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*Please note: This is the retelling of a personal experience and discusses details of addiction & sexual assault.*

I discovered Ambien, a sleeping pill, two months shy of my 16th birthday. As a teen who would barely take an ibuprofen, I was very nervous. My palms were sweaty, and my heart was racing. I didn’t want to steal from my mom, but, curiosity…at the time…was a pull stronger than my conscience. Even before I ever took a drug or drink, I was an addict, through and through.

Fast forward to a few years later. A few months after my 21st birthday, I discovered heroin. My palms were sweaty, and my heart was racing, but for a different reason than before. Instead of feeling scared and guilty, I felt excited and anxious. Heroin was the one drug I had been dying to try. Despite the warnings of the recovering heroin addicts I had met in A.A. and rehab, I was determined to get my hands on what I believed was the gateway to nirvana.

The old adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” couldn’t have been any more true.

Long story short, I met and fell deeply and madly in love with a man who had been addicted to heroin for a decade. He introduced me to his main connection a month into our relationship. His dealer lived in the same neighborhood as him, so scoring smack was quick, easy, and effortless. But not without pain.

This man, we’ll call him Gordon. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. My boyfriend could tell that Gordon liked me, which led to him enforcing rules, like not allowing me to have his phone number or address.

And, not under any circumstances, was I ever allowed to meet up with Gordon alone.

As much as I loved my boyfriend, I loved heroin more. I was an addict! It was only a matter of time before things fell apart completely. On a sunny day in late September of 2018, I found Gordon’s home. What I thought was a teeny-tiny decision, turned out to be anything but.

He raped me.

As I was struggling to keep my eyes open, my body limp and lifeless on his recliner, he forced himself into my mouth. Too powerless and high to do anything, I just waited until he finished.

To be honest, I didn’t feel too traumatized by the assault. However, what happened afterwards scarred me for life.

My boyfriend flew into a rage when I told him I had stayed the night at Gordon’s. Instead of getting mad at his neighbor/dealer/friend, he got mad at me.

Gordon raped me, yet I suffered more consequences than just those of his crime.

My partner kidnapped me, held me hostage, and almost killed me. In his mind, Gordon was not the person who betrayed him. I was.

Toxic and abusive relationships can escalate when drugs and alcohol are involved. Addiction and violence, whether it be sexual, physical or emotional, often times go hand in hand. If you’re in a situation like mine, I urge you to get out and get help. Do what you have to do to keep yourself safe. Do what you have to do to keep yourself alive.

If my boyfriend hadn’t passed away, and if Gordon hadn’t been arrested, who knows where I would be today. I’m not happy that Gordon is in prison or that my boyfriend is dead.

However, I also believe that if these events had not happened, I may have been where these two men are now: behind bars…or buried.

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If you are struggling with addiction or substance abuse, visit helpguide.org. Find a local 12-step meeting at The Recovery Book, or call the free, confidential national hotline at 800-662-4357.


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