Editor’s Note: The following is the text of the speech the author delivered at her graduation from Drug Court in March 2019. The speech is being published here in honor of May 2019 as Drug Court Month.
I remembered how humid the night was.
I remembered how I stood barefoot on wet, red-streaked asphalt, staring up into the night sky, wondering how my life turned into a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. I wondered why…why…why was I standing under the rain, barefoot, probably also on various amounts of betel-nut spit, at a gameroom parking lot. Why?
My stomach growled and I winced as a sharp nasty pain shot through me. I shouldn’t be starving. But there I was, clutching my stomach because it was so empty. I have a home with warm food and a warm bed to go to. But there I was, choosing to chase the dragon instead. I felt another sharp pain.
Lightning flashed through the sky and light rain fell through the darkness, pelting my oily, sweat-slicked skin. I saw my silhouette through the reflection of a car window and never stopped to realized how much weight I lost or how much my eyes had sunk into my face. My body was having the time of its life cannibalizing itself.
And another sharp pain.
“I can’t do this anymore.” I pleaded aloud—more to myself than anyone else. But this would not be the last time I put myself through this kind of hell. This would not be the last time I walked through the streets of Garapan barefoot, wondering where I could find food, or my next high, or where I could use the restroom to change or shower.
I endured another year and few months of this vicious and painful cycle before I received my saving grace—incarceration and recovery.
During my incarceration, my body finally had its chance to detox but recovery didn’t officially start until I got released from prison and into the Drug Court Program.
The good people of Drug Court stepped in and helped me take responsibility for my actions, to identify what I needed to do to start my journey toward recovery. They provided tools necessary to create an effective relapse prevention plan tailored to my needs. So far, I’ve been completely sober (drug court time) since June 1, 2017, with my personal sober day being on Feb. 20, 2017. My recovery was never only for myself but for my family and those I hurt.
With this said…
To those I hurt, traumatized, or betrayed in the past, I’m truly and sincerely sorry for my actions. I hope one day you’ll be able to forgive me. I will never understand the magnitude of pain you had to endure as a result of my actions.
To all my loved ones, most especially to my parents, I never want to put you guys through the chaos of my active addiction ever again. I just have to apply what I’ve learned and I think I’ll be okay. I love you all and thank you for supporting me!
To my good friend, Sussie, thank you for understanding my struggles, listening, and going on our tours of the island and just being there for me as I am for you. I love you girl! Biba recovery.
To my other half, Frank, thank you for helping me push through the last few months of the program and motivating me to finish! Thank you for your unconditional support! I love you!
To the Drug Court team and all entities and persons that made the program possible, thank you for opening up opportunities for people like myself who have made poor choices in life.
To my caseworker, Dolores, thank you for your hard work and compassion. I was a convict with a drug addiction but you still saw me as a person.
To my counselor, Grace, thank you for helping me sort through the debris in my thoughts and helping me through my trials. I wouldn’t have been able to unlock my potential without your aid. Thank you to everyone else who lent a helping hand through my journey.
Recovery did not open the gates of heaven and let me in. Recovery opened the gates of hell and let me out.
I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And only in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was.