With the goal of helping others, 28-year-old Kayla B. tells her remarkable story of addiction and recovery in the pages of City Magazine.
I felt desperate and alone throughout middle school and never really felt like I had friends. I feared going to school and came home crying almost every day. I was always in detention, and I missed school often. I would refuse to wake up and go. I got into fights with other girls at school. I never had any self-confidence. Where to sit for lunch was always a huge problem. I floated around, becoming a rolling stone. Today I finally realize that I was never meant to fit in; I was meant to stand out.
When I was 12 years old, I started smoking cigarettes with older kids before and after school. My first time getting high and getting drunk was around the same time. I was already blacking out when I drank and I started getting into a lot of trouble. I spent a month in Charles Hall Youth Services when I was 12, and another five months when I was 15. I needed structure and a safe place to live because I wasn’t capable of making smart decisions. I was given Unruly and Runaway citations, adding up to about 13 of them by time I was a ninth grader.
I can vividly remember the first time I got high on methamphetamine. I was in eighth grade. I was terribly messed up and jittery. I stayed up for three days and told my life story to the people I was with four times because I was so high. I went out to eat with my stepdad and ordered a piece of pie and a bowl of soup. I took two bites of my food and I’d had enough. I was ultra-paranoid. I was hoping my stepdad didn’t notice anything was up with me.
I tried “snorting” cocaine in the eighth or ninth grade but I didn’t think it was any good because I didn’t feel anything. I was drinking and getting drunk almost every weekend. As long as my mom let me go spend the night with friends, I could do anything I wanted.
Little did I know this was the genesis of a lifelong struggle with drugs, alcohol, and trying to discover who I was and where I fitted in. My pattern of compulsive behavior and numbing was self-destruction at its finest.
Next story: High school and beyond.