“I just wanted to fit in with my friends,” she said. This was the beginning of a rocky journey, for which Liller, now 40, took her to very dark places and made her a completely different person.
“With a name like Honesty, I would lie, lie, lie,” she added. But when she was 26, a phone call to her father made her realize the “living hell” she had been through with her family. Then she decided to turn for help.
CNN spoke to several adults who started using drugs as children but managed to change their lives. Here are some of their stories.
“It made me not feel”
While in high school, Liller said she experimented with several drugs, including cocaine. She started using opiates when she was prescribed after a car accident at 16 and started using heroin at 17.
“It simply came to my notice then; it made me not feel. “I had some kind of childhood trauma and I’ve always had problems with my body image, and all these drugs just filled those gaps for me as a young girl and a teenager,” she said.
She did not stop even when she became pregnant three years later and her daughter was born in retirement.
“All I cared about was getting heroin. That’s all my brain cells could understand because I got so sick and had so many withdrawals,” she added.
Now she is trying to help those who suffer like her.
“Kids are dying, getting younger and younger, so just be careful who you walk with,” she said. “I’m just one of the success stories I’ve been able to handle. But I’ve had a lot of damage to my body, my soul, my family and the people around me because of my addiction.”
She said parents should also connect with their children and be patient and open. She encourages them not to give up and find an organization to rebuild their child.
“Nobody trusted me”
Katie Morrow was in second grade when her parents divorced. She said she withdrew without wanting to make her mother’s life difficult. By high school, she had started experimenting with drugs.
“I really want to reach out at this point in my life and ask someone for help or tell someone what’s going on with me,” she said.
Morrow said she initially started using drugs out of curiosity and because she wanted to fit in with her friends. But while in high school, she found that it relieved her depression.
One day, when she was 21, her mother sat down with her and counted the hospital bills for all the cases in which she had overdosed.
“My family hated the way I lived and the choices I made. Nobody believed me. Nobody wanted me around,” she said.
Two years later, she stole her family’s credit cards and fled to Mexico. After her mother took her home, she decided to press charges against Morrow. The court then forced Morrow to seek help. “My long-term plan was to complete the program and then return to drug use,” she said.
However, once she was in the program, she began to be evaluated. “I’m starting to see that this is something I want for myself. This program really changed my life,” she said.
“Now I’m so different from the person I used to be that I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story and I don’t recognize it anymore. And I’m so grateful I understood that,” Morrow said.
Her path “causes a lot of heart pain and a lot of pain to people,” she said.
Life can be difficult at times, Morrow said, but drugs or alcohol will not solve these problems. These substances’ can make you forget about (your problems) temporarily, but it will never solve things and in the long run it will only make them worse, “she added.
“Take me down a really dark path”
Dixie Lewis started drinking alcohol and smoking weed in high school. But when she was 16, she became acquainted with prescription pills. As she moved away from her home at 19, she began using heroin, which was cheaper than the pills.
After repeated overdoses and hospital visits, she decided to seek help and has been recovering for two years. Now, at 26, she has her own house and custody of her young son.
Lewis said children do not always realize who they are surrounded by. “Trying to fit in is not always the key to success. For me, it took me on a really dark path,” she added.
Support your children, she said, and don’t turn your back on them.
In the “grips of addiction”
Bailey Darbaker lost his mother when he was 10 years old from lung cancer. During this time of emotional turmoil, he began taking opiates when he was 11 years old. And although he managed to get through high school with college credits, he didn’t think he would succeed.
Darbaker said he had spent years in legal trouble and was thrown into prison systems because he could not break free from the “grips of addiction.” He is now 24 and is in recovery and in a long-term relationship.
His advice to children is to “separate from the people who will lead you” to use drugs.
“I was trying to orient myself in my own life”
Ashley Novakowski’s brother used several different drugs, including prescription pills and heroin, while in school. He was in and out of prison and her parents sent him to rehab centers, but nothing seemed to work for about 10 years.
Novakowski says her home life was chaotic when she was a teenager, as her parents tried to help her brother.
“As a brother or sister, it was really hard because I was trying to orient myself in my own life, but my parents were so focused on it all the time that I didn’t have any support from them. So, somehow I felt a little neglected. not that they wanted to do that, “she said.
Now Novakowski is training students, parents and teachers in substance abuse prevention.
She said that when children choose to use drugs, they do not realize that it hurts siblings, parents, grandparents.
“When faced with this choice of whether to use this medicine or drink this drink, think about how this choice can affect the people who love you,” she added.
How to prevent addiction and get help
The reasons why children become addicted can control the range.
Bucknell University psychology professor Judith Grizel, who once battled addiction, is a behavioral neurologist who studies the causes of addiction and the role of stress in addiction. She says that sometimes teenagers just get bored and look for something risky to do.
“The quickest way to fix this is to come up with ways to help children deal with stress and find developmental ways to try new things and take risks,” she said.
Jessica Lahi, who struggled with alcohol addiction, now teaches parents and teachers how to prevent substance abuse.
To combat these stressors, she said it is important to start talking to children about these issues when they are very young and to always have open lines of communication.