My name is Maetta Broadus, and my road to recovery began over 23 years ago on July 5, 1992. My last day of using drugs and alcohol was February 10, 2007.
Between July 1992 and my sobriety date, I recorded 19 different dates in my attempts to remain sober. That vicious cycle of one more attempt and one more failure is a relevant part of my recovery process. In 1992, I realized that my $1,500-a-day habit was a problem. I finally realized I could no longer maintain self-control and had not been able to for the previous God-only-knows-how-many years.
Alcohol allowed me to escape the turmoil and torment of my own perceptions of being an ugly, poor, non-virgin, daddyless rejected little girl. It allowed me to live with myself in this cruel world.
I was born into an impoverished, single-parent family where alcohol was an acceptable commodity. That, and having memories of molestation from the age of two, I used drugs and alcohol to cope and to be brave. Alcohol allowed me to escape the turmoil and torment of my own perceptions of being an ugly, poor, non-virgin, daddyless rejected little girl. It allowed me to live with myself in this cruel world.
In the first and second grades, I would drain my lunchbox thermos and fill it with alcohol from discarded bottles in alleys behind the liquor stores and taverns on my way to school. To my thinking, I gained self-control at age nine by going to the library, where I learned about virginity and sex. I looked for ways to make the most of my experiences of past molestation. At age eleven, I decided to take control by becoming a prostitute.
In elementary school, my disruptive behavior had caused me to be expelled from the third, fourth and sixth grades. When out of school, I would walk around different neighborhoods and sneak into peoples’ homes to find liquor to satisfy my craving for alcohol. At the tender age of eleven, I was a petty thief, a prostitute-in-training and was experimenting with any mind-altering substance I could find.
By the time I was twelve, I was a full-blown alcoholic. As my profession grew and I made more money, drinking wasn’t enough. I needed something stronger to shore up my defenses. I supplemented the alcohol with men, money, marijuana, speed and acid.
I believed I could become normal if I could love someone who loved me back. A childhood friend was growing up to be so cute. Alcohol and weed were his best friends. We fell madly in puppy love. Yes, this can work for me and get me together, I thought.
I became pregnant at 14. For the first time in ten years and for the whole nine months, I did not put any alcohol in my body; I delivered a healthy baby boy. To celebrate, my baby’s daddy brought me a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine, which I quickly drank – even before I had held my baby. I thought that was normal – to celebrate!
Now that I was a mother, school was a hindrance. I felt grown-up. Because I had a habit to feed and a baby (my mom took care of), I needed to work. I quit school to work at a bar and grill nightclub. I brought bottles of expensive liquor home, and the patrons made me propositions I couldn’t refuse. Needless to say, I got fired.
However, I had discovered a new group of potential clients. All I had to do was dress up and go to the nightclubs. Drinking, drugging and dancing were luxuries I enjoyed while getting paid to perform services.
I needed more money so I could afford the expensive tastes I had acquired through my business – a business that was dwindling because I had developed a reputation for being a drunk and a thief. Stealing cars and selling them out of state brought good money for a few months. Suddenly, I had a moment of clarity in the midst of the madness: I needed an education so I could teach my baby not to give up on life.
At 18, I went back to school and graduated when I was 21. My son was six. A year later, I married a man who was my mirror image; though his disease was hidden while mine was very apparent. He supported my addiction until he realized it was more than he could afford. I had his two babies and continued my habits of alcohol and weed. When I was able, I snorted cocaine; then I began smoking crack cocaine. My life went downhill from there.
I divorced my husband, starved my dog to death, sent my three children to Mama’s and ran hard. On top of my alcoholism, over the next six years I developed a $1,500-a-day crack cocaine habit.
I found recovery through the back door. I had tried doing it “my way” for so many years and in so many different ways, but nothing had worked. I had cheated, prostituted, lied, stolen and kept secrets. I had been closed-minded, egotistical, paranoid and filled with self-hatred. Last but not least, I had held onto my past.
Someone suggested I get a mental assessment. Apprehensively, I followed through with this suggestion and found a foundation for my recovery. I received five years of effective professional counseling.
After I had four-and-a-half years of continuous sobriety, my ex-husband died. I relapsed for one day. Not even $3,500 worth of crack and liquor could console me or give me the high I was seeking. On February 8, 2007, I finally learned that being truly high meant feeling the effects of life on life’s term without any mind- or mood-altering substances. I accepted and surrendered to my innermost self that I am an alcoholic. I chose to be who I am without any drugs or alcohol. Only a Power greater than myself could deliver me.
Everything about me has changed. I love me today. I love me some Maetta, just as I am. Exactly as I am! I have been reborn. That which was meant to dim my shine, instead brightened my future so others could draw strength from me. Today, I am under the influence of “Our Father Which Art in Heaven.”