by Karen Steelman

Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022


In life there are crossroad [where] we need to take responsibility for our lives. I went through the crossroad and chose the wrong path. I was supposed to die but by the grace of God I was given another chance. I have been clean for 16 months.

I have lived most of my adult life as an addict, I was governed by drugs. The end result was crimes, prison and poor health. I was so focused on getting what I thought I needed that I ignored most of the moral boundaries most people take for granted.

I stole, lied, scammed and robbed and in the end I was in the street’s twenty four hour’s a day looking for money and drugs. My life became miserable this resulted in a vicious cycle.

My pain was from childhood abuse, I medicated the pain with drugs. They made me feel better, but in the end the drugs drove me to the brink of death.

Now if I was to use street drugs it would be suicide. I still carry the pain of my childhood, it’s not always present but it arises from time to time. As a child I lived in a world of fantasy in effort to escape from my emotions fear, pain.

I have a disease it’s called addiction as I have been an addict all my adult life. I am powerless I hand my will and my life over to God, which has relieved me of trying to control things. It is up to God now – the results and footwork is up to me.

I thank God on a daily basis for my life and my recovery. I treat myself with respect and I love myself because I deserve it. I look at my behavior throughout the day. Today I’m more able to say I’m sorry. I forgive myself but not forgetting the crossroad and the path.