I took this picture on a good day. I was actually feeling confident and pretty, for the first time in a long time. As though I was comfortable in my own skin. It really felt amazing.

I am far from being the perfect role model for anyone to use as an example to live their life by. That’s when I realized I actually wanted to be that person, so it was time for me to change. I had to learn to get my shit together with a quickness. It didn’t come as easily for me as it did to some. I was stuck in the past and I didn’t know how to move forward in my own future because I wasn’t mentally mature enough yet. When I was 20-years old, my sister passed away while I was pregnant with my daughter, and I was diagnosed with PTSD.

I was heartbroken and in complete and utter dismay knowing I had to continue living my life, without her here with me. I didn’t know how, so I shut my mind down and I stayed that 20-year-old girl who lost her sister. My neighbor had just saved my 15-month-old nephew as he was clinging to his wife with the chaos going on all around. In my mind I mentally stopped growing and maturing into the adult that I am now, that I was then but didn’t know.

Years go by and I let myself become a addicted to drugs using their deaths as my excuse to get high. I was barely there and even when I was, I wasn’t fit to be company for anyone. All I did was spend my time fucked up by any means necessary and nodding out when trying to be awakened by those around me. The relationship I was in was so toxic I couldn’t even talk about my loss or how sad I was without it making my partner upset because he didn’t like seeing me cry. But I needed that release to cleanse my soul. Allowing myself to grieve properly may have made a difference in the choices I made, then again maybe not. Needless to say, I was in and out of the county jail numerous times in the following years. It was this last pass through the county jail doors when I realized I HAD to change myself. If I wanted better, I had to be better and couldn’t anybody, do it for me. I had to force myself to do this on my own knowing there were positive reinforcements that surrounded me.

The last year of my incarceration sent me to a women’s prison in Louisville, KY. PeWee Valley Women’s Correctional Detention Center. I participated in a substance abuse program, and I really felt I didn’t need to be a part of it. Not because I thought I was better than any of the women but because where theirs was only an addiction, mine was my mental health issues along that lead to my addiction. So, I was moved to a different program named The Willow Program. This was the program I desperately needed in my life. It was in this program where they taught me how my mental health issues/disorders lead me to addiction. I chose to use drugs because I was already suffering silently so why not suffer out loud. By that I mean not hiding it.

Here I am in the year 2023 and I’m living my best life. The one I’ve made count since the day I was released in 2018 to now, in 2023. My family has forgiven me for everything I’ve done, and I’m a new grandma to boot. My grandson is a total game changer for me. I’m so blessed to be included in his life. I know had I continued where I left off, I wouldn’t be.

I never got to complete this program because I was released earlier than expected. Even the prison didn’t know I was going to be released when I was. As far as they knew I was there for the remainder of my 7 year sentence. In the short time I was there though I got a routine set for myself. Every morning I woke up I’d make myself a cup of coffee while I read my bible. I had a private bible study every morning with only me and God. I couldn’t skip over it either, not without feeling guilt. My relationship had grown very strong with God during my incarceration. I was only released early because this time around when I promised God I’d do better, He knew I meant every word I said about it. I said and made those promises having a pure heart and I was coming from a real place that I wanted for myself when I got out.

Since I’ve been home I have tried my hardest to live by the promises I made back then. No I’m not perfect and yes I have messed up lots of times, but I am not, nor will I ever be again, known by anyone in my family or anyone else for that matter, as a fuck up. I can understand there are some people that will never have anything to do with me anymore, I get that. You’ve exhausted all your second chances and give a fucks. I’m truly sorry to those people I have hurt. I for real feel there are no words in our english language that could touch base on how regretfully sorry I am and how I wished it wasn’t me that caused you to doubt in others’loyalty and kindness. There are millions of good people still in our world and lives today. Don’t let what I have done to you turn away from other people who really love you and picked your heart up after I broke it. I’m so terribly sorry.

I made it home just in time to see my son graduate high school and walk across that stage receiving his diploma. My daughter moved in with me shortly after that and we became inseparable. Today our bond is so strong and growing more so everyday that goes by. I’m surrounded by love and a family that cares about me. I have the support I’ve always had, I just couldn’t see it for what it really was and instead saw it as them wanting to take the drugs from me. I was hard headed as hell but I finally learned.

My daughter and I were outside sitting on the porch one day when I asked her to help me come up with a name for the group I started on Facebook. She asked me what this ‘group’ was for, and the kind of people I wanted to attract. I didn’t put that spin on it when I was trying to think of it myself and I raised my eyebrows letting her know that was a damn good question. I told her people like me that suffer from mental health issues plus they’re a recovering addict, or even still active in their addiction. She said two words together making one name, “SafeSpace”. I felt in my belly that it was the perfect fit. She told me having the word safe in its title automatically tells other people its safe to talk about whatever they want.

From using Facebook’s platform to create a small group people actually joined to creating this whole website I unknowingly challenged myself to take on. SafeSpace has come a long way since 2020. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I’m still in recovery myself and I attend group meetings every week. When I’m with other people like me I’m comfortable enough to speak without stuttering. Since my bad drug abuse I have left my body permanently riddled with problems due to the side effects of using. I’ll probably have to live with some of them for the rest of my life. Seizures are the worst and I hate them. But they are controlled with medicine I take every night before I lay down.

Now, SafeSpace is its own creation of beauty with my blog temporarily being the main thing others see when visiting. I’m about to change all of that around and put it the way it’s supposed to be advertising SafeSpace as the place where people can come to talk about whatever they want to. You can also visit and talk to us if you haven’t ever done drugs before in your life. There is no dress code. Come as you are to SafeSpace. Meaning imperfections and all. I wouldn’t have you any other way.