By Katie Wylie:
Melani W. is a 44-year-old recovering alcohol and drug addict. Born in Borger, Texas, Melani and her family moved to Fritch when she was young and she later graduated from high school there.
“I had a really good family. I grew up with a really good family. My mom and dad stayed married until my dad died when he was 65,” she said. Melani felt there was a change in her life when she was only eight years old. She told a story about how her little sister was born and for the first time in her life, all eyes that were once on her, turned to focus on her baby sister. “My sister was born and I turned eight a few months after that, at that point in my life is whenever I felt like things changed for me.”
As she entered her teenage years, Melani said she did not do well in school. She only went because she had to and she never liked school. At the age of 15, she became pregnant with her first daughter. “I had a school counselor who told me I would never amount to anything,” she said, “I kinda dug in deep and graduated from high school just to kinda show her she was wrong.”
When Melani graduated, her daughter was two years old and Melani got married and moved away. She later had her first son and at that point she realized she wanted to move back to Borger to be with her family. It was when she came home that she started drinking. “I came home and I started drinking really bad. I got a divorce. I had an abortion and then I got pregnant again with my youngest and things just started kinda spiraling emotionally after that.”
Melani said that after having an experience of going out and being drugged one night, she realized that things needed to change, so she moved away from Borger and to Amarillo. “I left Borger and I moved to Amarillo and that’s whenever I started getting introduced to different things. I drank a lot, and then I was introduced to methamphetamines and cocaine.”
Melani said at the time she thought of methamphetamines as her best friend. She said that she has a competitive personality and methamphetamines gave her the ability to feel as though she could outdo everyone else. At this point in her life when she was around 23, Melani said she had a good job until she got hit with a drug test. After the drug test, she lost her job and began dealing drugs.
“I thought, you know what, I don’t have a job anymore so I got into dealing and running around with people who did that kind of stuff.” Her mother and ex mother-in-law were already raising her first two children during this time. Her brother was asking for her youngest son so that he and his wife could raise him, but Melani refused… at first.
“There was one weekend where I thought I would just go out and party, and I never looked back. I never looked back at all. My brother and my sister-in-law adopted my youngest one. He was nine months old and that was hard knowing I had done that and that I couldn’t control that anymore and I just kinda went off on the deep end.”
Melani said that all her life she had a desire to fit in and get the attention that she craved. She said she believes that the depression was tied to her desire for attention and doing drugs ultimately gave her the desired attention.
Melani described how she felt when she was on drugs that many circumstances did not matter as much. The feeling of caring about things vanished and nothing seemed to matter except for the drugs. “Someone could pull a gun to your head and it’s just, ‘Oh he’s just high,’” she said. “When I was using I just didn’t care. You just don’t care, and if you just don’t care, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are.”
In 2011, Melani’s son tried to commit suicide. “I spent about a week with him in the hospital and that was an eye-opening experience even though I was high just about the whole time.” Once her son was out of the hospital, she was going to visit him one night and on her way she got pulled over by a police officer and was taken to jail. As she was taken to jail, she had drugs stashed on her person.
Melani was put into a cell by herself and was talking to one of the girls in a cell next to her. The girl next to her suggested going to church. “I said, ‘No I don’t want to go to church,’ and the girl was like, ‘Come on it’ll let you get out of the cell for a few minutes’ so I said, ‘All right fine, whatever.’”
That night Melanie went to church and part of the message was that sometimes God takes dramatic measures to make us sit down, shut up and listen. “I went back to my cell and I didn’t sleep very good that night and I woke up the next morning and I flushed everything I had. I got rid of it all.” This series of events ultimately led to Melani becoming clean.
Things began to fall into place after that night and she ended up making connections with people who led her to the Refuge in Dumas, Texas.
It wasn’t until she was two and a half years clean however, that she really began her recovery process. “I didn’t actually dig into my recovery until I was two and a half years sober and my life was falling apart.
My husband and I had split up and life was crazy, so I started going to AA. It was a lot of small little things that led to my recovery but I really believe it was that lady in jail saying, ‘Sometimes it takes a lot for you to shut up and sit down and listen,’ that led to my whole recovery process.”
Melani said if she could change anything in her life, she wouldn’t change much because everything she has been through has led to who she is today. “The strange thing about addiction is, if you’re in it, you don’t feel like there’s hope. But there is hope, and you should never give up. It took me four times to try before I finally got sober.”