My name is Jimmy, I am 29 years old, and I’m an addict. Now I know anyone reading this, who is willing to help someone out might shake their heads and not even consider me. Ive been in recovery for almost 2 years now, and I am proud to say that I have been clean and sober for about 6 months since my last relapse. I have learned in my meetings to admit that I have a problem and ask for help when I need it. I will tell you my story if you have the patience to read it, and if it touches you in some way, I’m glad it could.
I was raised in poverty, in the suburbs of Chicago Illinois, as the middle child of 7 siblings. My parents were together for most of my childhood, but suffered drug and alcohol addiction. Anyone who knows about those things knows that it comes with a slew of other problems as well. I am sure my parents did the best they could for all of us under the circumstances. However, we all witnessed them go through the attempts to get clean, the physical and mental abuse, the infidelity issues and, of course, the financial burdens. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I’ve even heard some say that alcoholism and addiction can be hereditary. 6 out of the 7 of us now suffer from the same fate. I consider myself to be lucky, as I have had an amazing wife who’s been with me for over 12 years now. I also have 2 beautiful children who give me every reason in the world to change and be a better father.
My parents split when I was around 12, my older siblings had moved away, the younger one stayed with my father, and I moved pretty far away to Phoenix, Arizona with my mother who had 2 more children. I would have to say my mother was worse off than my father when it came to her alcoholism and drug addiction issues. I was doing the best I could to help her raise my 2 little sisters, as she spent a lot of her time incapacitated. Marijuana was a normality in my family, my father grew it, and my mother, I guess, tried to connect with me by using with me. Times got financially tough, and at one point I was even selling it for her to help pay the bills and put food on the table. I was naive and thought I was having fun, but also didn’t realize how fast I was growing up and what I was missing out on– you know, like being a normal kid and focusing on my future. I loved my parents and, of course, my siblings, especially my 2 sisters who I essentially raised as my own. I even dropped out of high school, and did odd jobs wherever I could to help out. At almost 17 years old, however, I had had enough and started to see how bad she was. I started to realize that I needed to be my own man. Even with my addiction to marijuana, I ran away from home and it didn’t take me long to establish somewhat of a life for myself. I had spent a couple of months on the street, playing my guitar for dollars here and there., stayed with friends when I could and eventually got my first job at a burger place, and my own little studio apartment. I stayed at that job for 5 years, moved all the way up to the store management.
I’d always go visit my mom and my little sisters and make sure that they were ok. By this point, my mom was heavy Into the harder drugs. I gave her an ultimatum to get some help or I was going to call child protective services. My oldest brother had bought a house out here and was doing fairly well for himself. My mother decided to give custody of my 2 little sisters to him and his fiancee while she tried to get her life together. I didn’t know much about his fiance, and it is a decision that I will feel guilty about and regret for the rest of my life, as a horrible tragedy was the result for my 3 year old little sister, as well as my 7 year old little sister, who will suffer that trauma for the rest of her life. I won’t go into detail about it as you really don’t want to know. But here is a link, and a photo if you are curious.
That tragedy affected me greatly. Led me into a world of depression. And the only example I ever had of getting out of that world was with drugs and alcohol. So that’s what I had turned to. Fortunately for me I had already been dating my wife for just short of a year, who hardly knew me then but tried her best to help me through what happened. I got tired of working at the burger place and moved to a convenient store as a manager. There I stayed for the next 7 years. Towards the end of that job, it was getting really stressful and rough, I was working 70-80 hours a week sometimes, which is when I got heavy into cocaine. I was also making good money at the time and liked to go out to the casino. I said I was an addict, and I’ve had many addictions. The depression issue and the addiction issue and the alcoholism and especially the gambling led me to make some really bad financial decisions, and over all these years, I really dug a hole for my family. I owe an awful lot to my wife, who has stuck by my side through all of this. She is really the best woman I know. She goes straight and narrow, and always had faith in me and believed that I could get over these issues. About 3 years ago is when I hit the worst point in my life, made more bad decisions, lost my good job and almost lost my family over it. My wife told me a long time ago that if I stayed with her, her love would make me be strong. It took a long time for me to let it, but it has.
Anyways, that is my story, and for a long time, I let my upbringing and the bad things that have happened in my life be an excuse for the things I was doing. I am doing well now emotionally, seeing a counselor and going to my meetings. I’m really trying hard to put my life back together. I know my wife and kids love me, but we struggle because of the bad choices I’ve made. There are many things I could ask for a donation for, ranging from the small ones like new clothes for my wife, who never buys anything for herself, or shoes and school supplies for my boy who grows out of stuff so fast, it’s unreal, for diapers and wipes for my little girl, to the bigger things, like a decent car, as I’m always throwing money away on my piece of crap to keep it going, or money to fix my teeth as the years of neglect stemming from my addictions have taken their toll on them and I dream of smiling for photos or walking into a job interview with confidence. I don’t look like an addict until I smile, and recently earned my GED in hopes of getting a better job again to get out of this hole. Maybe one with dental coverage lol. I could ask for money for a nice vacation for my family, as we’ve never taken one. But to me, these are are things that as a man, a father, and a husband–its my responsibility to provide those things that they need, no matter what I have to do, and do my best to scrimp and save and plan for the things they want.
It’s not hopeless for us, especially now that I’m finally on the right path. We are both working full time. She works at a bank and I deliver pizza. We own our own home. But in the past year, we’ve gone through our savings, and had to put numerous payment plans to take care of the debt that I caused and catch up on the things I let fall behind. These past 2 months have been really rough, which is why I’m writing this. Our mortgage is behind 2 payments now. We’ve been having a lot of car problems and repairs have been ridiculously expensive, which took priority over the mortgage. We have both worked hard consistently for many many years, and I understand that it’s nobody’s fault, but my own the situation that I have put us in. But I promised my wife I would do whatever it took to keep what feels like the only real security that we have right now besides each other. So here I am begging the more fortunate than myself. The more financially responsible. The mortgage payments are around 550 each.
It felt good to write this., it feels good knowing that somebody might read it. I’m not really sure how I feel about someone taking pity and donating their money. However, if you can find it in your heart to help however you can, it would mean a lot to me and my family. I am, however, grabbing on to hope and I know, that if nobody reads this, or decides to help monetarily, we will figure it out like we always do. I really just don’t want to see my wife struggle anymore, or worry. And since I found this site, when we are back on our feet, I will, for sure be on here, reading these stories like mine and helping any way I can, even if it’s only a few bucks. Everyone deserves a second chance.