Angela Mertens February 18, 2018
people in recovery

The first time I ever got drunk was when I was 9 years old from an anise-flavoured drink we call Aguardiente. I come from a Colombian-born family who immigrated to Southern California and naturally, Colombians love to party. I was a curious kid and I loved how it made me feel, but things escalated.

At age 14 I smoked marijuana, at the age of 19 I tried meth and at the age of 23, I ended up arrested in Idaho on drug charges and was given a two-year sentence. I came from a loving family, my parents worked hard to provide for my siblings and me. After many mistakes, many relapses and hurt, I decided to get into a rehabilitation program.

Recovery was a hard road, but every step of the way was worth so I could get my life back. While I was on recovery there were some things I wish people had known, I would like to share six of them:

I didn’t choose to become addicted

Addiction is a disease that can strike anyone regardless of race, religion, education, sex, income or social class. Some addictions start just by experimenting with a substance once, such as methamphetamine and ecstasy, which are highly addictive.

Plenty of people can develop an addiction over time like prescription pills subscribed by a doctor, or even an addiction to alcohol, which is something given freely in social events. Sometimes just a taste of these drugs or alcohol can start a destructive pattern of abuse no matter who you are or where you come from.

I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint anyone

When I was a heavy user, I wasn’t aware of the repercussions that my actions were making to the loved ones around me. The substances I was using fueled my explosive behavior and my actions, and it took the worst out of me. It was my addiction and I gave into it.

My disease was nobody’s fault, not mine and not my families. My disease can only be controlled and cured by professionals, and I am the only one that can choose to be treated. Most importantly, my family and friends could not control my addiction; it was my disease.

The love, support and encouragement that I received from my loved ones were the things that HELPED me get sober and stay that way.

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