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Addiction Recovery Research Center

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute

2 Riverside Circle

Roanoke, VA  24016

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Phone: 540-315-0205

Email: iqrr@vtc.vt.edu

Media Inquiries:

John Pastor, FBRI Director of Communications

Phone: 540-526-2222

Email: jdpastor@vt.edu

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lorraine's Story 

"I grew up watching my father battle with alcoholism. I wanted to know what was the taste of alcohol so I took a few slips at 8 years old. It made me feel so dizzy and I fell off the top of a closet. I couldn’t understand why this drink made my father so mad and angry. Addiction was introduced in my life at 11 years old. I learned how to smoke cigarettes in the girls bathroom when I first started in junior high school. My father knew about it and he helped kept my secret from my mother for two years before she found out. By then I was not able to stop. I couldn’t. I loved the feeling it gave me. 

What became a problem was how my father would act after drinking. His attitude would change and he became so abusive physically and mentally that by the age of 14, I ran away from home. By 14, I was on my own. I started drink malt liquor with my acquaintances at that time. Then by the age of 15 I tried smoking pot. I loved it. I made sure I smoked at least one blunt before or after school like once every two or three months. By the time I hit 18, I was smoking everyday. I did not see smoking weed a problem. It was sociability accepted so I didn’t care. By the age 19, I became curious about crack. I started smoking crack and in 6 months I went from being a health weight of 180 lbs. to weighing a mere 120 lbs., I lost all of my self respect, I didn’t care for my health or hygiene. I even lost my apartment and my child to the foster care system. I was a mess.

I started attending drug treatment outpatient program by the time I hit 20. I was clean. I had no choice, I wanted to get my child back and get my life in order. So I thought I accomplished a great achievement once I received my certificate of completion. Soon after, I got my child back into my care. By this time I already had two kids. My second child wasn’t taken from me because I was doing the right things for me to keep her in my care.

By the time I hit 25, I hit rock bottom (i guess this was my second time around). I moved and my boyfriend and I got into serious issues with a neighbor which turned into domestic violence with my female neighbor (who once was a friend). I was going crazy mentally and at the same time I was smoking weed (again). One faithful day, I had the courage to seek help for me and my kids and ended up leaving my boyfriend and moved to another borough into a domestic violence shelter. For the next three months my boyfriend (father of my kids) sought out to find me. I smoked but not a lot. It was just enough so I can get a buzz. I left the shelter and got my own place while remanding in the same borough.

Life was still good. No one knew me and I was free. By that time, my boyfriend had a new girlfriend and I was dating a man from church. I didn’t like being with him. He was trying to take over my home. I had to hide the fact I was smoking weed and I couldn’t take it any more. I eventually broke up with him and started having my ex-boyfriend over to my house so he can see his kids and see me. We established a system where he would take the kids every other weekend so I can have my fun. So when the kids weren’t home, I would have my company come over and we would spend the weekend snorting cocaine and drinking malt liquor. Still I didn’t see it as a problem because I had everything under control. On the low, I was meeting different people who would smoke crack and I started smoking crack again.

I received a phone call one night in August 2007 that would change my life forever. My kids father/ex-boyfriend got locked up in New Jersey. I was mad at him but I didn’t care because he had a girlfriend that would bail him out. Come to find out she was no help. I only wrote to him for one year because during that year, I was partying hard, smoking weed, smoking crack, snorting cocaine, drinking alcohol. I was a total mess. I starting reliving my days when I first hit rock bottom when I was 19. This time around, people on the neighborhood noticed a great deal and by the time May 2008 hit, I sought help through ACS. They removed my two kids. I passed out. That same day, I tried to get into an inpatient mental health hospital but I wasn’t sick enough to get in. I then went into a detox, stayed for 5 days and was transferred to an inpatient program in upstate N.Y. for 28 days.

I didn’t think I would have made it but I did. I got my completion and a coin and I returned back to the city to move around from place to place until I ended up staying in a women shelter for about 6 months. During that time, I had to stay clean because they took random urine. But that didn’t last for long. I was drinking like crazy at night and was hanging out with the wrong people.

I finally found my apartment, moved out the shelter, got my kids back (again) and I thought I was living a clean and sober life. My daughters were much older and my issues were so crazy that smoking weed was my stress reliever. Still no one knew what I was doing. I was in and out of programs until my boyfriend and I got back together. I was going to see him in New Jersey for the next 3 years. I was just smoking weed, nothing else. I would drink at times but I started to just party on my own so that people wouldn’t know what I was doing.

In 2011, My boyfriend was released and I was so happy. I was going through challenges with my daughter. It got so bad that by April 2012, I had to have her removed from my home and she stayed in the hospital for a period of 3 months. She became violent and abusive towards me. I started back smoking weed, snorting cocaine and smoking crack again. My second child had to be placed with her grandmother because I did not want her to go back into foster care again.

The day my younger daughter left with her grandmother, I was hurt and so depressed because they moved out of state. I knew where she was but I felt she was safer with her than with me. For that whole year of 2013, I fell into a depressed state all along my boyfriend was by my side. In June of 2013, he was arrested and that turned my life upside down. I was all alone. I didn’t care. I smoked crack only, I didn’t want to smoke weed cause it stayed too long in my system. I was a total mess. September the same year, he came out to be re-arrested again within a couple days for a warrant. I was devastated. I knew I was a big trouble. I went through my changes and I still didn’t seek help. I partied more and harder to the point I got very sick and my health was deteriorating.

I said enough is enough, So I got my health back in order and returned home. I partied so hard I was not living in my home for almost a whole year. I was surprised that I still have my apartment.

January 2013, was my turning point. I stop using drugs, I stopped drinking & that was all I was doing. By then I saved enough money to bail my boyfriend out of jail and I had him living with me. It was tough until I was forced to not use drugs. In April, I learned I was having a baby. So I went though my pregnancy without using but I was not addressing any issues that would lead me to do the things that I was doing to myself.

Nov. 2014, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy which changed my life forever. That was truly my turning point. Feb 2015 I started going back to drug treatment. And the blessing came…I realized that I can be better. I do not have to use drugs when stress attacks my life. I starting taking notes on what makes me tick to the point I would have to result in using drugs and drinking. I was finally working on my recovery.

Today, I am blessed. A lot has happen within this story that I didn’t mention but I can say that I am in recovery because I was ready and was willing to learn to let it go and recover. All the while I was blaming my stress and life situations on my reasons to use but all along I wanted to use because I wanted to. I did not want to change cause I was not ready. Today I am not cured from addiction but I learned so much about myself that I was able to find better ways to deal with life on life terms without the use of drugs and alcohol. I finally gave myself a chance, gave myself a break to live the second time around. I am so proud on how far I came.”