Megan Kelley, Forever 22, is currently voiceless. Megan never thought that having fun using alcohol and drugs at an early age could lead to her incarceration or to her death at such a young age. If she were here to tell you her own story, here’s what I think she would have to say as her mother:
The summer after 7th grade, when I was 14, I thought having fun meant taking alcohol from my mom’s house to drink to have fun with my friends. During this same summer, I met a guy 7 months younger than me at the Appleton bus station. He had a diagnosis of bipolar. His mom really liked me because I “controlled” my new boyfriend and kept him out of trouble. Shortly after I met this guy, I started to have sex with him. As soon as my mom found out, she took me to the ER and she made me have a pregnancy test, as well as STD tests performed. The ER doctor gave me a Depo Provera injection, which made me gain 20 pounds. I wasn’t very happy with my mom.
In school, I typically did really well in math and science and average work in the rest of my classes. I loved to hang out with my friends and did so at every opportunity. When I first started experimenting with substances, I would sneak around with my friends smoking cigs every once in awhile. My mom hated cigarettes! Eventually I smoked pot with my friends and progressed to doing lines of coke. My mom had me drug tested and after failing several drug tests, my mom made me participate in an intensive outpatient treatment program. I still blew off my mom and I tried meth a couple of times, although I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like drinking alcohol, but I would drink to fit in with my friends.
Two days before I turned 16, my former boyfriend broke into our house while I was home alone and he raped me. I reported the break in but not the rape. I was embarrassed and I didn’t think people would believe me. There is a high correlation between trauma and substance abuse.
At age 20, I became addicted to Oxys. After a 4-year volatile relationship, I broke up with my boyfriend and started seeing another guy right away. Four months into this new relationship, my boyfriend died from snorting Percocets on November 2, 2013. After his death, I began injecting heroin. My small veins collapsed within months of injecting. I had to beg my mom to send me to detox. After detoxing I got so sick, I couldn’t eat or drink anything and was diagnosed with pancreatitis.
Financially, it was difficult to support my habit even though I made really good tips as a waitress. One of my friends I supplied to overdosed and lived and the police charged me with her overdose—even though I didn’t supply to her when she OD’d. At the same time, they charged me with 3 additional felony counts involving heroin. I was eventually sentenced and denied inpatient treatment for 9 months through the court system. Four months into my sentence, I used again, overdosed and died from heroin toxicity. I didn’t intend to die…yet it was always a great possibility any time I used.
I was a people pleaser and insecure. I wanted people to like me and I was attracted to others who made me feel good. I had a lot of friends, but the majority of us didn’t make good choices. One attribute that stands out about me is that I was always polite and nice to everyone I met, including police officers who would comment on how courteous I was. I knew that happiness is a choice and that it is the purpose in life. What people remember most about me is my smile, my laughter and my story telling. My family and friends greatly miss me. There’s not a day that goes by that my mom doesn’t think about what life would be like if I were still alive.
Written by Bev Kelley-Miller, Mother