Here are the stories of those who chose to Rise Up
My name is Acasia, and I am an addict. It started sixteen years ago. I was just trying to fit in, but then it consumed my soul and I didn’t care because I felt nothing. Addiction masked my pain.
My mother almost died when I was in 8th grade. I struggled to go to school when we didn’t know if she was going to make it. Then she came home; her painkillers became my painkillers. I began to lose myself. It only got worse over the years. My pain became a problem; not dealing with it became a bigger problem. I’ve lost so much along the way. At times I wanted to give up. But my kids made it hard to give up and so I tried—more than once. I have five reasons not to give up and they live with my mother. My disease was stronger than my will for years. I didn’t know where to turn. I had to quit. I got to the point that jail was a vacation.
I couldn’t stop; I feared no consequences. Simply because I wasn’t ready.
One morning, I woke up. Sick and tired. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I realized I was no longer Acasia. I had become somebody else; my heart was broken. I wanted to be a good mother and couldn’t. I gave up one more time. Then I realized I can still be who I was destined to become. My life is far from over. My sobriety and recovery has just begun. I no longer want to be that monster. I love who I’m finding in myself. I am amazing!
My name is Dawn, and I’m an addict. My message is of hope, of freedom from addiction. It sounds funny but people with depression and addiction often don’t know that they are depressed or addicted. They know that something isn’t right and that their life is unmanageable. They can’t see the forest for the trees. Every time that I used, I prayed that it would kill me. My problems were overwhelming and I thought that God had abandoned me. I asked for help. I was given the gift of treatment. For the first time, I was around people like me. Things started to make sense. I wasn’t morally deficient; I had an incurable, but treatable, disease. God wasn’t punishing me; he was giving me a gift. Things didn’t get better overnight. I had to make a lot of painful changes and consistently work on myself – every day. In order to make amends for the past, I became God’s humble servant, putting him and others before myself. He hasn’t let me down yet; he consistently provides and is with me through the storms. Life isn’t perfect, but I am able to feel feelings – good and bad without running from them. The most important part of all of this is that I broke the generational curse. My children have a clean mother that lives by spiritual principles. I do not want to pass addiction and depression on to them.
I know now there is joy out there. I am grateful for it – every day.
I grew up watching my parents living in their addiction and my siblings going to jail. I got out by getting married. That was a great plan. I got beaten every day for six months, and it ended when I retaliated. That’s what ACEs bring to your life, right? An inability to set boundaries. Well, that and jail. And that’s when I started using. I needed to hide my pain. For ten rocky years, I bounced from bad to worse to better to rock bottom. While I had periods of sobriety, in the end, I was back in jail having lost my family, my home, my career. My faith in me. My life changed again – God willing – on January 14, 2020. I knew I needed help getting my addiction under control or I would go to prison. I looked to my brother. I knew, in that moment, if he could get and stay sober, so could I. I got out of jail, started doing what I’m supposed to and I’m keeping at it. I have a long way to go on this journey of recovery. But here I am, being the person I’m supposed to be and loving myself. That’s a battle worth fighting
– Love, Candis
"I’d like to prove them all wrong!”
I’d grown weak and hopeless from the negativity and the stigma that society had pinned on me. You can’t; you won’t; you’ll never again. Those who turned their backs on my behaviors. My close family and friends who questioned my every move. The daily routine of pills for this and for that, increase here, decrease there, one to sleep, one to wake up, one to fight the side effects.
I decided to take a stand. It may not have been great or extraordinary, but I left the house to go to the store. I heard a loud and familiar voice “Come here, girl, and give me a hug!” With a fake smile, I faced my dear friend. I approached her cautiously, with my hood pressed tight to my head. She jokingly said, “Haven’t seen you in a while; thought you were dead.” I looked into her eyes as mine fill with tears. I told her what happened over the past two years. I don’t understand why I trusted her, but in her I found my inner strength again. We chatted and she said, “I’ll call you later and we’ll talk some more.”
Over the next few conversations, she shared a great deal. She and I had similar experiences. In talking with her, I began to resurface. I found an emotional connection outside of my family and home. Someone I could confide in and share my innermost dreams – someone I could trust. As the weeks passed, I regained my smile. That one friend instilled in me the flame of hope.
And so it began. My recovery. I still deal with my ACES, but now I celebrate my resilience in this, my new life.
Pain is generational. But it is not something I want to pass down to my kids. I'm using my experiences, my ACEs, my recovery, and I'm pouring all of that into the Fatherhood Initiative. Because you know what else is generational? Resilience.
I am a drug addict and alcoholic. As a result, I lost everything. That changed when I got honest. I don't fight any demons alone anymore. I am learning about ACEs and I've recognized my resilience. My kids get a better mom, and I get to live my best life. My name is Tacoa, and I'm celebrating my life one day at a time.
You're going to be our next success story. Let's Rise Up.