Updated: Dec 20, 2021
First, I just want to thank God for waking me up clean this morning and giving me the opportunity to share my story with you. I'll just start by saying, "Hi. I'm Kayla. I was a drug addict." Since I was 16 I've always liked messing around with drugs. You name it, I've done it. I went through stages with different drugs: Weed, Xanax, alcohol, pain pills, etc. I was using more than just occasionally, but never really considered myself an addict—I was.
Once I tried heroin, it became my best friend. Heroin quickly became my everything. I no longer cared about myself, my family, my friends, my job, my appearance or how I made others feel. I didn’t even care about my children. Of course I loved my kids and knew what I needed to do and should do, but I was so deep in the grip of my addiction that I couldn't stop even for my kids. Now that’s a powerful grip. Heroin ruined my life. I lied, stole, cheated—anything to get my next one, even if it meant hurting someone I loved in the process (which I did a lot.) I lost everything along the way. I sold everything I had for nothing -- even sentimental things I can never replace.
After a couple years, CPS (Child Protective Services) knocked on my door. They didn’t think I was fit to take care of my daughter anymore. "What's wrong with them?" That's what I was thinking. "How could they take my child? She’s well taken care of." That was my mentality. They took her—that’s what I would say. In reality, I abandoned her. I wasn’t being a parent. I wasn’t putting her first.
The next two years brought even more heartache to my family. I felt like everyone had given up on me and were waiting for that dreadful phone call that I had overdosed. Most of my family wouldn't talk to me because they couldn’t stand to see me in the shape I was in.
From time to time my brother Skip would text me and tell me he loved me and that he was praying for me. But I'll never forget the day he sent me the text that changed my whole life. A month before I had I checked into a rehabilitation program. I didn’t tell anyone; I just went. I was tired of living that kind of lifestyle. It wasn’t easy to check myself in, but I managed to get myself there and do it. I checked myself in, and then the next morning I checked myself out. I felt like I couldn’t do it; I wasn’t strong enough and I gave up. So after my failed attempt to get clean, I really felt hopeless. No one knew I went, not even my family. I was disappointed in myself.
I couldn’t shake the feeling—I was so down and defeated. I didn’t know what else I could do. I didn’t want to use drugs anymore, but I felt I didn’t have a choice. I was truly a sick person. As I was sitting there loathing myself, I get a call from my brother. We talked for a second, and then he just flat out asked me, “Sis, what can I do to help you?” At that point I felt like I was out of options, I couldn’t even help myself. He asked if he found a place would I be willing to go there for help. With my heart beating out of my chest, I replied “Yes, I'll go.” He asked me to promise him, and I made him a promise that I would. Two days later he asked me if I was ready to go to Tennessee. I was more ready than ever! I had to wait a week or so before I could go into the program, and surprisingly I didn’t go back and forth with myself about going to the program. I made my mind up—that’s what I was going to do. For the first time I'd had enough and truly wanted it for myself. My thinking had gotten me into a world of trouble—maybe I needed some help.
The ride to Tennessee was nice. I hadn’t spent time with my brother and I missed him. He helped me more than he knows. Just that simple act of kindness towards me gave me so much hope. The fact that he was willing to risk paying a lot of money, spending his time, and going through everything he did to get me into the program (when I could just leave like I've done in the past), meant so much to me. He loved me so much that he was willing to take a big risk just for the chance that I would change my life. He saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. He loved me when I couldn’t love myself.
I remember when we arrived at Butler creek; Lew Keith greeted us and we went outside to talk. He asked me the most important question, "Do you have a desire?” I shook my head yes and he responded “That’s all you need.”
The days to come were hell. It was not easy by any means, but I put all my trust in God and He carried me through. A lot of prayers and encouragement from the staff at Butler Creek carried me through as well. Waking up seeing their smiling faces encouraged me—they were such genuine people. They loved me to life. Not only did I make some lifelong friends, but I gained a new family as well. I can't express in words how much love I have for every single person at Butler Creek. They made me feel comfortable and welcome and not even a hint of judgement. They have given me the tools to make a lifestyle change and for that I’m grateful. With the Lord on my side I know anything is possible.
I left with my head held high and full of hope, a peaceful mind and a better relationship with God. Since I've been home (by the grace of God), I've managed to accomplish some things that I never thought possible. Simple things like having a job, being on time, being reliable, and keeping my word. Today I appreciate the simple things in life. When I wake up, I appreciate the sunshine—I even appreciate a rainy, gloomy day too! I'm excited about life. I have goals and the confidence that I can achieve them. Today I laugh and enjoy spending time with my family. Today I don’t have to worry because I trust in the Lord and I put my life in His hands. I've been able to rebuild relationships and recognize when I'm wrong and try to make them right. Now, when I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is get on my knees and praise the Lord, not reach for a needle. Today, I surrender my life to God. Today, I have a choice!!!!–Kayla