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By: M.S.

If someone walked up to me and asked, “where were you in life, three months ago?” I would simply tell them, “not in a safe place, but… I was without a doubt experiencing life, and most importantly, I was also growing into the woman I am today”.

I captured this photo about three months ago, which is what I consider was the ‘dark days’ of my life. I was living unhealthy; using drugs, associating myself with people who used, I was ‘homeless’ (my choice), and purely thought and acted on only negative actions. This was not the ME I wanted or ever thought I would be when I dreamed of my future adult life when I was nine. I had become the person I feared as a kid.

I’m 25 now. The day I took the picture is also the day I decided to storm outside of my parents’ house the last week of July to live on my own. Maybe it wasn’t the wisest… but for me it was at least the best choice I made that I would never want to take back.

The drug test my parents wanted me to take in hopes to give them answers to their questions if I was using or not could have been taken, but I knew that if it came out positive, and it was going to, I was going to have two choices: 1. Go to an in-patient rehab facility for 30 days or 2. Pack my bags and leave. Without taking the test, I chose option two.

I won’t go too much into detail about my “dark days” while living from motel to motel, but I want to briefly take you through those two weeks that lead me to the last day of being homeless. I met many good, sad and lost souls during those weeks.

As I mentioned already, living like this was my 100% my decision. I had this mentality of, “I’ll show my parents”. I wanted to show them that even though I had a problem, I could still do it without them as well as stop using. HA HA! I was wrong. I hardly slept, traveled by foot and lived on McDonald’s breakfasts. I may have been having a hard time at my expense, but I would still with no hesitation help others before myself.

What surprised me the most was that I rarely used because money wasn’t so easy to get but also, I was living with my drug dealer who, oddly enough, said he didn’t want to use anymore because at the time I wanted to stop using. Those two weeks flew by but were still mentally and physically painful for me.

That last day of living that way was the day my drug dealer left me stranded alone in a motel room, leaving me to call the only person I felt comfortable picking me up, my ex-boyfriend. He took me to his place, let me rest up and then that next day I asked a difficult question, to please take me home. It was two weeks later that I checked myself in to the in-patient rehab for 30 days.

I went to rehab with the plan of finishing those 30 days and then going back home to continue living in the same environment and surrounding myself around those same people, but not using anymore. The thing is though, I still have not gone back home.

I am now living in Santa Monica at a Sober Living house and going to an out-patient rehab. I am happy to say that where I am in life and where I’m living is 100% my choice. While in rehab I was introduced to many new forms of therapy like meditation, integrative sound therapy, and hypnotherapy. I began to love myself again, which was something I found hard to do.

Now being in this out-patient program I am continuing this journey of self-care. Just like I thrived on helping others (like the time I was homeless), I still do my best to help but I am learning how to work on myself first. Meditation has become a huge part in my life, I listen to music, and continue to explore the people and world to learn new ways to think and do things. The only difference now is I am more clear-minded than I have ever been. Why? Because I took my own advice, and took a step out of the shadows.

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Out from the Shadows: A Client Story
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