Have you ever woken up in the morning not knowing who you were? Tracing your lips in the mirror as if they were once owned by a mysterious and foreign creature. Feeling your tattered, mutated, and worn skin, not knowing what or who had destroyed your once almost porcelain features. Have you looked into your bright blue eyes and not seen color, but evil? Pure evil staring back at your limp body. The devil consumed me, the devil was me. Alive but lifeless. Hollow pit full of darkness but yet not so hollow. Scared to die but yet oddly prepared. This was me January 25, 2014. I thought my plans in life were backwards and bland.

As an atheist for 20 years I never thought I had another way out until I wandered into Broadway’s open arms. Intimidated, I almost backed away from the gravitational pull but somehow I couldn’t. With one hand on the door and the other being tugged at with pure love and trust, I then knew there was a power greater than myself. My friend Kyle told me to come to this house to hang out with sober friends. I can’t remember the last time I had a friend or even the last time I was sober. Maybe in my mother’s womb? Upon arrival, I was drawn in closer and closer. Like a mosquito drawn to a fluorescent light bulb. Obviously high, I don’t remember much. I do remember one thing though. I was introduced to the house manager of the Anaheim facility and he asked me if I was an investment. I have thought about that question every day since. As a Heroin addict among other things, I had no desire to stay. Instead, I wanted to leave and get high but I didn’t.

Through my rough portion of detox which I conquered “cold-turkey”, per my request, I was woken up at 7:30 AM every single day to clean, help with breakfast, and be of service. I told myself from day one, if I was going to do this whole sober thing, I was going in full force. If I was going to get high, why not just leave? It’s more fun on the streets anyways. This was my first time in treatment. I had open ears, an open mind, as well as an open heart. I listened to every word spoken. Took all of the instruction and criticism I could receive. I also took advantage of the staff and talked to them, did one on ones, used up every minute I could force out. They told me to journal, so I did. I wrote every day for 60 days. They told me to fix the broken, plugged toilet, filled with ants, so I did. What came of all this? Character.

The counselors blew me away, the groups were phenomenal. I slowly began to see specks of blue bursting through my irises. My eyes seemed a bit friendlier. I have always been the black sheep from being a tomboy, to being a nerd, to being an argumentative rebel. No one understood my gypsy like mentality. Always running, adventuring, never being tied down to one place. Independent. Broadway broke that. I became vulnerable, just like a naked child being glared at in public. I wasn’t embarrassed though, rather embraced. If I told someone I stole from my family and pawned it off, almost everyone else there did too. I got to talk about my demons and not be punished. I was understood. I was loved until I could love myself. This was my family, my home, my forever.

These people believed in me. As time went on I started smiling, gaining weight, and began looking like a human being again. I worked out 3 times per day, every day. I challenged myself. I remember the first time someone came to me for advice. It was liberating. I was no longer a walking zombie with track marks. I was a compassionate, helpful, hardworking, loving, and kind individual. I liked myself for the first time in my life. I no longer felt disposable. I became an investment. I learned that an investment meant being worthy of accepting the advice given to me. I had two choices. To live or to die, and I chose life. The treatment team poured every ounce of faith into my being and I am grateful. Other clients had bets on me being the first one to fall, but I am still standing. I saved ME from my OLD self but Broadway saved my life. I am currently a year and five months clean.

The journaling I did in treatment turned into a book. I have my own apartment, my own car, and my own peace of mind. I never thought I would be a proud owner of even two of these things. To think I have all of this and more is unexplainable. I am employed to Broadway now and have been for over a year. My point is, others can see our beauty and strengths when we are blind to it. This is why we hand over our lives and become sponges. I too had a miserable abusive childhood. I too lost my boyfriend and best friend of 7 years to an overdose. I too have gone through the agony and torture battling addiction. After finally placing my life in someone else’s hands I am happy. I am free. You too can become an investment and be brought back to life.