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  October 16, 2009      
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Amber Saccoccio

"My Story is about Strength."

I started using drugs at the age of 13. As soon as I took my first drink and hit of pot, all I wanted to do was get and stay completely wasted for the rest of my life. As far back as I can remember, I had very low self-esteem. I hated myself actually. I never felt right in my own skin. Getting high allowed me to escape from myself. I also developed a habit of cutting. Self-mutilation became another escape route.

By 16, I was using prescription pills, drinking heavily and smoking pot, using psychedelics and cocaine - daily combinations. My relationships with family and friends were disappearing. I stayed intoxicated throughout high school, continuing my self-mutilation. It was also at this age that I was invited to a party by a friend, got wasted, blacked out and was brutally raped there. I spent months in the hospital. I truly wanted to die and my drug abuse increased.

My self-hatred grew, I thought I needed to get further away from myself, and I did my best to do just that. Before long, at the age of 18, I was homeless and in an abusive relationship, smoking crack cocaine and shooting heroin, which quickly became the "love" of my life.

Finally, after multiple overdoses and getting arrested more times than I can count, I hit bottom at the age of 20. I was detoxing from an enormous heroin addiction from the inside of a jail cell and facing years in prison. I know now that if I hadn't been arrested this last time and sent to jail I would be dead. The amounts and combinations of drugs that I was using was a deadly recipe. If not for my higher power, I would not be here to tell my story today.

And by the grace of my higher power I was given a second chance. I was released from jail and placed in Ulster County Community Correctional Program, and from there sent to R.C. Ward Addiction Treatment Center. After completing that program, I was given the opportunity to attend outpatient treatment at Bridge Back in Kingston and live in a sober halfway house. I slowly learned how to live again, if not for the first time.

Right now, I am one year and two months clean and sober. I attend Alcoholic's Anonymous and Narcotic's Anonymous meetings regularly, and am still attending Bridge Back. I've gained so much back in my life now that I'm sober. My friends and family are proud of me, and I'm slowly starting to love myself. I'm doing the things that I love, things I stopped doing a long time ago such as drawing and painting, playing guitar, hiking, and writing poetry. I plan on going back to school to major in graphic design and picking up ballet again.

I can't forget my past and I can't change it, but if it weren't for my past I wouldn't be who I am today. I live and I learn. And right now I am learning how to live everyday, just for today. My name is Amber and I am an addict, but I am strong.

My name is Amber, and my story is about strength. What's Your Story?


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