This story is about me. I lived with my parents, one brother and one sister. My brother is 15 years older than me, and my sister is 13 years older than me. We lived on the West side of Davenport, Iowa. I was a little girl that was very spoiled; I got whatever I wanted. I learned how to cry and kick my feet until everyone gave into me. I thought the world revolved around me, and I thought I was in control. I’d never been to a lot of places so I thought the West end of Davenport was the world. I knew everyone on the blocks near my house, and all the kids would hang out in my back alley because it was surfaced with black top. The kids would roller skates, ride skateboards, bikes, or hang out and talk. When I was about six, my sister had her first child. She had a girl. Shortly after that, my brother had his first child: a boy. My sister moved out and got married to a guy. She really didn’t come around much after that. My brother’s child was more like a brother to me. He was closer to my age and we would fight all the time. My sister ended up with four children, and my brother had two.
As the years went on, things changed, the year I was 11, on Halloween night, I went trick or treating like any other child. The next morning I went to check up on my sister’s daughter, since she had Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, and seizures. She had stayed the night since my sister was in the hospital delivering my nephew. Normally she (my niece) would be the first one up, so I went in the room where she was sleeping to wake her. I noticed she was covered in little red spots. Her skin was white and she had vomited all over. I went to tell my mom what I saw. My mom screamed, “She’s dead!” My niece died from a grand-mal seizure.
My mom fell into a deep and great depression. It was really hard for all of us. When I was at the age of 13, my mother killed herself; I had to go through counseling. Then at the age of 14, I didn’t want to bother people with my problems, so I started to look for love from other people and in other ways. I had sex for the first time, drank beer, smoked cigarettes, and ran with gangs. When I was at the age of 15, I got high for the first time and went to school and told on myself. I was expelled from all Davenport schools until I went through drug treatment. I then tried to kill myself over some guy. I was locked up in 2 South (a mental ward) for a couple of months. I attended groups for depression and to build better decision making skills. I was lying to the doctors and nurses. I had having people sneak my boyfriend in and I got caught. My doctor told my dad that he should consider signing papers to make me a “China child,” which means a child ward of the state. It was at that moment I decided that I needed to change my act.
Then I was sent to Dyersville, IA where they told my dad and me that I didn’t need to be there. They said I wasn’t that bad. They told us to go to Forest Grove CADS (drug treatment). They told me that I was an alcoholic and I needed education for marijuana. I was in there for six weeks; no school, no home work. I completed that program and developed a really good relationship with my dad. I was able to get back into school and in tenth grade. I was very lucky all classes passed me in instead of making me redo all the classes. I was very grateful for that. A little bit after that I got my first job at Mc Donald’s on W. Locust. Trying to be a responsible teenager and keep my grades up while going to work, I worked for about a year. I was 16 then.
At 17, I got a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then I met a whole new group of friends. I started back up to my lying and sneaking around and found a boyfriend. Hanging around this group, I began drinking again. I realized that I kind of liked it. The entire group of friends I hung out with would go to the West End Club to go dancing, and I met a lot of people there. At this point, I was 17, and I was getting ready to graduate from Davenport West. A month before, the guy I was with ended up in jail. I met some other guys who were younger than me, so I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about them going to jail.
As I was graduating from high school, I had some choices to make: one was to go into the army, another to go into college, and finally to hang out with the new crowd. I choose to hang out with all of them because it was so cool. Then when I was hanging out with them, the drinking changed into smoking marijuana and cigarettes. I thought I was cool. At the end of my senior year, I graduated. I left my graduation party to go run with this young guy named Ray who ended up being pulled over by the police. I got a ticket for a turn signal light being out. I ended up being kicked out of my home. So, I moved in with Ray and his family even though he was only 15 years of age.
At the age of 18, I became pregnant with a little girl named Amy. She was very small at birth. Ray, her dad, was locked up in Eldora State Training School for Boys when she was born. She was about 10 months old when her dad got out. By the time Amy was one, I was already into cocaine really bad. Then a year after that, I pulled somewhat away from the drugs a little. At the age of 21, I was pregnant again with my son Ray Jr. Then I started to sell drugs. I was using a lot of drugs, drinking, and going to the bars. It was a crazy and insane life. I lived that crazy and insane life for a long, long time. After nine years of this on and off relationship with the kid’s dad, I finally told their dad it was me or this girl he was fooling around with. He couldn’t make up his mind, so I made it for him and I walked away. I turned into a big alcoholic, going to the school and picking my kids up drunk. Someone told the kids’ dad, and he turned me in for drinking all the time with my kids around.
The day I walked away from him I stopped the drugs. So I went to drug treatment again and worked to pay the bills. I worked at a gas station. This guy came in and said he went to meetings. I asked what kind of meetings and I told him that I was in CADS. He told me he was in a program that will help with addictions and asked if I would like to attend a meeting, so I attended a meeting and realized I do have a problem. So I keep attending these meetings I have a sponsor, and am working the 12 steps trying to become a better person. I realized a lot of stuff. I realized my life was out of control. I am very grateful I met this man, and we have been together since New Years Eve of 2006. If it weren’t for these meetings, the people in my life, and doing service work, I would still be way out there on drugs, might not have my kids, or I could be dead.
I began my life being a little girl in a small world and turned in to a woman in a large world. From a little bratty self-centered child having a lot of things going on, I now live life somewhat to the fullest. In my story, even though this little girl went through a lot of hard times, now she is a responsible adult. I am 30 years old and I have bettered my life. My kids have become better then what they were. I still attend meetings, do service work, meet with my sponsor, and work the 12 steps. I am attending Scott Community College, going for an A.A. degree. I am a part of the Trio program at school. I’m able to be there for my kids, their schooling, and after school programs. They are a part of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. Since I have been in this 12 step program the world that I thought was small is not small at all.
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