My name is Shereen, and I am a person in long-term recovery.
Growing up as a little girl in the Bronx, we had fun. I had twin brothers that were 3 years younger than me. We went to the same school, so we had fun on the way to school, and at the park after school. I first became sexually active at the age of 11. Once that happened, my life wasn’t fun anymore. I started running away from home. At the age of 14, I got kidnapped by a pimp at gunpoint. He told me I wasn’t going anywhere from now on, and kept me captive. He told me that I was going to prostitute for him. He threatened my family, and he threatened me. He said that if I left, he would kill us all. He kept me liquored up and I always had weed. I hated sleeping with those men. At 19, the man who pimped me went to jail. I got out while I could, and went home.
My mom reassured me everything would be ok. My self-esteem and confidence were low. I compared myself to, what I thought, were the beautiful, successful black women. In my mind, I was either going to be a stripper, or like those powerful, beautiful, successful black women. My confidence told me I couldn’t be successful, and I became a stripper. I stripped until I met a man who I considered to be my prince charming. He told me I didn’t have to strip anymore. He told me that I could live with him and didn’t have to pay any bills. For a few years I stripped, and I was about the money, but my prince charming was a heavy drinker. I started drinking heavily with him, and we fought all the time. I accepted it, because that’s what I thought that’s what I deserved. I told my mom, and her and my aunt came and got me.
I wanted to be like the successful black women. I put my pride to the side and got my GED at the age of 25. I went to Job Corps and when I completed, I got a good job. I’ve since taken the opportunity to go through the Peer to Peer Recovery Develop Training at TCRP to become a Peer Recovery Specialist to help others that have been in similar situations. It’s about me and my family, finally.