The Beginning of the WreckageMegan was 13-years-old when she first got into drugs. She describes herself as a “weird kid” who didn’t really fit in. “I wore boy clothes until like eighth grade,” she says, laughing. It turns out, drugs and alcohol were a fast pass to inclusion. In middle school, she finally got in with a group of kids who liked to party. She started drinking, smoking marijuana, and partying a lot with those friends. By the age of 16, she was working a part-time job and had become a money fiend, selling cocaine and ecstasy on the side. Her own drug use had escalated as well, and she had begun using cocaine on a regular basis. When Megan was 17, she started dating a guy who was 13 years older than her. He didn’t do drugs and wanted her to stop so she did. She was sober for about a year and a half before they broke up. Shortly after that, Megan met someone else. It wasn’t long before he moved into her parents’ house to live with her and introduced her to a new way of doing cocaine: shooting it up. “I didn’t know I was an addict or that I had a problem,” she says. “I didn’t know anything about shooting up drugs, but he convinced me that it would be okay. He told me that it was a better, more fun way to do it. So, I did it.” Little did she know, that first experience of shooting up drugs would lead to several years of complete turmoil.
The Road to DeathThe next four years was a frenzy of substance abuse, overdoses, and legal trouble. Shortly after using heroin for the first time, Megan overdosed. Her mom was completely unaware of her drug use up until that moment, but even the overdose couldn’t keep Megan from sinking deeper into addiction. She shot up again the same night she was released from the hospital. Her first run-in with the law came soon after. Following a lengthy run of selling drugs and boosting at Kohl’s, Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, Megan was arrested and charged with a felony after authorities found Molly, Xanax, guns (from her job at a gun shop), and drug paraphernalia in her home and her car. Fortunately, the felony was dropped but she was given six months of probation. Megan avoided going to treatment, ignored her community service, and continued using drugs. Her mom had kicked her out of her house, so she was living in an abandoned home when she finally decided it was time to go to rehab. She had a court date coming up and she needed to be sober. Her first stint of drug rehab lasted 30 days but she was kicked out of IOP because she relapsed two weeks later. Another court date came and went, and she was arrested again and sent to jail for eight months, where she completed another treatment program. “When I got out of jail, my mom had moved to Dallas to live with her new husband,” she says. “I just went back to my old empty house in Houston and lived there with my ex. I was shooting up dope again two weeks after getting released. I was on probation, so I kept trying to detox every two weeks, failed three more drug tests, went to treatment again and did better that time. I stayed sober for maybe two to three weeks, but ended up drinking first that time, thinking it would be okay.” Megan’s relationship with her boyfriend eventually ended, but she hardly took a moment to breathe before jumping into another toxic relationship with a guy she met in treatment. Everything was great at first: she was making good money as a dental assistant, she and her boyfriend got an apartment together, and they were happy. It wasn’t until they made the joint decision to shoot dope together that things went downhill quickly. Megan endured several months of physical abuse as a result of her boyfriend’s drug abuse but the two of them continued to use drugs together. They moved to Phoenix together where she enrolled in treatment several more times, fighting to get sober but then relapsing and giving up every time. Life was nothing but a deep, dark pit of addiction. Megan was severely depressed, stealing from her own mother to fund her substance use, sleeping with her drug dealer just to get more drugs, and even trying to end her own life twice. “The first time I took a saw blade to my neck and was going to cut my throat open,” she says. “The second time, I locked myself in the bathroom with a gun for several hours.” Megan finally managed to get away from her abusive boyfriend and found herself living on the streets for five days. She was eating food out of dumpsters, completely hopeless and strung out on drugs, and she had absolutely nowhere to go. She finally called her mom to ask for help. Her mom bought her a plane ticket back to Houston and Megan shot up cocaine one last time in the airport before heading back.
“Do it like you’re a drowning man, gasping for air.”Treatment in Houston was difficult for Megan. She missed her boyfriend a lot and everything had just happened so quickly. She was shell-shocked. She relapsed the night she got out of treatment and had a bad overdose—one of the worst of the six overdoses she had experienced. “I was in the ICU for three days,” she says. “I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember it being a spiritual experience. I was walking down a road with trees all around me and someone was with me. I was so confused and thought it really happened, but I was really just lying in the driveway of a crack house in Houston. When I think about it now, I believe I was having a spiritual experience walking down this afterlife road. I think I was walking with God. I was dead for quite some time and was told that I wasn’t supposed to live through that.” Within four days, Megan crawled back into treatment at Nova and swore up and down that nothing was going to work for her. She had always been an atheist and struggled with the concept of God, but by the time she got to Nova, she was finally ready to accept her higher power and dedicate herself to treatment. Megan had attended 12-step meetings lots of times before, but she had never really done it for herself. This time was different. She dug deep and genuinely worked the 12-steps. She became very intimate with her God, meditating and praying regularly. “Previously, my mind was always racing, but the people at Nova trained me and helped me practice meditation every day,” Megan says. “I loved everyone that worked there, and they touched my life.” Upon the completion of her rehab program at Nova, Megan enrolled in a sober living program at Eudaimonia Recovery Homes. She had played the sober home game plenty of times before and was convinced it wouldn’t work for her, but she humbled herself and tried again. Unlike her previous attempts at sobriety, Megan really dedicated herself to her treatment this time. She focused on herself and her sobriety and avoided the entanglement of any romantic relationships. She has been sober for seven months now. “I’m still single, still miss my ex sometimes, but it’s getting better,” she says. Megan admits that she still has a lot of work to do but she has a great relationship with her sponsor and she’s currently re-working the 12-steps again. She is an apprentice at a tattoo shop and is also a talented musician. When she starts feeling depressed or has a particularly difficult day, she pours herself into her music, art, and other hobbies, like crocheting and working out. These things help her remember that her life does serve a purpose and that it has meaning and significance.
If Megan had to give one piece of advice to someone struggling with addiction, she would say this: “Keep working the steps. Do it like you’re a drowning man, gasping for air. Keep trying and never give up. If I gave up after nine treatment centers, I’d be dead. I wouldn’t be where I am today. Find what makes you happy and find your purpose.” If you or a loved one is addicted and needs help, contact Nova Recovery Center today. We are here to support you when you’re ready.