Experiences Worth Sharing: Amber’s Story

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

“My story starts as soon as I was born, my parents were both addicts, Mom used during my pregnancy and I was born early not very healthy, needed to be in the NICU and then shortly after my dad who was in the air force got dishonorable discharged due to using drugs on the base.

That started the journey of homelessness until about age 4 when they asked my grandma to babysit and never came back. During the years with my grandma I grew to fear my parents and vowed never to be like them.

I was exposed to a new life full of money and opportunity that all came with a price, physical and emotional abuse. This is when my belief system was founded and until just recently didn’t know how wrong it was.

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

I was raised to believe you had to be a certain size or you would not be loved or accepted or successful, I was a good student in a private school, played sports, danced, acted, played piano, and loved to draw in all areas I won awards and excelled but I did it with out the support of family as the material things always came first.

I started to push back wondering why I was not enough still what more could I do, and then came home one day to all my things packed and stated I would discover what family is since I wanted one so bad. This started my journey of my grandma paying out of pocket to foster home, group homes.

I was still stuck in an unhealthy connection of trying to please her trying to be enough physically getting sick worrying and stressing and just not knowing why I didnt ever measure up.

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

When I was 17 the journey came to an end I was told I was a waste of money and never coming home and found myself alone homeless and so I turned to the easy life, drinking on the weekends trying to fit in with the cool kids so I could have somewhere to stay.

Starting on a path of allowing boys to mistreat me and became easy, I hated it and begged for something to change or for it to all be over.

I then met my 2 oldest kids dad and I loved him and knew that God had answered my prayers I had found someone who could and wanted to love me and I was going to have my family and everything would be ok.

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

Shortly after having my daughter He started using and things got really ugly fast I stayed for almost a year thinking I could save him love him enough and we had our daughter that things would get better, it wasn’t until he choked me out and I knew I was going to lose my life or my daughter, we had plans to go see his sister graduate in California so made a plan to go and stay with his mom.

While there learned I was pregnant with my son and I knew I needed to do something, thinking that I was enough I told him that I wasn’t leaving with him but that once he got into drug court and started doing what he needed to I would come home with our daughter and he could be apart of the pregnancy with our son.

Instead 2 months go by, he married someone else and his grandma informed me that my dream of family was over.

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

I was crushed and kept hearing my grandmas voice in my head; “You’re not enough you let yourself go no wonder he cheated no wonder he left… you’re fat, you’re not good enough.” But I knew I had to be there for my kids so I did the best I could working, traditions holidays birthdays etc.

I met my husband a couple years later we had a son and I again thought I had found my happy ending, but things were up and down and I just battled in my own head of why I wasnt good enough trying to be skinny trying to be whatever it was going to take.

Things were falling apart yet again he left our son my first ex came and took my other 2 and I found myself alone in my house just wanting to die and believing the world would be better with out me. But every attempt was a failure.

God wouldn’t let it be the end.

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

I found my addiction at the age of 34 started with heroin and meth and I felt home, its like all the chaos and pain and hurt went away and I had finally discovered the missing piece.

I then got in a cycle that I couldn’t get out of… I hated myself for becoming my mom and letting my kids down and the guild and shame I felt every time I tried to sober up was almost to much to bare.

It was like I couldn’t breathe and just needed to make it go away.

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

I went through cancer and that wasn’t enough to stop my homelessness on the streets. Burned all my bridges; hated who I was in the mirror and what I had become; and knowing that I was living in the basement of hell and using my soul as payment for shelter there.

Finally this last time in jail, i just knew I had to do something different I had a really scary overdose and was alone living out of my car and my daughter had said to me that she was almost 18 and that the fear her and her brothers had when mom didn’t answer, was that I was dead somewhere and that she had come to terms with the fact she would probably bury her dad but she didn’t want to have to bury both her parents and that she was going to pack up and move away and not tell me.

I knew I was going to lose her and my boys and it wasn’t fair to them… & I didnt want to die…

Photo Courtesy of Amber Bride

So when I committed to accepting treatment, I made the decision to relocate and to make sure I was at 110% and doing everything I could to get things right.

I am 38 and could never before say that I loved myself or had self worth or even believed I was good enough or deserving.

Today, at 39 years old, I know I am enough and love myself with 29 months of recovery.

This has been by far the hardest year and its taken all of my recovery family Gods hand and my hard work to get me here. But I know God has a plan for me and He blesses me everyday.

Things do get better and even on my hard days today life is simple I just walk with God and don’t pick up, I acknowledge my feelings and I know I have people who will pick up the phone and show up for me. Thanks for letting me be apart of your journey and for being a part of mine.”

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