Jeanette (Northington) Finch

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My story starts off pretty bad from the start, but I know I’m not unique in that aspect.  Many addicts, clean or not, have suffered through some horrendous things.  Mine just happens to have started earlier than some of the others.

I grew up in a household from the lower middle class that was so abusive, sometimes I’m not sure how my brother and I made it through those days.  There was drama, abuse, tragedy and loneliness from the beginning, and I looked where most people look to find some relief and peace of mind.  Which was to actually start reading the bible at a very young age, and from that I found some brief interludes of sanity through my childhood.  And although I didn’t quite understand the whole of what I was reading, I caught the jist of it and continued to beg for some semblance of normalcy growing up.  So, believe it or not, there was some peace gained through the exercise of reading the bible.  But, I was too young to get the full benefits from reading and understanding what I was reading there.  Our family didn’t go to church, so a lot of what I read wasn’t enforced in the home.

Moving into my latter years, as a teenager, I truly suffered some things that I felt were completely unbearable, yet there I was…I had no one to truly turn to and this caused so much negative emotion to go through my not yet adult mind.  I suffered, I can say that, and I don’t want any sympathy, I just want to tell my story.  I acted out a lot growing into a young adult, there were some school suspensions and an expulsion, but still nowhere to turn for some time and my adulthood got no better.  I was on a path to utter self-destruction, without a care in the world, I exploded and imploded.  I couldn’t shake the feeling of rage and loneliness that ruled most every day I lived.  I made ALL the wrong decisions and came to an understanding of what I shouldn’t do through negative experiences and running from the horrible feelings I carried around daily.

My first foray into addiction started when I was finally out of high school and free to make a mess of the life I’d been given.  I really had no clue what I was doing either except running and running and running to find some peace and none ever came.  From the start, things ended badly, as they would for the next 20 years of my life.  I was in jails and institutions, and had known death, before I finally decided to quit active addiction seriously.  I only had only brief periods of sobriety here and there, but I really hadn’t found what I needed to find in order to settle the raging storm of my mind.  Again, I made all the wrong decisions and learning firsthand the things I shouldn’t do was the only way I could have possibly learned, that was my path, I don’t regret it…

There were a lot of positives to be learned from the things I went through whether they were of my own doing, or another’s.  The path I went on, and was lead through at times, is not anything I would change because I’ve come to know so many beautiful people and been given the opportunity to learn so many lessons that others miss in a lifetime.  This has made me appreciate so much more in life and to not hope for the things that just aren’t meant to be.  I get to volunteer with Not One More Pittsburgh too, which has been an awesome experience and I truly am glad to help others these days as opposed to looking for help from others.  To me, that’s a godsend…