My Volunteer Experience

After spending thirteen years with my addiction and struggling to get by, I knew now was the time to try and help people. I know how hard it is to deal with addiction; Xanax and I were best friends. At least that’s what I thought.

But a best friend wouldn’t abuse you like that. A best friend wouldn’t take over your life and tear you down the way mine did. Opioid addiction is no joke, and I hate knowing there are always people going through what I did. It isn’t okay.

Rich helped me find a place to volunteer. He knew I wanted to be able to relate to the people I was trying to help, so we ended up with an alternative school for teen moms. A lot of those teen moms struggled with addiction, but now that they were pregnant, were trying to kick it. Kicking the habit is hard work.

I went once a week for a few months, until Winter Break, and it was an experience I’ll never forget.

I came to speak a few times about my experiences with some Q & A’s afterward. I eased my way in and joined the confidences of those girls.

Nani liked drugs, and she liked them a lot. She liked to sneak out to clubs in towering high heels and dance the night away. A pill on her tongue and stars in her eyes and it didn’t matter what happened or where she was. All that mattered was the feeling. At least, until she got pregnant.

She knew who the dad was, but she wasn’t telling. Maybe he was older than her, and she worried about legal trouble, maybe she didn’t want him to know. It wasn’t my place to judge.

Nani missed the high, she told me that with her hands resting on a barely visible baby bump. I felt a pang for the children I could never share with Rich, not at my age, but it helped to remember I was helping this one along. But Nani knew she had to do what was best for her baby. She just didn’t know how she was gonna cope afterward.

“What if I just start up again?” She whispered to me. “What if I fall back in?”

“You don’t,” I told her easily. She didn’t seem to believe me.

“I’m not as strong as you.”

“Of course not. We’re all different types of strength. But once that baby is born, he’s going to be your whole world. He’ll be your drug. There won’t be time for partying when there’s a little one around.”

“How can I be sure of that?”

“You can’t. Not really. That’s why you stick to it, stick to being sober. And you tell people if you think you need help. Not for yourself, but for him.”

“You’re right.”

And I was. As far as I know, Nani didn’t relapse, and she has a healthy baby boy.

That’s what I’m meant to do, you know? Help people fight what they don’t think they can fight. If I can do it, they can too. That’s good for sobriety for everyone.