A mother who went to her first AA meeting aged nine and tried every drug on the market by the time she was 13, has opened up about her battle to sobriety. Ashley Carter Cash, aged 38, grew up with a mother who was addicted to crack cocaine and an alcoholic father. Her parents got divorced when she was 12, and she went to live with her mother.
Overcoming addiction is a daunting task, and it is never an easy journey. Ashley, a writer residing in New York, knows this all too well.
In a recent interview, she shared her experiences of battling addiction and how she has managed to turn her life around.
Ashley’s addiction started at a young age, when she resorted to using mind-altering substances to escape from the harsh realities of her parents’ struggles with alcohol and drugs.
Despite knowing that she was “dying a slow and painful death” she continued to indulge in drinking and drug abuse for several years.
She told the Daily Star: “Looking back on those photos I feel shame, guilt and regret wash over me when I view the visceral memories of my drinking and drugging days.
“I can’t help but feel sad and remorseful whenever I see the potential in my young eyes in the glimpse of a decades old photograph.
“But then, I had everything going for me, and although today I can see my life is not over and there is much to come, I can’t help but regret extinguishing the flame of so much young beauty far too soon.”
As for how it all started, she added: “When I was nine I attended my first 12-step meeting.
“Before and after that, my parents battled an addiction to alcohol and drugs for as long as I can remember.
“And after swearing I would never fall victim to such a crippling disease based on what I’d seen it do to my family – my experiences with controlled substances began when I was 12.”
Even though she was a child, she resorted to using mind-altering substances such as MDMA.
However, her drinking and drug addiction persisted for several years.
Ashley, now based in New York as a writer, failed in her education at the age of 14 and was “homeschooled” by her mother.
As anticipated, no learning took place, and Ashley was left alone when her mother was jailed after her 16th birthday.
She continued: “I started small with alcohol to be honest. But, by a decade in, I was drinking whatever I could get my hands on.
“By the time I was 25 I was scouting for discarded glasses at last call.
“By 35, I didn’t require a bar, there was no more social drinking. I’d become a mum and was now drinking in my closet.”
Despite her addiction, Ashley managed to work as a fashion model in her twenties.
However, by the time she turned 28, she found herself sleeping rough in a storage closet in Hell’s Kitchen.
Ashley eventually managed to turn her life around, and she credits this to opening up about her experiences online to help others.
She also attributes her sobriety to being able to make a conscious decision based on her inner values, rather than relying on a clouded mindset.
She said: “The mornings have never felt better. The ability to make a conscious decision based on my inner values rather than based on a clouded mindset is genuinely priceless.
“Money cannot buy the element of knowing you are in control of your destiny instead of relying on a substance to do it for you.”
If you need help with a drinking problem either phone AA’s national help line on 0800 9177 650 or contact them by email: [email protected]