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SCARS: Amanda Ayers
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Wednesday, February 19, 2020
By Amanda Reed Photography

SCARS: AMANDA AYERS

 

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

 

Amanda Ayers

Age 39

 

I never dreamed I would wake up one day with absolutely nothing, but that’s where I was six years ago.  I had no home, no car, no job, no money, no self-respect, no meaningful relationships, no values, I didn’t even have my kids, but most importantly, I had no hope.  But the message that I have today is not to lose hope because we do recover. 

 

My childhood was relatively normal.  I was very anxious from early on.  I had friends but always had that less than, I don’t fit in feeling.  Over time, this feeling of not belonging grew.  I became so anxious that I eventually dropped out of school.  I always had this feeling like everyone was looking at me and talking about me.  I know today that no one is giving me much thought, and that is very freeing. 

 

I drank and did drugs pretty early on and was probably a little too interested in boys.  I did a lot of foolish things and made some horrible decisions.  I had plenty of moments where I knew that I had disappointed my family.  Even though I was smart and capable, I usually did just the bare minimum to get by.  

 

The turning point in my life was meeting the man that is now my ex-husband.  I don’t blame him for how things turned out, but our toxic relationship and other events set me on this course.  In the beginning, we were using prescription pain pills like Lortab, but this would progress to something way worse.  

 

We had 3 beautiful, incredible girls that were born within 3 years total, which I think created some post-partum depression.  Shortly before I became pregnant with my third daughter, my then-husband was injured in a mining accident, and the doctor prescribed him Oxycontin for the pain.  After my daughter was born, it was off to the races.  Bills weren’t getting paid; the house wasn’t getting cleaned. Eventually, the shutoff notices started arriving, and then the repossessions started. 

 

I think I knew pretty quickly that I had a problem.  I even tried suboxone early on.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that no medicine was going to be able to help me with my problem.  I saw everything crumbling around me and felt incapable of stopping it.  I felt sad, overwhelmed, and empty.  Even with my three beautiful girls needing

me. 

Everyone has their bottom, their final breaking point.  I would have thought the first time CPS took the girls, that would’ve been it.  The pain I felt that night at the realization of what I had just done was unbearable.  But it didn’t last.  The girls would be taken from me 2 more times.  The first time they were removed, I was pregnant with my 4th daughter.  I was separated from my then-husband, so this sweet girl has a different father.  The second time the girls were taken, my 4th daughter went to live with her grandparents.  They loved her so much, and she was so little and barely knew me.  We decided that it was best they adopt her, and I am so grateful that I made that choice.  They have loved her and given her a good life.  Every time the girls were removed from my home, they were placed in foster care. 

 

I did quit using drugs after the second time for a little less than a year.  Then I started feeling those depressed and overwhelming emotions that I couldn’t process or deal with.  I decided that I couldn’t do drugs, but alcohol was legal, and it would be manageable.  I started off with small bottles of wine, and eventually, I was buying the large boxes.  I think that alcohol may have even been worse than the drugs for me.  I was completely empty and broken, the house was gross, showering was optional, and I was not present for my girls.  I had a job for a little while but would show up smelling like alcohol because I would drink first thing in the morning.

 

I will never forget the last time the girls were removed from my custody.  I was so upset that someone would’ve called CPS on me again.  Today, I would thank that person.  This time the state made it clear they had no intentions of unification, basically a three strikes your out deal.  I had not done anything to help myself the prior two times, including any type of treatment.  My attorney fought for me, and my sister took me in and gently shoved me in the direction I needed to go.  My consequences were finally significant enough because this time, I finally realized there would be no more chances if I screwed this up. 

 

My sobriety date is May 22nd, 2014. Shortly after that, I went to a sober living house in Charleston, WV, and this is when I finallyfigured out what the problem was – she was staring at me in the mirror.  Then I discovered the solutions that would put me back on the path to sanity.  I worked on me and healing the brokenness with the help of some wonderful ladies.  I had never really known how to deal with any uncomfortable emotions and used alcohol and drugs to numb all of those things.  I completed the program and went on to phase 2 and stayed there for a little over a year.  I’m so grateful for this house because we were held accountable, and they taught me things that I had forgotten, like how to clean, cook for the girls, be responsible, work, and pay bills.  I was able to figure out who I was and how to be a productive member of society while learning how to be a parent to my girls.  While I was there, I regained custody of the girls.  It was not easy getting them back this time, and I am grateful for that as well.  I needed it to not be easy so that I would be humbled and never take them for granted again. 

 

My favorite thing to tell people is that I didn’t get my life back.  I got a new life that is so much more beautiful, rewarding, and full.  Had I not gone through everything that I did, I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

 

Today I have a job that I love, a beautiful house that I share with my handsome fiancé and my girls, healthy relationships with all of my family, and a strong support system.  I have four fantastic bonus kids.  We moved to Kentucky a couple of years ago so we could be an active part of their lives, and we love it here.  I recently went back to college to get my Bachelor’s in Business Administration with an anticipated graduation date of Spring 2022.  And I’m set to receive my Associate’s in General Studies this summer. 

 

Today I also have integrity, self-respect, self-worth, serenity, and a relationship with God. One of the best things I have is 3 beautiful, amazing girls that I am getting to raise.  I am definitely not the most amazing mom on the planet and have plenty of moments that I wonder if I’m failing.  But then I look at them, and I know that I can’t be failing because they are so amazing.  I’m grateful for their unconditional love.  I am blessed to be able to face-time my 4th daughter.  She calls me mommy and tells me she loves me, and it completely melts my heart. 

 

While every day isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, I have a beautiful life thanks to God’s grace and mercy.  Always have hope, anyone can recover. 

 

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