On a ski trip her freshman year of high school with some school friends, Missy experienced many firsts: her first drink, her first hit of weed—and her first time being the victim of sexual assault. Reeling from the trauma, Missy rushed home from the trip and told her mom what had happened, and her mom had a solution in the form of a small blue pill.
That first pill kicked off many years lost in a medicated haze. “I went from doctor to doctor and was put on every anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication known to man,” says Missy. For the next 18 years following that ski trip, Missy didn’t go a single day without being under the influence of heavy sedation.
In high school, Missy was the target of bullying. “I was pushed into lockers and called horrible names, all because of how I looked, having gone through puberty early.” With a heavy pill dependency in her early twenties, Missy made her first trip to Beit T’Shuvah but discharged early. The ensuing years are difficult for Missy to recall due to all the medication, but the occasional flashback haunts her. “I hung out with really bad people. We started doing speed, robbing people, breaking into houses across the San Fernando Valley,” she reflects. At one point, Missy was riding in a car with a group of people in Burbank when a hail of gunfire erupted—her friend sitting next to her barely survived a shot to the head.
Meanwhile, Missy was plagued by a number of serious health scares: fibroids, endometriosis, and pre-cervical cancer wreaked havoc on her body, and drugs were the only thing that made her feel normal. “I was taking a lot of pills, doing a lot of coke, and drinking a lot of alcohol—whatever I could do to numb myself,” she says. Missy extricated herself from an abusive relationship and realized that she needed to get help. She attempted a self-detox which went horribly wrong, resulting in a heart attack and impaired version for several months. “It was like seeing out of coffee straws,” she reflects.
Missy met someone new, and with his support, eventually made it into a proper detox and put together five years off pills and drugs—until she was hit with more health scares. After multiple surgeries, Missy was back on pills, including powerful opioids this time: “I can’t even explain the pain I was in. I was back in full addict mode and crippled with social anxiety after so much time in and out of hospitals. I realized that the mix of Xanax and vodka were exactly what I needed to be okay around people.”
Soon, Missy was blacking out on a daily basis. “I was doing fucked up shit I had never done before, being emotionally manipulative and violent.” Missy knew she needed help again but was reluctant to go back to Beit T’Shuvah. But eventually, she had a moment of clarity and thought, “Why am I not going to BTS? My family has done so much for this place, and it has worked for so many. I should give it another chance.”
Missy checked in this past February and is so glad she made the decision. “I’ve formed so many good relationships here, and I’m interning as a Program Facilitator. With everything I’ve been through in life, I think I can help people,” she says. Missy wants to take her story to high schools and young women to teach them that it’s okay to speak up and advocate for themselves. She has also dived into Alcoholics Anonymous and is working the steps with a sponsor. “I’m willing to do anything just to better myself, whether or not I think I need it, she says. “If it’s helped other people, I’m sure it will help me.” And we’re sure Missy will help so many others on her recovery journey.
Since getting sober, Missy has grown closer to her family, especially her dad, Brad Wiseman, a long-time supporter and board member. “He’s my best friend. I have a good family, and I’m blessed and lucky. I want to be fully present to be able to appreciate everything I have.”
If you were moved by the story above, please consider making a donation to Beit T’Shuvah today to help ensure the life-saving work we do continues. Every dollar makes a difference. You can make a donation by going to https://beittshuvah.org/support/donate/ or emailing our development department at firstname.lastname@example.org