Kim Hinton

I started using marijuana, alcohol and cocaine to hide from the pain.

Who Am I

Who am I? I’ve been told by many that I am a strong woman. They say that I am loving, friendly and cleaver. I’ve heard it time and time again that I am a great mother.

Who am I? No matter how often I am told of the goodness in me, I sometimes feel that is not enough. I used to strive for perfection, but today I will just do my best.

Who am I? I am a woman of substance. I am someone’s best friend. I have learned to listen to the sound of nature and appreciate what it has to offer. I know the pleasure of watching a flower bloom. I love serenity. A spiritual awakening is taking place. I am growing.

Who am I? I am so accustomed to losing. I struggle to win this battle. I get restless and long for some relief. It is a kind word from neighbors and friends that enlightens me. I know that after difficulty comes ease.

Who am I? I yearn for peace and tranquility. Am I the only one? Of course not, the world is filled with angels who are ready, willing and able to help ease my mind.

Who am I? Sometimes I wonder am I the person that society wants me to be. I understand that an opinion of me is not my reality. I am happier just being me.

Who am I? I am the one who recognizes my purpose. Although sometimes I feel that I am not able. I will not flee. I am one person, loving one God and living one day at a time.

I started using marijuana, alcohol and cocaine to hide from the pain.

My name is Kim Hinton and I am the proud mother of two children and one grandchild.  I am the youngest of four siblings and my story began at the tender age of thirteen.  I grew up in a home where drugs and alcohol were readily available to use and distribute.  My mother suffered from depression and self medicated on prescription drugs.  She did not know how to show love so I was left to raise myself.  I felt total abandonment.  I was subjected to physical and mental abuse from family member and strangers.

I started using marijuana, cocaine and alcohol to hide from the pain.  There were no limitations to my coming and going, so I started date older men.  This behavior continued on until my early twenties.  I finally decided to marry and have children.  The thought of bringing new life into this world was enough to stop my destructive behavior.

I ended up in a very abusive marriage but was able to stay clean for ten years.  I sought help from a charitable organization and found safe housing for my children and me.  They helped me with my employment search, legal and childcare assistance and guided me all the way until the divorce was final.  My struggle was hard.  I had no idea that raising children on my own would bring me to a life of depression, desperation and homelessness.  In order to cope, I resorted back to the one thing that I knew and that was drugs and alcohol.

I isolated and started using marijuana again, then alcohol, then cocaine.  I was quickly back to my old self.  Only this time, it was not enough.  I needed more.  I needed something stronger.  I just had no desire to live.  Someone introduced me to a new high.  It was crack cocaine.  I went from a responsible, productive, loving mother to an addict who could care less about anyone or anything.  My children were neglected.  I lost my business.  My car was repossessed.  I was evicted from my home and hit a bottom in my life that left me in total despair.  After all of this, I could not stop using.

It was September 26, 2003.  I called on my eldest brother and admitted that I had an addiction and I was ready to face it.  I checked myself into a 30-day treatment facility.  Not knowing what I was facing, I was subjected to other addicts (male and female) some just recently released from prison.  This experience was enough to shake some sense into me and I immediately became obsessed with the history of this drug called crack cocaine.

Fear set in when the time came for me to return to society.  I did not know how to cope with my pain.  I had not had the opportunity to address the issues that caused me to use in the first place.  I was scared out of my mind.  A counselor offered me extended treatment in a residential facility for women.  I could stay up to one year but could not bring my children along.  With no other alternatives, I accepted.  I knew that if I did not get the help that I needed then relapse would surely come my way.

The facility was immaculate.  Catholic nuns ran it and they had a very strict program.  Expectations were very high and on-site counseling was made available.  I worked a 12-step program and started to feel a sense of hope.  The only thing missing was the presence of my children.  They were also in need of treatment for the shock and trauma that I had inflicted upon them.  My children were fortunate enough to remain with family members and had great therapists who worked closely with our family.  I wished that the therapy could have continued longer in order to allow them time for proper healing, but we were limited because it was funded by the state.  They are actively involved in my recovery and have taken a strong interest in helping me in my mission.

As a graduate of the treatment center and the residential facility, I can now address the loopholes in the current existing treatment structure.  My fears of being judged are no longer.   I have a vision that will not allow me to sit by quietly.  I am highly motivated and dedicated to giving back what was so freely given to me.  I know that sharing my ideas and feedback can, in some way, help those who are still suffering.

My story is not unique.  Many tell it, over and over again.  Families are torn apart because of posttraumatic stress syndrome, abuse, neglect and addiction.  The only concern that I have is when will we begin to treat the family as a whole.  Individuals have gone through 30-day treatment facilities only to lose what they’ve gained to relapse.  My plea is to stress the importance of family based treatment.  It has been proven that family treatment is a reasonable cost-effective approach.  The cost of incarcerating a substance abusing mother and placing her children in foster car are far more significant.  If this treatment structure is offered and made available to every state in this country, them my vision of healing families will stand a chance.

I will continue to be a part of the extended support groups whose focus is to help heal and stabilize families struggling with substance abuse.  I am most thankful for the opportunity given to me to recover and will forever maintain a spirit of humility in order to make this happen.  It is my hope that improvements are made to allow every family the best opportunity to heal and recover.