It was 6:30 am in the morning as I lathered up my body in the shower. I felt relief because I knew I had another month to think about how I was going to get the money to pay next month's rent. My roommates had moved out, and I was fired from my job as an interior decorator, and I had a costly drug habit. Almost finishing my relaxing shower, I began to feel a sharp pain in my stomach. I had these pains before, so I didn’t worry, but then all of a sudden, it was striking me in my gut.
Was I getting stabbed I thought? I didn’t see any blood, but I felt like I had been shot or stabbed. I fell to the bottom of the tub and started shaking and contorting my body. My mouth was locked with fish lips, and my right hand was stuck like I was throwing up a gang sign or something. I lost control of my motor skills and started breathing very heavily.
The excruciating pain didn't go away, and it just kept getting worse! I turned off the water, and I had an audible scream. I couldn't help but yelp out loud again and again. Barely able to drag my body over top of the tub onto the floor as I crawled I shrieked, “someone help, please help!” Nobody came, so I somehow glided across the floor to the pile of meth I had lined up on the bathroom sink and quickly put it in a little baggie and hid it. Dialing 911, when they answered all I could say was hurry, hurry.
It started to really feel like I was going to die. I began to hyperventilate, and everything seemed to be turning black as my front door flung open, and the emergency services came in. I laid there naked, unable to cover my body with a towel. They asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital and for some reason, I said no, I don't know why but I didn't go. They told me I was hyperventilating from the pain and suggested I go to the hospital immediately.
I called my mother, whom I hadn't spoken to in at least 6 months, and thankfully, she was only a couple of miles away. She jumped in her car and raced over to my place; frantically, she said, “let’s go, please let me take you to the hospital!” “You look a strange color, Danielle,” she cried. She sped to the hospital, and we had to wait in the waiting room as there were 8 critical patients before me. After a few hours, I looked at my mother, and I said with droopy eyes, “Mom, I'm so sorry, I'm gonna die.” I almost immediately outburst in screams. I couldn't help but let out the pain by then as I was reaching limits I could no longer handle. I was rushed into the surgery room, and that was all I remember.
I woke up, and I couldn't move with the tubes down my throat and nose. The surgeon had performed emergency surgery on my stomach, and without knowing what was wrong with me they opened me up went through all of my muscles in my stomach to find there was a hole in my stomach lining. I had been drinking and using methamphetamines amongst other drugs for fifteen years straight. My body was septic, and they had to suck the bacteria out of my guts with a vacuum and suture the hole closed in the stomach lining. I lay miserably in that hospital for one week, and only my parents came to visit me. It was the most lonely I had been ever in my life.
I was at a complete spiritual bottom, although I still didn’t know it.
Sulking with desperation, I walked into the pharmacy's office and asked the pharmacist, “is there anything you can give me? I can't drink coffee, I can't smoke cigarettes. I can't have caffeine, and I'm going crazy. Please is there something you do to make me feel better?” Thinking back now, I must have looked like half the other junkies that come in the pharmacy asking for an early prescription or for just one to get me by. I hesitantly still asked, “I wondered maybe if there’s something you can put on my skin to make me feel better? A lotion for pain?’ Oddly, I never got into pills and wasn’t sure what to ask for, but I knew I couldn’t take anything with my stomach and I was desperate. “Absolutely not!”, said the pharmacist as she gleaned through my empty soul. “There's a meeting next door, an AA meeting you need to go there they can help you!”
I had no idea what an alcoholic was and obviously was in complete and utter denial that I had a problem. I had been to AA for 90 days when I was in my early 20s, but I didn't pick up the fact that this disease of alcoholism was out to kill me and I had another way to choose to live. So, I rolled my eyes and marched over to the front door of the AA meeting the lady told me about not even thinking about what I was doing. I walked into the lobby; it wasn't my first AA meeting. I could clearly see that there was a meeting going on in the other room, but I started to focus on this woman, and she was hysterically crying and had two other women consoling her. I quickly thought to myself, I can't handle this. This is absolutely horrifying and knew this situation would not be the solution to my problem. And I walked right out the door not even looking back once. I mean, let's face it. I was only thinking about myself right now. I had not had a sober breath in over 15 years, and I was in panic mode because I didn’t know how to survive without it.
How in the world was I going to deal with this, I thought to myself as I drove over the Chatsworth Hills towards Simi Valley. At this point, I had lost my townhouse and was driving to a little trailer my parents had bought and put on their property because they couldn't relate to the way I had been living and were terrified of me living in their house. They lived deep in Moorpark, California, on a charming ranch with their horses and other animals. The trailer was actually beautifully nestled in the Hills overlooking the wineries. I mean it wasn't that bad, but I still was so miserable. The wheel in my head was spinning, and I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. But then in an instance, it was like some sort of miracle or out of body experience that came over me. I picked up the phone and dialed an old friend's number I had stored on my phone. Her name is Amy, and she picked up the phone and answered my call.
I explain to her what had happened to me recently at the hospital and that I had seen her on myspace.com and thought she might have gotten sober. We went to high school together, partied together later in life, and I used to buy my meth from her. But she was dry now and had been clean for a few years already. Amy directed me to meet her that very night in Agoura Hills at the bank meeting, an AA meeting. That night I drove cringing from not having nicotine or any substance to ease my mind but made it to the meeting. I had absolutely no strength left in me but could explain it later as being a spiritual higher power giving me the advantage to get myself there. I would have never gone with my own crazy thinking. I drove up there and saw beautiful smiling women, I thought to myself, I can’t walk in there. I was in so much fear. After all, I had a hole in my stomach, and my guts were pouring out onto my T-shirt, and my T-shirt was soaking wet in the middle from top to bottom. I sat in the front seat of my truck looking and staring, thinking, what would they think of me? I blew my stomach lining out! I was so gross, skinny, and felt ugly compared to them. I was at the lowest point of my life. But again the agony of getting out of my car was lifted, and I walked in the room.
There she was it was Amy with a big smile, and she ran up to me and said, “Danny, Danny. It’s Amy!” and she grabbed me and hugged me tightly, not letting go. “Dani girl, this is Lisa,” she introduced me to that gorgeous blond I had eyed before I came in. My eyes were filled with warm tears, and my face felt hot. I knew in my heart I hadn’t felt like this in decades, but I just couldn't understand at the moment what it was, but it felt good. I sat down and introduced myself, “Hello, my name is Daniella, and I am an alcoholic because I had been before and knew what to say. My heart kept beating hard, but I almost felt relieved as time went by. Glancing around the room, I saw so many familiar faces, and even if I didn’t know some of them, they gave me the impression we were friends already. I sat on my hands and didn’t once touch my wet shirt as if I was mesmerized by something.
Directly after the meeting a few of the gals took me out for dinner that night and listened to me talk, they just stared with bright eyes giving me the floor to unravel fifteen years of drug-induced psychosis all in a forty-five-minute period. I never questioned their comfort or once thought they didn’t want to be there with me, I knew something remarkable had happened. I had a spiritual awakening, and that night, I went home with the feeling of peace and love in my heart. I never even once thought about using or drinking. The next day I received a few simple phone calls from the girls asking me how I was doing. This was so encouraging for me, no one ever called to ask how I was doing, and it felt magical. It was like my heart was flooded with hope. I had never thought about the word hope ever before in my life. This was only the beginning of hope in my life, it was the very first time I ever really knew deep in my heart life might get better.
If you ever asked me if I would say the words “please help,” I would have responded with, go fuck yourself! Considering the amount of trouble I had always been in, I oddly never said it. That’s why I remember when I finally did. I had no idea that I might be dying from alcoholism and drug use or that anything was ever wrong with me. My story was I was just your classic fuck up drug addict that had a tough time telling the truth. I was full of stories that made me look like a rich girl that had everything, which I was the daughter of well off parents but that wasn’t even enough, so I had to make up more. The minute I put any cocaine in my body, I started talking about all the things I had and did. I really couldn’t help it, that was part of my narcissistic brain on drugs.
From the moment I snorted that line of cocaine in my early 20’s, I was absolutely in love. It was like I've been hit in the heart with a winning lottery ticket of euphoria and a feeling more significant than I could ever imagine. The dopamine felt like it traveled through my veins and excited me in every way, so I chased that high for 15 years. One thing you could have never told me was that I would be a girl who decided that she was going to go to any length to get that high and keep it. -