McDonough, Georgia one of those easy to forget and hard to spot on the map rural towns... Also, the place I called home. I was your stereotypical “Georgia peach”. Sheltered from the city life with a grueling 30 minute traffic ridden drive, I was fascinated by the simplicity of life… or so I thought.
I grew up in the typical, blue collar, middle class family. Never wanting for anything, my parents worked hard to give my brother and I the best life possible. From an early age, I exhibited the behaviors of an addict. I isolated daily, never felt “a part of”, learned how to subject myself to a total victim mentality, and most of my actions were centered around self. I blamed my addicted biological mother for the genetic predisposition and giving me up for adoption, the display of favoritism my adopted step mother showed my brother, or even the “mean girls” at school that wouldn’t let me join in on their bullying. But there was always one common denominator: me. Retreating from reality, I’d indulge in books and recreate my own story. Negative self talk and unhealthy relationships set the tone for as long as I can remember.
Every girl in my town dreams of leaving home after high school, and venturing to a college by the beach. And so I did. I was well educated, but I lived by half measures. Chasing after my first love, I moved to Savannah and started attending college. With no real idea of what life was all about, I broke up with my first love and went on a drinking binge. When forced with the choice to study or head to the local bar for nickel shots, I’d always choose the latter. I have arrived. I never felt a part of, until I was bar hopping in borrowed clothes, with a fake ID in hand. Everything was great, until my first grade report. I was failing, but yet again I found a way out. I withdrew from school, without any real consequences, and returned home. I found myself jumping into another relationship, but this time with the local renown “bad-boy” of my town. After only 6 months of being home, I found out I was pregnant. Instantaneously my entire life changed. Life as I knew it no longer centered around me. My son was born, and two months later, I was 20 raising a newborn on my own.
My life was slowly but surely rallying around my selfish desires. On January 10, 2013 that all changed. I left for church and left my son home with my mom. Church was interrupted by the dreadful call that she had a massive heart attack, one that would ultimately lead to her never waking up from a coma. Total survival mode kicked in, and I remembered the oblivion I experienced this one time I tried Oxycontin with a friend at a party. Without a second thought, I called the local drug dealer and escaped the pain that awaited me.
This continued for years, I’d go through months of using only on the weekends. And the weekends turned into grueling months, which later resulted in any/all analgesic escapes. My life was out of control, and I was too ashamed to talk about it. Finally, my life came crashing down again. I found myself in handcuffs, in the square of the small town I grew up in. I spent two nights and three days in jail. Upon getting released, I could no longer hide behind “I’m fine”. I was emotionally, physically, and spiritually bankrupt. I hopped on a plane searching for a life I had no idea how to live. In treatment, I learned that drugs and alcohol were not the problem, I was. I spent years avoiding any pain and I was finally forced to deal with it.
After demolishing my thinking and warped self image, grace found me. I fell in love with myself for the first time. Think of the concept of a flower blooming through concrete, that was me. I now have two years sober, and I live a life I never would have imagined. I have two beautiful children and we live 5 minutes from the beach. My relationships, with the people that mean the most, have become the foundational support from which I get to chase after my dreams and unabashedly live life to the fullest. I spend my days spreading awareness on the disease of addiction through a recovery based web marketing company, founded by other addicts just like me. I meditate every morning and I’m able to sort through my emotions, pausing before responding. New hobbies and passions have surfaced and I no longer feel unworthy of true happiness. Daily, I use my torturous experiences to share hope and bring light into the darkest places.
Tricia Moceo is an Outreach Specialist for Recovery Local, a local addiction/recovery based marketing company. She advocates long term sobriety by working with websites like yourfirststep.org, providing resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Tricia is a mother of two, actively involved in her local recovery community, and is passionate about helping other women find hope in seemingly hopeless situations.