The light shines brighter through these eyes

Rebecca Uker
Tell us about your (or your loved one's) recovery journey. What has been the most rewarding part?

I grew up in a home full of alcohol, drugs, and abuse. My mom left at age 11. I often asked why she would have just left on Valentine's day and said she'd be back but never came home. The story we were getting (my sister and I) was mom left us for drugs, she wanted drugs more then us. So a few weeks before my 12th birthday I used a needle for the first time. I thought I was dying but once it calmed down hours later I knew I wouldn't be able to just stop. With mom gone I had to grow up quick. So I jumped right in with the older crowd and at age 14, I was in a relationship for six months where I was beat so bad by the person I was with my esophagus was halfway crushed and cigarette burns were all on my face. When I left the hospital I had to find my mom. So I did just that. When I found mom I never looked back. That was a rough time in my using years. Shortly after moving home I was put into foster care and learned recovery and meaning. I cried 14 months later when they let me go home. I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay at my new home, the one with stability and success. I dropped out after that and was successful alright but only at selling drugs. I became pregnant and married at 16. I have three kids and stayed sober long enough to give birth and get back to it. I tried heroin at the age of 23 years old. I've overdosed twice on heroin and had a heart attack from meth on August 28th 2019. After my heart attack everybody kept asking me, what's different this time, why is this time different. The only thing that I could say is the light shines brighter through these eyes. A week later I was picking my daughter up from her daycare at a church. She's four years old and she insisted on showing me the chapel that day. As we walked into the chapel my daughter went running up the rows to the stage and pointed up at this huge banner with a big butterfly on it that somebody had painted and on that banner it said "the light shines brighter through these eyes." I immediately started crying, because my four year old baby girl just showed me the sign. By the grace of God I am blessed and have made it this far. I have watched people be brought out of places in body bags, young people who haven't even tasted a good life. I have cleaned brain matter and bodily fluids out of carpet after medics left because all the fluids drained out of the ears and mouths after people close to me have overdosed. My heart hurts badly today as I see this epidemic grow stronger, these addictions expand and take everyone, because addiction does not discriminate. It will take your mother, your daughter, your children, your neighbor, your husband, your wife, your brother, your sister. If I can make a difference from here on out, if it's the last thing I do I want to share my story. I know that I may not be able to save everyone but if my story can save one person then maybe that one person, maybe their story can save one more person. It may be that person's story that can save another person. This is not by any means all of my story, but this is the beginning of my story. And I know today that the rest of my story, as long as I work daily on my recovery, in the end will be nothing like the beginning of my story.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

You may not be able to save everyone, but if you could save just one person by sharing your story, then they can save just one person and then that one person can save another person.