My Oxford Story Lashawn Faver Swindler
My name is Lashawn and I am an addict. I am a mom of 3 and a grateful resident of Oxford House.Milagro in West Columbia SC.
The earliest memory I have in lifeis my mom leaving me because she was young and also an addict.. This resulted in being raised by my grandmother. We had some messed up family members. I was molested for several years from at least the time i was 2 until my teens. My mom finally came back for me when i was 7 after my grandmother took ill. I thought moving away would stop the abuse but it didn't. My moms friends would come over get high and drunk and do things to me as well. She never believed me when i told her. She was very violent with me throughout school years. I went to school in tattered and alot of times dirty clothes. At that time we didnt have CPS or DSS to report things like that to.
I remember taking my frist drink at 8 years old It was some leftover Jack Daniels from the party the night prior. . I enjoyed the taste and the feeling. For the first time in my life i found something that would take away physical pain and mental pain. I drank to hide my fears and my feelings. It became common for me I drank every day. I hid it well. I was picked on all through school due to my appearance. I wasnt skinny by any means. I remember when i first started taking diet pills I was in 10th grade. I begin to "binge and purge". I just wanted to be accepted. Noone would hang out with me. Except guys. But only away from school and it had to be kept a secret. I humbly obliged. It was the attention I sought after for so long.
Fast foreward... I graduated high school by the seat of my pants... not that I wasnt intelligent. I tested into AP classes and scored very high on exams and the SAT. I went to college in 1992 and it was awesome. I had friends. I had boyfriends i was popular. I also was introduced to pot and acid... WOW! I was living! My grades were low. I only cared about partying. My boyfriend didnt party so i met some one who did. We got married a week later. He was a heroin addict which meant i was too.our marriage lasted a few months until he pushed me down a flight of stairs causing me to miscarry at 6 months pregnant. I moved back home. Met my 2nd husband a month later. I got pregnant again. We were married for a year. He left because I stayed out partyimg all the time. He was given custody of my daughter when she was 6 months old. I jumped right in to another mariage right after that. I partied harder and began doing cocaine crack and ice. Over our 20 year marriage I had 2 sons and my drug use got worse and more intense. I lost everything. In 2015 I left my home and my husband had enough. He told me dont come home. I didnt. I tried a rehab... left after a month moved home with my folks. Mom had cancer then and she died in 2016. For the 7 months before she died I managed to stay off meth. I still drank and smoked weed though. When she died i went out harder than ever. A few months later i tried rehab again. I stayed clean for about 11 months. I got a car i had finally seen my kids again for the first time in almost 2 years. And things were going well. One day i decided to go see an old friend and i got high. That was Feb 2017. I stayed high living in hotels and trap houses. Selling myself for money and dope. I was arrested in jan 2018 for possession. Missed my court date and ran. I was finally picked up on a bench warrent june 25th
2018. I served 6 months in Lexington County. It truly was the end for me. I got out went to a recovery house in Conway until June 2019. 2 days after my one year i drank. Thats when i decided to try Oxford house. I moved in to Oxford house July 2018 and I was amazed at the fact that there wasnt an overpowering house manager. I loved the fact that a group of addicts could live together and make a house a home. I was taught life lessons such as of I want it bad ebough I will work hard enough. I walked and took the bus for my whole first year in oxford. But I was determined to do something with myself. The other ladies in my house supported me by being there for me when i was in my head I was held accountable for my actions. I learned about how to hold others accountable. All my hard work paid off. I have a car now. I am seeing my children regularly. I have great people in my life that i would not trade for anything in the world. Oxford has also taught me about service work. I love helping people out. I was so selfish during my using days. It feels good to be generous. I hold several positions in Oxford House on SC State council and Chapter 3 council. It really makes me feel like I make a difference. I'm so grateful for the bonds. I am grateful for every one ive met along the way. I even have oxford family in other states. We truly are a family and i love the fact that no matter where I go I can find an oxford house and know I'm home.
My name is josh and I’m an addict and heres my story:
Before I came to Oxford House I had been homeless after getting released from jail again. I was living in an abandoned house and it was winter time. My day usually consisted of dumpster diving for food and candles as I tried to find a way to get high, which had stop being fun a long time ago, it was now a necessity. I didn’t want to live and I didn’t want to die. I just assumed that this was the hand I was dealt and I would just get high as much as I could until I died. And that’s just the way it was. I was completely out of ideas. The last idea I had was to go to the hospital and tell them I was going to kill myself. At least I could get off the streets for a couple days. They kicked me out after two days. My mother who had long given up on me( who could blame her) had a friend who was at an Oxford House. Oxford House was new to Alabama at that time and there was only one men’s house. I was accepted and moved in right then. I was just there filling a bed. I had no idea that my life was about to change in such an amazing way. I was told I had to go to meeting and get a sponsor. I didn’t know what all this was about but I was willing to do it because I didn’t want to go back to the street. I had just enough of me beating out of me to be willing to take suggestions and work the steps. Thank God for the guys in my house who were willing to help me like my good friend Fred. Then I went to my first Oxford House convention and I wanted to be of service. That experience changed my whole outlook on Oxford House. I started getting involved on the chapter level, helping other houses and new guys coming to Oxford House. Then I got involved on the state level and have been able to be of service to other chapters. My life is so full,I have peace, hope and purpose today. I’ve reunited with my family. I was the guy everyone had given up on. I was to far gone. But thanks to Oxford House who gave me a foundation to build a recovery program on, and a purpose, a chance to be useful, I haven’t found it necessary to use or drink to be ok with myself. Thank you Oxford House for my life
Adrienne Charleston Chapter story
They say “third time’s a charm”, and for me, that is true for my attempts at getting sober within the Oxford community.
My name is Adrienne, I am a recovering drug addict/alcoholic. My sobriety date is April 11th, 2020. I am currently a resident at Oxford House Selenite in Charleston. I have been a resident since I got out of treatment on October 7th 2020.
My first experience with Oxford was in January of 2019. I was surrounded by amazing, strong, sober women, in a beautiful home. However, I was unwilling to do the necessary things to stay sober. “Self-will run riot” as us alcoholics like to say. Which unfortunately led me back to the incomprehensible demoralization which comes along with addiction/alcoholism.
My second experience with Oxford was in August of 2019. I had been asked to leave a different sober living environment due to my unwillingness to follow direction, and let’s face it, a bad attitude. Oxford took me in when I had no other options, and the women in this house were just as amazing and strong as the first one. Unfortunately, I was not ready to change.
My third experience has been entirely different, because I was finally willing to be different. I was finally beat down from multiple near fatal overdoses. After finishing a six-month treatment center, I reached out to Oxford. The same women were still around and willing to help me, regardless of my past. There was no judgment on their end. I was offered a spot at Oxford House Selenite, which was coincidentally opening up around the same time I was anticipating leaving treatment.
Being a part of the Oxford community these last 19 months has been nothing short of a blessing. Oxford House was there for me since the beginning. The friendships and memories I have made are irreplaceable, and the lessons I have learned play a huge role in my recovery. I would not have over two years of sobriety without the love and unconditional support of these women, and this community. I now try to give back to the community what was so freely given to me. I am the President of Selenite, and the Oxford House Chapter 11 Vice Chairperson. I stick around not because I have to, but because I want to. I get to contribute to saving lives, as the women before me saved mine. All it takes a little bit of willingness and the desire to get healthy. The bonds created, the sobriety gained, and the freedom from this disease has been my experience this time, and for that, I am eternally grateful.