Part 1: The Early Years
I never thought I’d have the strength to share my struggle and my pain with others by writing about it. I never thought I’d be clean and sober either, but here I am, alive and in recovery.
This past year has been a miracle for me. I woke up, and I know God is real and working in my life every single day. I recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and my whole world has changed. It’s unbelievable, and it sometimes feels like I’m living a dream.
A year ago, I was using drugs heavily, feeling alone, completely depressed, and suicidal. I almost overdosed on meth. Now, I’m working with a sponsor, going to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and raising a child. I have the chance to truly be present, and experience motherhood and recovery.
I was born in Bismarck in 1988. When I was five years old, my family moved to Solen, on the Standing Rock Reservation. My dad got a teaching job at Cannon Ball Elementary School, and my mom went to work at Prairie Nights Casino in the restaurants. My parents wanted a change, and my dad wanted to move back to Solen where he grew up and went to school.
I started kindergarten in Cannon Ball. There were one or two other Caucasian children going to school there at the time. I was teased every day for being white. Eventually, I stopped raising my hand in class because I stood out too much and just wanted to fit in. I stopped being the bright, smart girl that I was. I stopped being me. This was the beginning of my self-esteem issues and my long-term depression.
My earliest memory of being exposed to substance abuse is from about age nine. I was hanging out with older friends in my garage and they told me to go get some zip-lock baggies. Gasoline was poured into each bag for each of us to inhale or “huff.” I pretended to take part, but I really didn’t know how to do it.
Eventually, I learned how to huff and do a whole lot more to harm myself. I became a full-blown addict at an early age. I’m lucky to be alive today.
Next story: Getting high becomes a way of life.
Kayla Bruning, Bismarck