Meet Recovery Rockstar Debbie Stein
My name is Debbie Stein and I am a 50- year-old grateful recovering addict. I have been clean for 8 years and am very grateful to be alive, to have a life today, and to be able to share my story in hopes of maybe helping someone else who is suffering from addiction.
Please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
- My Story -
My drugs of choice, which I used and abused for over 25 years, were Methamphetamine and Marijuana. I used to live and lived to use.
I have learned, with the help of an inpatient drug treatment center and my higher-power, that my addiction stems from incidents and circumstances from when I was very young.
I was born in the Bronx, NYC and am an only child. My parents fought all the time and I can remember hiding in a closet many days and nights when I was very young because I didn’t want to hear them screaming at each other and tried to escape from all the stress and anger by hiding. After my parents finally divorced when I was 7, I was shuffled back and forth living with my mom for a while and then back with dad. When I was living with mom she said many terrible things about my dad and I became very frightened of him. My mom lied to me one day while we were living in California with my grandma and said she was getting back with dad and we would all live together again as a family. We flew back to NYC and after landing and walking to the inside terminal at the airport, in the middle of a sea of people, she dropped my hand and ran off – I panicked and then really freaked out when I saw my dad coming towards me – (I was maybe 8 years old). As I screamed and cried, my dad grabbed me and hugged me and couldn’t understand why I was freaked out. I believe this incident permanently scarred me and at that point any feelings of security or trust of people were lost. I can remember feeling truly alone and “on my own” since that day. I became very rebellious the next few years living with dad – (by the way – my mom disappeared because she was mentally unstable and I guess didn’t get the child support money she thought she was going to get for me). I started dabbling with drugs – pills, pot and alcohol when I was 11 or 12. I loved my friends and hated my dad. Dad remarried and I resented my stepmother. Well, my dad got sick of me disobeying him and couldn’t trust me so he sent me back to my mom in California when I was 13 – Unfortunately, mom wasn’t at the airport waiting for me when I got there. A few months later I ended up living in a foster home as I was classified as an “abandoned minor”. Mom was nowhere to be found – dad didn’t want to take me back – my grandma and aunt out here in California didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of me so I ended up in Hillcrest Receiving Home for run-aways and abandoned minors and was placed in foster care a few weeks later. I know now that my abandonment and trust issues led me to a bad drug addiction that started up again when I was emancipated from foster care around the age of 18. The first time I did Meth I was hooked. It made me feel good about myself and gave me feelings of happiness. I liked myself for the first time ever. I continued to use over the years and by the grace of god, somehow, landed a great job that I, believe it or not, am still at today. I was a very “high-functioning addict”. I had my own place, a car and just got high every day for over 25 years. I never married or had kids – my addiction had such a grip on me it wouldn’t allow me to partake in anything like marriage or children. I won employee-of-the-month awards several times but was so ashamed of being a drug addict I would just throw them on the floor in my closet. Unfortunately, after years and years of using - the drugs stopped working and then my true misery started. I went into a deep depression and was sent (via my job) to my first in-patient drug rehab program when I was 38. I learned a lot about myself and my addiction at this program, even though I did relapse 60 days later.
- Prayers Answered -
In 2007 I started to pray heavily to God (who I had abandoned pretty much during all my years of using). I had lost all hope that I would ever live “a good life” free of drugs. I really thought I would be a drug addict until the day I died and that I would die alone. I had isolated so much that I didn’t have any friends – just drug dealers (found out later these were not my friends) - I couldn’t turn to my work associates or family because I was too scared and ashamed to ask for help – I prayed and prayed and cried and cried for months. God finally answered my prayers and sent me an old boyfriend back into my life who had been clean for 7 months and got a hold of me. I had said to him years earlier when we were using together that if he ever got clean to come back and save me … with God’s help he did come back into my life and cared for me when I couldn’t. He understood who I was, what I was about, what I was going through and he himself had been saved by getting arrested and going to jail.
We stayed together for 7 years and unfortunately out-grew our relationship and separated. I will never forget him helping me, as I truly believe God worked thru him to help me!
Today, I attend several N.A. meetings weekly and do service. I am working my 12 step program and to this day continue to learn new things about myself, about others and about life. I truly believe that this program saves lives and can provide people with love and hope when they have nothing to live for. People in this program will love you until you learn to love yourself and will share with you how they survive day-to-day without the use of alcohol or drugs.
If you suffer with an addiction or from depression – please reach out to someone – ANYONE! There is a way out of your misery and life does get better – I thought I was a lost soul and would never have a good life – BUT I DO!! – This is possible and you can have a good life also!
Favorite Inspirational quote ….
“Always have an attitude of gratitude”
Here is a great “Just For Today” from the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text Book –
“The progression of recovery is a continuous uphill journey.”
Basic Text, p. 83
The longer we stay clean, the steeper and narrower our path seems to become. But God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. No matter how difficult the road becomes, no matter how narrow, how winding the turns, there is hope. That hope lies in our spiritual progression.
If we keep showing up at meetings and staying clean, life gets... well, different. The continual search for answers to life’s ups and downs can lead us to question all aspects of our lives. Life isn’t always pleasant. This is when we must turn to our Higher Power with even more faith. Sometimes all we can do is hold on tight, believing that things will get better.
In time, our faith will produce understanding. We will begin to see the “bigger picture” of our lives. As our relationship with our Higher Power unfolds and deepens, acceptance becomes almost second-nature. No matter what happens as we walk through recovery, we rely on our faith in a loving Higher Power and continue onward.
Just for today: I accept that I don’t have all the answers to life’s questions. Nonetheless, I will have faith in the God of my understanding and continue on the journey of recovery.