Your Story Matters. I am. We are. Recovery. blank
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  September 26, 2009            
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Vivian Velasquez

I am love.

I had used drugs since the age of 10. My first drug of choice was cigarettes. As I grew older, my addiction began to progress. It became worse when my father, my sole nurturer and caregiver, died. When my father died, my soul died with him. After that, my life was never the same. My mother never nurtured me and without my father to take care of me, I started using acid, drinking and partying. Eventually, I was kicked out of school.

During my teenage years, I went through many struggles. I became involved with gangs, was arrested and sent to a group home.

Later, I met men and was beaten and sexually abused. I was not able to return to my mother's home. Through my relationships, I had four children that were born addicted to drugs. I never had the experience of bringing any of my children home from the hospital. Three of my children had jaundice and they were all left in incubators because I used drugs and never thought about the consequences of my using.

By living at a shelter with my children, I was able to eventually leave the shelter to find my very first apartment where I now live today. It was at this apartment that my life began to turn around. A woman from the women's empowering program knocked on my door. For the first time in my life, I was doing something for myself and as a result was beginning to open up to other women and found that I was not alone and I was not unique.

I graduated from the program, went back to school at the age of 29 and fell in love with the man that is now my husband. I am now celebrating over 12 years of marriage and more than 13 years in recovery.

I graduated from college and became a community leader. I am enrolled in a CASAC-T program and am looking forward to becoming a certified counselor to help people struggling with the disease of addiction.

I have respect for myself as a woman. I have integrity. I care about what you think about me today. I have a resume with credentials.

My first grandson was born in 2008 and the gift and beauty of that is that I can be for him what I wasn't for my children when they were born. I can also teach my children what a gift a baby is and help them to understand the happiness that children can bring. Children should always come first before anything else.

 

 
   

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New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
1450 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203
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