My first addiction was stealing. I remember being 5 years old and stuffing a Mars bar down my pants. I walked out of the store with my step-mom and it slid down my leg onto the pavement. She had me bring the chocolate bar back to the cashier. I was humiliated and ashamed.
But that didn’t stop me. I stole again.
When I was nine I was brought home in the back of the police car for stealing another chocolate bar and pink ballet tights. My dad gave me a spanking.
I was arrested when I was nineteen for stealing Clearasil at Walgreen’s in Miami. I spent the night in the downtown jail.
I was arrested again at twenty-nine for stealing a pair of Lucky Brand jeans at Bloomingdales at The Beverly Center.
I felt entitled.
It was also my way of escaping from whatever I was feeling.
An uncomfortable emotion would come up and I’d run to Ralph’s and stuff unpaid-for cupcakes into my mouth, or trays of fake lobster in the aisles and I’d hide the empty remnants behind the toilet paper.
I hated myself for this behavior but I couldn’t stop. It wasn’t until I got sober, in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, where an addiction to alcohol led me, that I stopped stealing.
I never thought it was possible. To pay for what I wanted, to walk out of the store and be able to look the checker in the eye, to not hate myself, to learn to love myself in a way that I never thought possible.
Today I am able to sit with those uncomfortable emotions. It is not easy. I have to watch myself. But sobriety has given me the tools to live the kind of life I’ve always wanted to live.
To not steal and learn to live in a sober way with dignity and grace is incredibly rewarding.
If you or someone that you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, please call or text us. We can help you.
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