It wasn’t until her 30s that Aimee got caught up in drugs. She was prescribed painkillers after an old knee injury started acting up. When the prescription would run out and the refills couldn’t come fast enough, Aimee and her husband, who had recently undergone back surgery, started smoking marijuana. “The first time I ran out of pills and had withdrawals, I thought I was going to die,” Aimee said. “You just want to fill it with anything. After a while, I got tired of feeling (blah), and I wanted something to make me feel up and active.”
A neighbor with a meth addiction moved into their complex. “I tried it,” Aimee said. “You don’t think your whole world is going to go upside down.” What started as a “weekend thing” turned into a full-blown addiction; they were spending $100 each day on methamphetamines.
Aimee’s four kids started noticing. “They knew something was going on,” she said. “At first I felt guilty. And then the more you get into drugs, the less guilty you feel. You become numb to it. When I look back on it, that’s what makes me sad. My kids got sucked into video games and their phones—they practically raised themselves for a few years. Why couldn’t I stop for my kids?”
Aimee became isolated, and rarely left her room. She stopped cooking and cleaning, and started pulling out her hair. Then, in June 2017, she had a stroke. “My husband got my kids from school and brought them to the hospital. I remember just telling them, ‘Mommy loves you.’ They were crying and asking what was wrong. I thought I was going to die. And I remember begging and pleading with God, making a promise: don’t let me die and I’ll stop. That promise was broken.”
Child Protective Services came to the house and placed her kids with family. Aimee entered the Lighthouse last April and cried all day during her first week. “Finally one night I got on my knees and just said, ‘God, please help me, please. There is just no other way. I have to do this.’ The next day, I couldn’t even tell you the joy I felt here. I was so in love with this place. I couldn’t get enough of it. It was like night and day. There is no other answer but God.”
Aimee graduated last month. “There is so much love in this place. It’s the love that all of us sisters have. It’s like home away from home. There’s always someone to talk to and … the staff are so encouraging. I’m almost sad that my time here is coming to an end.”
Aimee is considering going back to school for addictive studies. Her husband is in an outpatient program, and while he has had setbacks, which have been hard on their family, she’s hopeful. She said her kids are so proud of her now. “My oldest told me that with everything I’ve already accomplished, she will always look up to me. I remember how disappointed in me they were. I’m so glad that I’m now able to pick up those pieces. There are no more regrets. I wouldn’t have come to this place, and I couldn’t have built this foundation. I had to get myself better before I could take care of my family.”