April 2010 I very happily packed my Mazda 3 to its capacity and moved to Atlanta to pursue film. I very quickly got work being an “extra” on many films one of which was Footloose. Nearly everyday we’d meet for 12 hour shoots and we began to “really” learn each other… Who would want to play Mafia, who had a car, the part of town everyone lived in, what movies they’d been on, etc…
Well, today’s Sober Saturday post is by someone from my Footloose Family. Someone I learned basic things about while waiting to go to set… Someone who was always nice and always had a smile.
Emi is the one on the left… I’m on the right looking a mess!
If she hadn’t written this story I could’ve never guessed she was struggling with something SO heavy at such a young age. It’s an extremely inspiring story about a young woman with a backbone. Strong enough to make a man be a man!! I’m proud of her! And I’m glad she’s telling her story…
My story is not one of trials and tribulations. I do not know what it is like to be alone, feel hunger, or abuse. My goal is not to make you cry, but to bring to light how easy it can be for a simple young girl to get caught up in a whirlwind of bad decisions.
He was five. She was five. Pinkies were crossed, and a promise was made. A promise that they would one day get married, have babies, and be best friends forever. He was fourteen. She was fourteen. He cheerfully talked about his new girl friend while she desperately wished he was talking about her. He was sixteen. She was sixteen. She nervously sat by a tree in the woods as he rolled a joint. She declined when it was passed her way, but was terrified he would not want to see her anymore. He was eighteen. She was eighteen. The date she had always dreamed of, and the goodnight kiss she had prayed for finally happened! The end of that night marked the beginning of a relationship.
He was happy. She was happy. He would still roll joints, but, it was only weed. He would offer, and she finally began to accept. Remember, it was only weed. He opened her life to new friends, music, clothes, possibilities, ideas, and adventures. Every question seemed to have an answer. Till one day she came across a pill in a plastic bag. “It’s only Xanax. I need it because it calms me down.”, was his immediate response. She stayed quite because, after all, it was only weed and Xanax.
He was nineteen. She was nineteen. All the answers slowly became questions. Unanswered phone calls, deleted texts, and hostile conversations became part of their daily routine. She did not read the signs when his head was in the toilet every day. She did not understand why he quit his job. She justified why he had to live with her and her parents. She did it all gladly in the name of love. Surely he could not be doing anything terrible because it was only weed and Xanax. Every argument ended in her apologizing to him; for how dare she suggest he was on anything stronger. Even her friends were alienated if they mentioned the words “pain pill addiction.” She never thought to ask why he was so skinny, and finding him searching through her piggy bank like a mad man was no big deal at all. Remember, it was just weed, Xanax, and maybe, sometimes, every now and then, a pain pill. His compassion slowly turned to control. Control of what she ate, who she saw, and what she did.
He was twenty. She was twenty. He was getting his fix. She was sitting at her birthday dinner with her family making yet another excuse as to why he could not make it. Her innocence vanished, confidence shattered, faith altered, and heart broken. That night at one miraculous moment of what some people would call God, and others Fate happened. She experienced clarity for the first time in a long time. As she laid crying on her brother’s shoulder, the radio sang, “Everything’s gonna be all right. Rockabye. Rockabye.” She went home, packed his clothes, records, and every trace of the life they shared. She realized she could no longer follow down his path. She then said the hardest goodbye she had ever made. Trying months laid ahead. His addiction became worse, but her mind became more clear. She never regretted her decisions because they made her stronger. She realized addiction had stollen away the one she loved, and he was not coming back.
She finally let his actions become his responsibility. He hit rock bottom and slowly resurfaced. She, on the other hand, fell into the best kinds of addictions; she fell in love.
He is twenty three. I am twenty three. Only those close to him know about his well being. I however, am a mother, friend, sister, daughter, and companion. I love a wonderful man, and we are raising a beautiful daughter.
My story could have ended in tragedy, but thanks to friends, family, and a whole lot of prayer, my story is one of hope. Stories like mine do not happen every day, and I am extremely thankful. I am passionate, beautiful, and smart.
Most importantly however, I am alive.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY ADDICTION AND WOULD LIKE YOUR STORY TO BE FEATURED ON SOBER SATURDAY EMAIL JAMIEDREAMSBIG@GMAIL.COM!!