Demetria was born in Charlotte and has been here for 37 years. She’s looking to start school in January to study forensic and criminal justice technology (she says “I read in between the lines of everything”). She hopes to eventually move to a larger city like Atlanta.
The advice Demetria would give to her younger self is “when people show you who they are, believe them.”
Our talk took a much more serious tone after I asked Demetria to describe her perfect day. She started off mentioning things like getting up, feeding her kids and getting them off to school. Then she said “Just waking up and being alive considering my story and what I’ve been through…”
I asked if she felt comfortable sharing, and she said “I don’t have a problem with my story.”
“As a teenager I had abandonment issues. My mom left. My dad and mom both were heroin addicts. My mom actually passed away from a chronic illness when I was 23.”
“I chose the wrong path in life. Between the ages of maybe 13 and 16 is when I started dibbing and dabbing with drugs. I started out with just alchohol and marijuana. I started hardcore drugs at the age of 26. I started slowly but surely losing things in my life, and I still couldn’t admit that I was an addict. I didn’t feel I had a problem until, you know, you start sleeping on people’s couches and you have 3 kids that you have to take care of. I said ‘Ok Demetria, it’s time to get it together. It’s time to do something different.'”
“I did go to rehab. That didn’t work for me because I didn’t want to do the authority thing and be under somebady else’s rule. I do make meetings every day. I’m actually on my way to one at 2 o’clock. I have a sponsor that has a sponsor for them.”
“I live my life real simple today because I have to be mindful of my triggers so I won’t go back out. None of us are exempt especially if you have the disease of addiction. I have the traits in me from my dad and mom being addicts. I’m very aware and mindful of people, places and things.”
“Living a simpler life helps and taking one day at a time.”
Before we parted ways, I asked Demetria if there was anything we talked about that she didn’t want me to share. She said she didn’t have a problem with my sharing her story, and she expressed the hope that her story would help others.
It was a pleasure to meet you Demetria. Your abiity to overcome adversity with so much grace is inspiring.
Technical Notes: This photo was taken in natural light with no flash or reflectors.