Our eighteenth spotlight in the FACES OF HOPE: WE DO RECOVER series will focus on Kristi Roberson’s story, “LIVE, DON’T JUST EXIST.”
My name is Kristi Roberson and I am a person in long term recovery since July 23, 2012. I am a Convicted Felon, past thief, liar, manipulator, fighter, and a mess of chaos. I was so lost in being the worst version of myself. I had nothing. I was nothing. These things used to identify me, but today they don’t dictate who I am. I want you to know of what I was because I want you to know that people can move past their past. It is possible. There is always hope. Today, I am defined as a woman who tries to follow God to the best of her ability. I am a Mother, I am a Wife, I am a Daughter, I am an employee, I am a friend, I am a warrior for my life, and I do my best to be Hope to other people. Today, I get to strive to be the best version of myself. I get to make the choice to not settle today.
In active addiction, my life was based on terminal pain, it didn’t go away, just numbed. I was so scared to get help, because living this life of chaos was all I knew. However, I was able to get the treatment I needed, I learned how to cope with things I never even knew where problems that I had, made amends, looked at my resentments, learned how to effectively communicate with others, began to dream again, accomplish goals, found God, learned how to truly love someone aside from myself, and I was forgiven. I got a job as a Peer Support Specialist with Addiction Recovery Care and now I get to help encourage other’s to not give up on themselves and give back these tools that I learned. I get to give hope out to other people and they get to give hope back to me. It’s an ongoing process really.
My life is by far, not perfect at all, but Today, I love the fact that I can say, it is my life and I get to live, not just exist anymore. I get to find pure happiness and love in my daughter’s little laugh and when my husband holds my hand. My gratitude is restored daily by these simple little things that, as addicts, we weren’t able to cherish. God has restored me and my family in every way imaginable.
Recovery does not make life easy, however, it does make it easier and so much more purposeful.
Describe your “aha” moment: My “aha” moment didn’t actually come to me until after I got sober. I call this the transition between sobriety towards Recovery. I began sobriety due to fear of going to prison, of losing my Daughter, and my family. My sobriety date is July 23, 2012. That following December, I gave my heart to God and began working a Recovery program because I wanted to live. Since then, I’ve done everything I can to grow emotionally, not barely skate by.
Describe the feelings and emotions during active addiction: I had no feelings or emotions, aside from anger. I was angry because I wanted to stop and couldn’t. I was angry because I was scared, and being angry is the only “emotion” that society presents is “okay”. I was angry because I felt lonely, even with others. I had given up. I chose to be angry.
What is the driving force that keeps you going when times get tough? Times get very rough even in sobriety. Easy is not promised just because we don’t use substances anymore. Today, I keep going, because I realized that happiness is not found in my circumstances, things, or people. Peace is not found from other subjects, but from within. I rely on God because at the end of the day, he is one person or the one thing, that can’t be taken away from me. I keep going because I want to be able to be somebody different today, which means not giving up. I gave up on God, my life, my daughter, and my loved one’s too many times in the past, I want to stand for something today. We can’t give up that easy.
What is something that you want people who have never dealt with addiction to know? Don’t try to always understand everything about addiction. Even us addicts can’t grasp a profound understanding of why addiction didn’t discriminate against us. But know at the end of the day, we are people, and all people suffer-just in different ways. However, there is so much hope that is still available. Addicts aren’t bad people, they are just lost. So please, don’t judge. The stories you hear about addicts I’m sure are true, but most of the stories you hear are still so masked with pain. I encourage you to reach out to hear about the light that Recovery has brought to so many people’s lives. There is so much more to a person then their past behaviors.
What advice do you have for a person’s family that is still in active addiction? If you know someone who is struggling, put your pride down, put whatever fears you have of them or other family getting upset with you aside, quit judging, and get them the help they need. Don’t sympathize. There are two different sides to an addict, the person that you know is being blinded and the addict part of them is all that you can see. Empathize but don’t enable. The reality of the situation is, as addicts we either end up in jail, institutions, or in a casket. We can’t just stop, so don’t wait on us to “outgrow” our phase or “grow” up, because addicts can’t do it alone. WE CAN RECOVER, don’t give up on them, but remember you helping them can sometimes be enabling, so please reach out to other’s who can offer your family the tools they need to get their lives back.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Addiction Recovery Care at 606.638.0938 or visit them on the web at www.arccenters.com.
There is hope. There is help.