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By Shannon from the Show-Me State

Never judge a book by its cover.

If you saw me in person, you'd guess that I was a strong, independent, woman with her whole life together.

And you would be wrong.

Yes, my hair and nails are done, but inside I'm a broken mess, struggling to stay sober.

Drugs and s3x have always been in the background of my life.

I was 6 when my mother’s boyfriend regularly blew marijuana smoke in my face to get me high. My mother knew about it but she was so high out of her mind that she never protected me.

Another one of my mother’s male friends used to give me Benadryl to knock me out so I wouldn’t “pester” him when he brought other women to our house.

I can draw a straight line from those early drug memories to me snoring coke for the first time at a (secret) company Xmas party last year.

I couldn’t sleep for days and I had unprotected s3x with anyone who glanced at me, including my disgusting department manager.

That coke-and-s3x binge came with a hefty price.

A week after the party, I had a painful urinary tract infection and went to the ER.

The doctor informed me that I contracted gonorrhea and chlamydia at the same time.

“Tell your boyfriend he MUST get treated,” the doctor said. But I had no one to call; and I wouldn’t think of telling my manager that I was burning.

He probably burnt me.

I brought in the New Year sober and celebrated with a quality boyfriend.

Fast forward to February 2, 2022, and my quality boyfriend broke my spirit.

I thought things were going good between us, but they weren’t. I asked him if he was serious about us, and he confessed that he was married and was having fun with me because his wife just gave birth.

So, I was auditioning to be his wife, but he was using me as a s3x doll.

I was depressed and I wanted to feel that cocaine high again.

I called my coworker and told her I wanted more coke. We collected two other guys from her neighborhood and we drove to a well-known trap house. The lookout turned us away; we looked like cops.

We called the Xmas party plug (coke dealer) but he didn’t respond. One of the guys texted his friend and the friend responded that he could get crack; his plug lived in a large apartment building in Central West End.

I had a really bad feeling about smoking crack, so I asked them to take me back home. They dropped me off at home and I cuddled with my cat, Peaches.

I called my coworker hours later to see if the crack was good, but she didn’t answer my call.

The following day, I turned on the news and saw a large apartment building where 7 people overdosed—and died—of crack cocaine laced with fentanyl.

My coworker suffered a major medical emergency and she never returned to work. Her two friends overdosed.

Had I been there, it could have been 8 deaths that day.

I searched to find meaning behind my gut feeling to stay home that day. Did I avoid death because I have a greater calling to heed? Or was I just lucky?

Survivor guilt is real. An online pastor helped me realize that it doesn’t matter why I survived, it only matters what I do with my life going forward. She said: “You’ll meet your destiny on the path you took to avoid it.”

And, here we are: My destiny is sobriety.

I’m proud of me; 348 days clean…and counting. 💯

I appreciate you for reading my story.

Editor's note: If you are struggling with substance abuse, contact The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) free and confidential helpline at 1-800-662-4357.


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