When I was about ten, I had two cousins I really looked up to. They seemed so smart and cool. They were already wearing cute clothes and talking about boys. They started making fun of me and telling me no guys were ever going to want me. All I wanted was to look like them—to be thin, get cute clothes, wear makeup.
So I’m twelve and still looking up to these two and they’re smoking. So I started smoking. And one of them is cutting her arms. So I went home and started cutting. Turned out cutting helped relieve the pain inside me.
Now I’m in seventh grade and this guy asks me if I wanted to smoke pot. I said sure and it was super fun. We smoked all the time and he became my first love. We started doing drugs with his mom and dad. And his dad says “I can’t keep giving you guys free dope, but I got a plan. You guys bring me stuff worth money and I’ll give you drugs.” So we started robbing places and getting drugs. We cleaned out a store of cigarettes and sold them to kids at school and got busted. Instead of getting in trouble they sent me to Valley Vista.
So I’m there for twenty-eight days and then sober for five months, but I relapsed. I’m fourteen now, I’m back taking drugs and having sex with different guys. I’m pregnant.
My father helped me. I got clean and had a healthy baby girl. But I got postpartum blues and I relapsed again. I hooked up with an older guy, a dealer, and my daughter got taken away. For the next five years I lived in a car with that guy, started shooting up, got beat, got raped.
I went to jail for two months for some older crime, got out and went into treatment. My mom came back into my life and started helping me. She thought I could get my daughter back. That changed me—I finished the program.
I always hated myself and now I love who I am. My dad is my hero. Now that I’m sober I act the way he taught me. I call my daughter every Monday. She’s my motivation—she’s why I do this. If I get a craving or want to do something stupid, I think: if I do this, I won’t get her back.
I’m six months sober and I don’t want to use or drink. I chose guys and drugs over my daughter and I’m done with that. I’m going home in twenty-six days. I go to AA and NA meetings and I’m volunteering. I love helping other people. I’ll keep trying to get my daughter back. I really think everything’s going to be OK.