Employee Success Story
A Story of Resilience: CeCe Shares Her Recovery Journey!
by Savannah Lee
I was raised by my grandmother, because my mother left when I was 6 months old. She took my brothers to Michigan, except for Jay and I. My father was locked up until I was 13, so I dealt with a lot of abandonment issues. I experienced sexual abuse from a very young age, so I was incredibly angry and had to learn how to protect myself. This was quickly distorted, because I was trying to find an outlet. I hung out with the wrong crowd and started to act up in school, started smoking when I was 11. Smoking was the first time I ever felt ease or comfort. Regardless, I was a straight A student, part of JV Basketball and Varsity Field. But I decided to move out at 17 and became very rebellious to any law. I didn’t go to school. My boyfriend at the time was selling cocaine, and I got pregnant and then found out he was cheating. I started using cocaine to cope, along with Xanax, but even that wasn’t doing enough for me. Once my Dad got out of prison I moved in with him, and my stepmom was using meth. I tried it and fell in love. My son was 2 at the time, and Dad got locked up again when I was 19. I was still dealing with so much abandonment and rejection. My use got so bad that I almost overdosed, but then I got pregnant with my second. I stopped for him. But then, I was in the hospital, and I couldn’t stop moving, couldn’t sit down, that was the first time that a doctor prescribed Xanax. My Xanax use got really bad then, I was popping them every time I would feel anything. That continued for a few years, until I met a guy who was doing meth. I was quickly back on it. My life became unmanageable, I couldn’t afford rent and I lost my babies. I tried so hard to get them back and I just couldn’t. I did everything I could to stop using, but just couldn’t do it. When I got the call that my son would be placed with my Mom, I lost it. I was delusional, suicidal and homicidal and in an abusive relationship that made things worse. I was totally done. Somehow, I ended up barefoot in 40 degree weather, seeing things that weren’t there, paranoid, laying in front of this health food place, curled in the corner to cover my feet. Next thing I know, there’s a flashlight. It was a security guard.
He asked if he could help me. I wanted to quit. I asked him to please call the police. At first they were just interested in where I got the drugs, but then they realized that I really needed help. They took me to the hospital.
So many different people came in, but then someone came in and said they couldn’t do anything, and they had to discharge me. I had a warrant, so the police took me to jail. I didn’t even know what the warrant was for, but then my lawyer told me it was for hot checks. They released me pretty quickly. When I went home, I was determined not to use again. I thought I could just drink and smoke. But that spiraled again, and I started using intravenously. Soon, I ended up in state prison. I had to have the State of Texas think for me, I couldn’t think for myself. A counselor in the prison asked if I thought I had a drug problem. I didn’t know what to say, so the warden put me in the program. It was the best decision anyone ever made for me. I told my story. I shared everything. I had set such a great example of what a person was supposed to do in the program that they made me the president of the pod. But that was hard because I was in jail, I was supposed to be hard. Leadership was confusing and difficult, I didn’t feel ready for that responsibility. I didn’t want to go to the Chapel, but I decided one day to finally go. Before I even got into the Chapel I could hear the music, I started crying uncontrollably. All of that trying to be hard and bad went out of the window. That’s when I started forming a connection with God. I began to change my thinking. Then the recovery coaches from Houston started to come into the prison, carrying the message. When they walked in, I was so inspired by how they had totally changed their lives. I decided to go to Houston. I came here with nothing but my Bible. I went straight into Santa Maria Hostel, I was one of the first girls they took in. I was kicking and screaming the whole way, because my brain kept wanting to get back to my kids. That was my crutch. But I couldn’t be a mother right then. To be a mother I had to get better. I spent 65 days at Santa Maria, and then transitional living at the Recenter. I worked the steps with a sponsor – I’ve been clean now coming up on 8 years. I bought a home, and I have a relationship with my babies. I have full custody of my son. It’s always hard, but this kind of hard is way easier than before. Now, I’ve been in the recovery field for 4 years. I get to give back. That’s the best part.