Just One Road
In 1990, my first husband died of HIV, and I was told by the doctor to go get tested. That’s how I found out I had HIV. I didn’t know that my husband was in a relationship with another woman at the time. How I found out is, when he was in the hospital dying, I met this woman and she said she has a baby with him. Apparently, my husband was having an affair with this woman all along. He always used to tell me he was going to his brother’s house. Her house was a couple blocks down, so he’d park his car at his brother’s house and go to her house to be with her.
After I found out I was HIV-positive, it was a big depression for me. I started drinking more, going out and hanging out with my friends. Then, instead of me taking my problems to God, I took my problems to the bottle. I just drank more, but I kept a job; always held a job down. You know, I was a functional alcoholic. I didn't drink on the job. I would always drink after I got home from work.
It took a long time before I started taking my medication. I think maybe four or five years. Yeah, I didn't take medication right away because I was in denial. To this day, I still don't think I have HIV because I'm healthy, you know? I take a lot of medication for a lot of other different things too. Sometimes in life you get sick and tired of doing the same thing, and that’s what made me realize I am living with HIV and need to take my medication. I think I got tired of my doctor telling me to take my medication and to stop drinking. He used to get on me all the time “you got to stop drinking. You can’t take your medication and drink too!” I have been with him for 15 years. He knows how stubborn I am, and he knows me better than I know myself. It takes me a while to do something but now, I take my medicine. I take it with me, I keep it. I have it in my lunch bag. I’m undetectable, and I do my best to take my medication as prescribed. This means taking it at the same time every day. Sometimes I do forget to take it at the same time, so I take it when I remember it daily.
Right now, I’m just enjoying my life. I retired at 62. I just went back to work in February. I love it, and I love the hours. I love the people I’m around. I used to go to an NA group for like maybe a year and a half. I got to the point I said, “well I don’t think I need meetings anymore.” I just started talking to God. Whenever I have a problem, I talk to him and tell him. I’ve been sober for four years. I pray and pray, and I say, “God, please take this taste out of my mouth. I don't want to keep living like this. I'm tired of falling down, you know?” When I was a kid, I used to always laugh at my aunt because she was a falling down drunk, and I turned out the same way you know? I used to get drunk because I didn’t know my limit. I’m glad all that is behind me now. This is just one road I’m never going back down again for nobody.