This I Believe

Grace - Nashville, Tennessee
Entered on December 5, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: addiction

Masks

I believe in masks—a place to isolate your feelings and be anything you want to be and live on your dark side. My heart was so cold. Sometimes in my life I felt like I was a hard person to deal with. I dealt the hands. Could you play? My anger came out when people wanted to take from me or use me. My anger came to a point in my life when I really wanted to hurt someone. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. Remorse played a big part: robbing, cutting, and showing pain to others that took me up on my anger and walked in my path. However, my heart showed no remorse. I felt like it pumped Kool-Aid. No pain, no game. I felt I was the game.

My mother didn’t raise me. My grandmother did. My mother looked at me as her sister until I told her she was my mother; I do love her but my grandmother is whom I care for. I remember my mother working at the Tobacco Barn and at S&S Laundry. She meant well. She used to bring money on the weekends when she got paid, but she always came back and got it the next day or that night. I found out she was doing drugs—yellow jackets and black widows. My mother was an alcoholic too. She loved to drink. My grandmother sold moonshine. When my grandmother would go to work my mother laid up with men. I learned my mother was a prostitute when I went to school. Men stayed back at the house and bought liquor from her and rubbed on her. I knew when I came home from school and we couldn’t get in we had to wait. She laid with a lot of old men. That is how I learned to sell my body—by watching her drink and use drugs.

Anger is an empty space inside of me. It makes me cold, without feelings. It’s hard to explain. I want to feel something warm inside my anger. I felt nothing all the time I was making wrong choices such as setting somebody up to be hurt, or doing it myself. I felt numb a lot of times. The tears showed up and the tears came down. I love my mother, but she put a lot of pain in my path and life. She was never there as a mother. I don’t know what it feels like to have a mother, but I did try to grow up and be the best mother I thought I was. I made sure they went to school and had food to eat and a place to live.

I brought anguish to my children in my addiction by lying, selling my body, stealing, drugging. I would do whatever it took—use people and myself. I did do misdeeds to the children: I sold our food stamps and pills to take care of them and my habit. I spent their check and lied about it. Things started to get bitter with my oldest girl. She called the police on me when she found a needle under her bed. I hid needles everywhere, especially when somebody knocked or came by unexpectedly. I almost lost my baby boy and girl. The two oldest ones were of age. The regret came with everything I went through. I tried to keep up with them and put a roof over their heads. I had family members to help by keeping them for me. I would get high and my children would call the police to the drug house where I was. I would get put back in the street.

When things aren’t going like we want them we change the way our hearts are making choices, whether good or bad. The good came when I left Knoxville and moved to Nashville. I stopped using for eighteen months off and on. I went to church and worked as a nurse tech, something I loved doing. I lost my job because my daughter had my I.D. She was not home; I couldn’t take the CNT test without my I.D. When I lost my job I went downhill. I started using and abusing and hit my rock bottom. Change came when I went to Magdalene for women. The programs have taught me how to become a positive woman in society, and they gave me back my life. I thank God for mercy. Magdalene showed me a side of me that I didn’t know, that I’m somebody special. I don’t have to settle for less. I’m the bomb. Go girls. Magdalene gave me a brand new start. The change for me is the desire. I want this way of life: recovery.