My name is Traycee Parker, and I am 60 years old. I have 4 children, and 1 of them is unfortunately deceased. I am a proud grandmother of 13 grandchildren, 1 grandchild, and quite a few nieces and nephews as well. I am the baby of 4 girls in my family. I lived a decent life, with many ups, and plenty of downs as well.
At the very young age of 8, I lost my mother, and by the age of 12, I had lost my father as well. My older sisters had to take care of me because there was nobody else. As a young teenager, I was curious about all aspects of life. I slowly started to stay out of the house more, made friends that were bad influences, and skipped school. I thought that was what I needed to do to be “Cool” at that time. I was hanging around the ones that I called the “Popular” and “Cool” kids at school. I wanted to get lots of attention like my friends got, but soon I realized that most of that “Attention” was because of them always being in trouble. Being young and dumb at the time, I wanted that attention, regardless of the consequences. I yearned for any kind of trouble I could get into, as long as it got me SEEN by others. My idea of trouble at that time was fighting, getting high, or whatever my friend group was getting into.
I eventually began smoking cigarettes and weed, just so I could look cool around my crowd of friends. One day I hit a joint my friend passed me, and I started to feel funny. I felt odd but very good at the same time. Eventually one of my friends told me that there was crack cocaine rolled inside the weed. I LOVED how it made me feel, so I continued smoking with them for hours. I continued using crack because I felt healed when I was high. It made everything bad disappear, if only for a few moments. I felt no pain, I remembered no trauma, and I didn’t have a care in the world. My drug use eventually progressed from a weekly thing to a daily thing, then pretty soon I needed it HOURLY! I now had no job, I quit my schooling, and my ENTIRE thought process revolved around getting crack to smoke.
I was jobless, nearly homeless, and penniless, and all I could think about was getting my crack for the day. Since I believed I had no marketable skills at the time, I began selling my body to men for my drugs. My sisters started to notice the drastic change in me, I was no longer myself. Everything about me had become unrecognizable. My attitude, my thoughts, and my looks were like meeting an entirely new person, according to my sisters. Everyone knew that I had a problem, but I denied having a problem.
As time went on I got tired and horrified of selling my body to others for money. ALL of the things that I vowed to never do, I had done. I felt like I was completely broken inside and out. I continued spiraling downwards until my family was pretty much done with me. They continued telling me that there was a better life out there for me, but I didn’t believe it myself. FINALLY, I agreed to go to my first rehab center. I didn’t like it at all but I stuck it out for 6 months, to appease my sisters. Once I got out I used crack a couple of times but remained mostly clean for almost 7 years. During those 7 years, I was doing excellent. I was going to meetings, working, taking care of my kids, and taking care of my home. All was well until one day when I got a phone call… The hospital called and told me to “get there immediately,” in regard to my son. By the time I arrived at the hospital, all of my sisters and my children were already there. When I walked through the hospital doors, my son was taking his last breaths. As I approached him, I passed out when I saw him hooked up to all the monitors. My insides were so twisted up by the time I came to, I felt like my heart was going to fall out of my body. I sprinted out of the hospital once I heard that he had passed and I just kept running. Seemed like I was running forever until I ended up at a liquor store. The next chapter of my life is fairly self-explanatory. I drank, and drank, and drank some more for a long time. I had eventually become a full-blown alcoholic. It took me quite a while to admit it and realize it, but I knew that I needed help this time.
A very nice lady had told me about a place called Meridian, which was a treatment center. I called the hotline number, and within 2 days I was packed up and off to rehab again. During my time there, my counselor told me she thought I needed more than a 30-day treatment program. 30 days can sober you up, but it’s not enough time to treat the underlying problems that caused me to drink. I was hesitant, but I knew that I needed a long-term program. It was then that my counselor called Grace Centers of Hope, and within 2 weeks I was all settled in at GCH. Again I was hesitant about being there, but I knew that I needed to change or I was going to revert backward again.
I have been here at GCH now for 2 months, and I couldn’t have made a better decision than I did by coming here. The staff is wonderful and caring, and the women in the program have become a 2nd family to me. I am beginning to enjoy being alive again, I can’t remember the last time I truly felt that way. THANK YOU GRACE CENTERS, FOR GIVING ME HOPE!