I am Cheyenne and I am an addict. Growing up I knew my mom was sick. In November of 1998 a year after I was born my mother was diagnosed with Crohns Disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the GI track. She was very sick and hospitalized for a majority of the first year of my life. My eldest sister who was 16 at the time played the mother role for the first year of my life. Three years after my mother was diagnosed she was introduced to a treatment called Remicade which is an IV infusion that treats the symptoms of the disease. Once my mom began the infusions the disease became manageable.
At the age of eight, I was at home with my mom. She said she was going to take a nap and I went outside to play. I remember calling her name and her not responding. I thought nothing of it. When I walked inside my mother was convulsing, her eyes were rolled in the back of her head and she was foaming at the mouth. I had witnessed my mother having a grand mal seizure. My father got to the house just as she was coming out of it. My mother said she would be okay and didn’t need to go to the hospital. My dad took me to his house where we later found out shortly after that my mother had went to sleep and suffered another seizure. When she came to, she called the EMT’s on her own.
I never forgave myself, even though I had no choice but to leave my mom alone in her house after she had the first seizure.
My mom’s health began to get better and better and I was finally relieved, but not for long. After receiving IV infusions every eight weeks for 13 years, my mother’s veins were just about shot. The doctors recommended that she get a port put in. A port is attached to a central venous catheter which is a tube that goes into a vein in your chest and ends at your heart. Instead of going through a vein to administer her infusions they would be able to go through the port. Within weeks of the first port being put in, it became infected. The doctors thought nothing of it and removed it and said to let the wound heal and then they would put another one in on the other side of her chest. In the following weeks, another port was put it. Again, within weeks the wound became infected. It was removed, but the doctors were convinced that a port was necessary to do the infusions to allow time for my mother’s veins to heal.
A third port was put in where the first one was. The third time was not a charm in this case. It too became infected. After doing research on why this could happen it was believed that the brand of the port was not good. My mother decided to give it one last chance. A fourth port, one of a different brand, was put in where the second one was put it. It got infected but this time the infection became septic. My mother was hospitalized and after running blood tests it was confirmed that the infection had completely taken over her blood stream.
She was placed in the ICU and I was told I may not have a mother for much longer. No sixteen year old girl should be told that. I was in so much pain; I was so confused, lost and worried.
I needed something to take the pain away. I needed something that took me outside of myself. I began self medicating. I decided to take it upon myself to begin to use drugs. When I was high my anxiety, worries, distress, and pain was all lifted away. I finally felt okay again. About two months using drugs my mom’s health improved and she was better again. She was stable but I didn’t know for how long. The pain was still there and I continued to use. Very quickly my using went from a couple times a week into an everyday ritual.
About five months into my using, I began to get high everyday and I had to stay high all day long. Before I knew it, getting high was more important than sports, school, my family, and my future. With the path I was going down, I wasn’t sure I was going to graduate from high school. My life was centered on drugs. My best friend pointed it out to me that I was getting high too much and it was starting to overtake my life. Of course I denied her accusations.
I continued to use. After about eight months of using, my drug of choice was no longer enough, I needed something more. I began to use harder drugs and it began taking a toll on my life. I told myself I was going to quit many times.
I would say “I’m going to do it this one last time and then I’m done.” Sure enough the next morning before I even got out of bed I was wondering who I was going to get my drugs from, who I was going to get high with, and checking my bank account to make sure I had the money for my fix that day.
The drugs did not just take a toll on me physically, but mentally and spiritually. I became an angry, self centered, manipulative, liar. I was so far in denial that I didn’t even see what was really going on around me. On August 26th 2015, I went under anesthesia to have all four of my wisdom teeth pulled. Due to the drugs that were in my system, I woke up while under anesthesia and assaulted the nurse, kicked over all of their supplies and ripped out my own IV. I was baker acted due to threatening to take my own life. I didn’t know how else to escape from the hole I dug myself into. When I was released I decided to go the treatment route.
On September 1st, 2015, I was on a plane on my way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where I would be placed into a residential treatment program at Inspirations for Youth and Families. Going to Inspirations was the best decision I could have made. It was a life changing experience. The technicians, education team, therapist, and nurses were absolutely amazing. Inspirations made my recovery possible.
Going to Inspirations was the best decision I could have made. It was a life changing experience. The technicians, education team, therapist, and nurses were absolutely amazing. Inspirations made my recovery possible.
The therapists went out of their way to make things happen for me as well as the other clients. Inspirations puts their clients before themselves. They took us out on field trips every weekend which made my staying there much easier and exciting. I always was provided what I needed to get better. In short, Inspirations was my home away from home. I formed relationships with the other clients and staff and when it came time to go home, it was so hard to say goodbye.
I loved my stay at inspirations. Because of Inspirations I was able to learn about the disease of addiction, how to cope and move forward in life while staying sober. I was able to work through the traumas that I experienced because of my mom’s health. I was able to work through family problems, underlying personal issues and most importantly how to love myself and be happy with whom I am.
I spent 67 days in treatment, and it seemed like such a long time while I was there but looking back on it now, that was only a little more than two months out of my whole life. Coming home was a difficult transition after being away for over two months, but when they say there is no place like home, there really is no place like home. Today I can say I am an acceptable, responsible and a productive member of society.
School is once again my number one priority and I will be receiving my high school diploma in June of 2016. I plan to attended college in the fall of 2016.
I would not have any of these opportunities if it wasn’t for Inspirations allowing me to take back control of my life. When I think of the plans I have for my future, I have to take a step back and thank inspirations for everything they have done for me.
My future is within reach because of the fundamentals I was taught at Inspirations. Today my parents have their daughter back. The little girl that had so many goals, dreams and aspirations is restored. I am Cheyenne and I am an addict.