Lisa Laughnan / Hope Fiend Addiction/Recovery
My name is Lisa. I am a recovering alcoholic & addict and this is My Redemption Story.
I have struggled with addiction for 20 years of my life. My drugs of choice were Oxycodone and Heroin, but I abused LSD, Cocaine and Methamphetamines.
What you are about to read is in short my story. Some or most people would say there are underlying reasons as to why people become addicted to drugs. I would say that why yes there are don't let them become the end excuse for continuing to abuse them.
I have been out of jail for 11 months now and I have come farther in those months than I have in the whole 35 years of my life.
I remember the day I was sentenced and I heard those words come out of the judge’s mouth. "You will be sentenced to 1 year in county jail for your 5th Offence OWI" and "You will be sentenced to 6 months in county jail for the Possession of Narcotics." He then proceeded to say "Your sentence is to be run concurrent with any other sentencing." Of course, I was granted good time so I would only have to sit 9 months. At that moment, I cried. I was still angry that I got busted, angry at the cop who busted me, angry at the judge and angry with everyone but myself. I didn't want to admit I messed up but rather wanted to make excuses for my actions. Such as "Well if I didn't have that last drink I wouldn't have been over the limit", or "If I didn't stop to get a bag of dope then my driving wouldn't have been as impaired."
Of course all this self-pity was actually making me feel more depressed and who was I kidding, I was just lying to myself and not taking responsibility for my actions in my own head. It wasn't until I got to jail that things really started sinking in. Like "Wow, I am stuck here with 22 other females who are loud and obnoxious and I just want some peace and quiet." Then you have those who like to start drama because they have nothing better to do with their time, those who stick to themselves and those who just try to get along with everyone. I was one of those people who tried to get along with everyone.
Eventually, I got settled in and thank God for plastic baggies, pads and Vaseline because let me tell you what, without it, I would have snapped more than I did on some people. The wonderful combination of the 3 makes some nice ear plugs. I won't lie; I got into my share of a few fights and even ended up in the hole one time for sending mail in and out to another inmate. I was angry about that as well because in jail you do not have a lot to look forward to, so the fact that I had a pen pal in jail was cool to me. I was more focused on this than on myself for a while and it wasn't until we got caught up that I started really focusing on why I was in jail.
“I have been out of jail for 11 months now and I have come farther in those months than I have in the whole 35 years of my life.”
I came to know God, my Higher Power.
I started reading the bible daily, praying and even leading some Bible Studies. I began working on my flaws and figuring out where to start and then began taking steps in the right direction. It finally dawned on me one day that you know what? I was more thankful that I had been busted driving that night than ever. If that never happened in my life, I would never have had the chance to get to know who I really was, who God was and that I really had a purpose in life, and that I needed to stop wasting my time putting all my efforts into getting high but direct all that effort into focusing on how I can be a better person, help others and live up to my dreams, goals and aspirations in life. I finally had a purpose and I could tell that it was helping others. Just by the smiles that I would put on the faces of others with my kind words, or kind gestures.
The day of my release approached slowly but surely and with the days counting down I became extremely anxious and scared. I was not sure what was going to happen once I walked out that door.
When the day finally arrived, the guards had come through to do one of their many checks, but they didn't let me out. I started freaking out…this is one of your worst fears when in jail. What if the day comes and they don't let me out? Time was ticking but slowly and I was getting inpatient.
Finally the doors to our cells opened for count and I stood waiting by my cell for them to come in. As soon as they walked through that door I asked "I have been here for 9 months and today is my release day. Can you tell me why the hell I am still in here?" One of the guards looked at me and said "I've been here for 9 years and I am still here." Of course his cockiness didn't make me laugh at that very moment. He thought I was joking when I was asking why I was still there. They did a little investigating and found that the paperwork from my county was not sent over to them for me to be released. Where I was sentenced they tend to house their inmates at another facility.
Eventually, they let me out and I got out of my oranges and into my street clothes. Took a deep breath and walked out those doors unknowing of what my future had in store for me but one thing I did know was that I wanted to smoke a cigarette. My mom had brought me a pack; I lit up and immediately felt a rush. "Ahh, this feels like home," I said to myself.
It wasn't too long after my release that I found myself starting to go back to old habits.
Getting caught up with people I met in jail who had no intentions of moving forward in life, but rather continuing down that path of self- destruction – a path that I couldn't see myself getting caught up in again.
I was fortunate enough that my mom and her boyfriend offered me a place to stay under the condition that I got a job and moved out within 3 months. I hadn't had a job in 7 years of my life. I kind of laughed inside and thought to myself. What is a job?
It wasn't much longer than a couple of weeks later that I found myself injecting some Methamphetamines. Instantly, I was sent into a state of paranoia and of course everyone and everything was no longer reality but a living hell of hallucinations. I ended up at the hospital later on because I was burning up and turning into a bright red lobster. I had used a dirty needle and got a deadly bacterial infection called "Sepsis." I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days on a strong dose of antibiotics and fluids as well as some lorazepam. I was hallucinating so badly that I literally thought I was dying and I probably was at that point.
Yet again, the good Lord saved me and didn't allow me to go. I survived and with minimal long term effects if any at all. I was still stupid enough to continue using for a couple of months after that.
I ended up getting into it with my mom’s boyfriend because I was not holding up to my promise of getting a job and so I said to myself "I am going to prove that I am not a failure." That is what I did. I ended up getting a job at Taco Bell.
I started showing them I can make something of my life and I remembered the things that I went over in jail with myself on those lonely nights. I started incorporating them into my everyday living and it worked. I ended up moving out and into my fiancés house where I started building a foundation and incorporating structure into my life. With the help of God and the help of those around me who started seeing that I wasn't a failure and that I could do anything I put my mind to. It then became an addiction to do good, because the reward of having my family in my life and telling me they were proud of me was even more amazing to me, and it made me feel even better inside.
I ended up leaving Taco Bell after working there for 5 months to find better employment after having a bad episode of Psychosis. I kept my faith that I would find something better. I prayed and prayed about it and it was delivered. I received a call from my old District Manager from Taco Bell. She wanted me to come work for her at another location. Despite my felonies and my criminal background, I was hired. I worked there as a Culinary Assistant for a Nursing home for 8 months before getting hired as a Front Desk Clerk for a hotel making more money.
August 22nd, 2016 I was married to the man who stood by my side through everything. We have been through it all together, and I can say with confidence that we are happily married and get along better than we have in the whole 9 years that we have been together.
I now wake up every day and put my efforts into helping others.
My passion is being an inspiration to someone else and just hopefully my story will touch the lives of many others out there still struggling. Not only did I quit using drugs and alcohol, but I quit smoking too!
I attended a program through a Church who offers a program to inmates. I was a volunteer there and sitting in because I will be facilitating this same program to inmates at some point really soon. I will also be offered the chance, not now, but soon to go into the jail and facilitate the program there. The jail said that it's too soon from my release and to give it a bit. Until then, I will happily help others outside.
I am corresponding with the Principal/Counselor for one of the local schools here in Wausau, WI. She would like to have me come speak to a group of classmates about the effects of drugs and alcohol. I will also be able to share my story with them, and hopefully it will touch them in a way that they will make a choice to not go down the same destructive path that I did.
The woman who was once antisocial, depressed, anxious and paranoid and feared the world has now come out of her shell. I am here now and to always be a guiding light to others and inspire people to not give up on themselves, believe and maintain hope and faith.