smoked meth and gambled every single night. I even did more prostitution to support my habit.
Then I met my baby’s father one day in a Poker House. He was playing a 1 million tournament and won. I fell in love with his looks and potential. I felt like I was in heaven. I took him out one night, smoked shabu, had sex and that was my new addiction.
We made us a relationship. We would stay together 24/7. Smoked all day, poker at night, check in a motel after. It wasn’t long after I got pregnant. My first baby died in my stomach due to lack of sleep, water, and food. I would hear things, see things, and talk to myself. Then a yr later, I got pregnant again. I tried to manage my drugs but it was all in my mind because I didn’t stop. I would eat though and drink milk and water. Luckily my baby came out 9 months normal.
A few months after my son was born, my baby’s father left me and my aunt took care of my baby. Actually, I left my son in her home one day and I just started depending on her to watch him while I do drugs. I just couldn’t help myself anymore. It’s the only thing that could get me to live. Without it, I felt like dying. I felt like I was nothing.
One day, my family reached out to a rehabilitation and got me help. August 17, 2017 was my first day in rehab.
I didn’t have the will to stop. But slowly I started to understand the program and my life started to take its place. I started praying before eating meals, waking up early, communicating and sharing emotions, taking showers in the morning and night before going to sleep, swimming, and I started making friends. Friends who are positive influences and who have been through the same struggle I did.
I have been totally drug free since November 10, 2018. My baby’s father is back with me, we are both taking care of our kid and our relationship has changed. Both drug free and supporting a positive future for our son.
Special thanks to SafeHaven Addiction Treatment and Recovery Village for helping me get myself back and bringing me closer to God. And Lito Gruet for the support and helping me share my story.