Carolette Sweatt

I HAVE BEEN AWAKENED

I have been awakened
but not just by mornings light
My soul has been set free
now my spirit takes flight
No longer am I the emotional prisoner
trapped in the bondage of addiction
Nor am I destined
for a life ending in addiction

I am just one who has made it through
Many still suffer and don’t know what to do
Addiction to Recovery — Bondage to Freedom
Who would have thought that I’d ever achieve this?

My purpose is now being fulfilled
No longer am I prey for the enemy to kill
Transforming into what God called me to be
Free from the chains to shine for all to see

I am African-American
I am female
I am momma’
I am free

“FAMILY TREATMENT REALLY TAUGHT ME TO LIVE AGAIN. NOT JUST EXIST BUT LIVE.”

Carolette started drinking alcohol at the age of 13. By the age of 16, Carolette combined drinking alcohol with smoking marijuana. She began snorting powder cocaine when she reached senior year in high school. During that time, Carolette witnessed her father’s death and then, less than five years later, the passing of her mother.

Without either of her parents alive, Carolette started selling marijuana and powder cocaine. But crack cocaine was everywhere, on every street corner and in every part of her neighborhood. She decided to try crack herself and she immediately became addicted. “I no longer was able to sell drugs; I became my best customer.”

Carolette’s addiction to crack cocaine consumed her. “The jobs came and went. There was nothing consistent in my life except using. I did any and everything to maintain my addiction on a daily basis. I stole merchandise, robbed people, and towards the end of my story, I used my body to get drugs.”

In her 23 years of using drugs and alcohol Carolette tried to get clean. At the age of 26, she went to detox for 7 days and then to a 30 day program. But the 30 day treatment program was too brief to address the deep, underlying reasons for her addiction. Carolette’s addiction progressed and she became pregnant with her first child. Shortly after her son’s birth, Carolette was forced into alley by a dealer who stood over her, with a gun pressed against her head. “It was then that I realized that I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I didn’t want my son to be motherless. I wanted him to have a chance.”

Carolette went to detox again, but this time she was referred to an 18 month comprehensive family-based treatment facility in Southeast Washington, D.C. At the family treatment program, Carolette and her son received intensive counseling, family therapy, and interactive child play workshops, and parenting classes. She and her son healed together from the years of Carolette’s addiction. Carolette finally addressed the demons that led to self-medicating with crack cocaine: sexual molestation, death, and loss. She closed her wounds and found the courage to believe in life again. “I went to the zoo for the first time. Simple things like that, that I was just too busy in my addiction to do. Family treatment really taught me to live again. Not just exist but live. Today I am at peace with each and everything that has happened to me.”

Carolette has achieved more than peace and acceptance. She currently attends Trinity College and is pursuing a major in Psychology as well as Religious and Theology Studies. Carolette’s son, Chance, is also thriving: “everyday and his every breath is a blessing to me.” She now celebrates two years clean.