ADDICTION: Crack cocaine, then Crystal Meth (ice)
STATUS: Active user
Michelle says she has been diagnosed with 10 different mental conditions, including PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, paranoia, and multiple personality disorder. (She says she rather enjoys all those other people). She has been homeless on the streets of Hamilton, OH, for four years.
Michelle grew up in Hamilton, OH, though her family has roots in Hazzard County, KY. Her family is dysfunctional by any measure, and she believes that her home life led her to addiction. Beyond her family, in her neighborhood older men who were child molesters “just seemed to seek me out, like I had a stamp on my forehead, ‘please molest me.’”At one point, Michelle was made a ward of the state. She had trouble concentrating in school but was regular in attendance until age 17. At age 17 ½ she was returned to “my family who never gave a crap about me.” By 18 she was pregnant. She didn’t marry the guy because “he was sleeping with everybody else in my family, including my 32-year old aunt who was dying of cancer.”
Michelle started using drugs after her first child was born. “I didn’t just wake up one day and say, hey, I want to be an addict. I had dreams, I had goals. I had two opportunities to be a singer, but because I was a ward of the state I wasn’t allowed to. I also had two opportunities to model, but as a ward of the state, I couldn’t.
“When I started using I knew the drugs would probably make things worse, which they did, but I didn’t know how to deal with the pain.” She kept a roof over her head for a number of years but was using while the kids were sleeping or off at school. Finally, she realized she had to give them up.
“I want my story to help others. Plus I’ve been told I’d be a great motivational speaker, and I think maybe I could.”