Life Beyond Addiction: The Story of Two Young Women Making It, Together

Kylie and Madison show off their matching necklaces which read "You are my anchor." (Hillman/KSKA)
Kylie and Madison show off their matching necklaces which read “You are my anchor.” (Hillman/KSKA)

Last spring, for our series “The Blind Spot” we spoke with a young couple we’re calling Madison and Kylie. Those aren’t their real names since one of them is a minor. They were both battling addictions to methanphedimines. To escape, they moved to Wasilla to get away from their friends and families who were still using. Being around them makes staying sober a thousand times harder, they said.

Since then, Madison and Kylie have lost their housing in the Valley and have moved back to Anchorage. They came into KSKA to talk about how they’re doing now. Initially they were staying with Kylie’s dad, who was still using meth…

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Kylie: And we did see some of our old friends, but it wasn’t as bad I thought it would be.
Madison: We basically ignored them though… Even though it’s not good being around them. It was actually really hard for us being with her dad because we knew what they were doing in the back room and so we’re just out there, in the living room.
K: We were just alone all the time. We didn’t really see him even though we were living with him.
Anne: How did you keep resisting [using drugs]?
M: By looking at all the people who were in the house.
K: And how far we’ve seen them fall.
M: Like how crappy they were compared to how awesome we were basically.
A: Did you start job searching? Apartment searching?
M: We didn’t want to start job searching at that point until we had a stable place to live because we knew we weren’t going to stay with her dad for very long and we didn’t really want to. It’s really hard to get a job when you don’t have a stable place to live because it just is not.
A: So how did you end up finding a stable place to stay?
K: We actually ended up moving back in with my cousins, which we had stayed on and off with them when we were trying to get sober before we actually did stay sober.
A: How does it feel being around someone about your own age who is clean?
K: I really like being around my cousin all the time. It’s like a good environment. He helps us a lot more than most people do. He’s there for us more than most people are.
M: He really wants us to do good.
K: It’s really nice having that as an influence.
M: He’s like a parent.
K: It’s really nice having him around.
M: He has a car and he’s always like OK. And he checks in on us if he’s at work and we’re supposed to be at work. He calls just to make sure we’re awake and whatnot. He’s very motherly. And I say motherly because he’s so gay, also. Not fatherly but motherly.
A: Is it nice to live with someone else who is gay, too?

Kylie and Madison joke about their shoes. (Hillman/KSKA)
Kylie and Madison joke about their shoes. (Hillman/KSKA)

K: Yeah, it make it’s a lot easier.
M: Yeah, because you can just relate on a different level, even though he’s a gay guy.
K: There’s like jokes you can make with him that you can’t make with other people. They’d be like, ‘How do you not get offended at that because you’re making fun of gay people?’ It’s okay with us because we know we’re all joking and not being serious.
A: You have a stable place to live. You have positive influences in your life. Are you working?
K: I work in the 5th Avenue Mall. I like the environment with everybody. I like being able to help people and feel like I’m actually helping somebody with their day, even if it’s something small like selling shoes to them.
M: Well, I actually recently lost my job because I was late one time. But I’m trying to get a job just anywhere. I don’t even care where. I just want a job. Actually, I want a job at the Teen Center, which is where I worked before I went to Wasilla.
A: What about school?
K: We’re kind of like in between schools right now. I’m hoping to maybe go to S.A.V.E.
A: How are you two doing? Last time we talked you talked about how you get annoyed with each other when you’re on drugs but you’re better when you’re off.
K: We still fight.
M: She’s still annoying some times.
K: So are you… We’re actually planning our wedding in two months. She doesn’t do very much of the planning.
M: Well that’s what my best friend is for. They’re planning away and I’m like ‘thank god!’
K: She tried telling me she was going to wear jeans to the wedding. And I told her I would turn around in the aisle.
M: I said black skinny jeans, that’s classy, right?
A: So why marriage? I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times before. You guys are real young.
K: Yeah, a lot of people have given us their two cents on why we shouldn’t get married.
M: We’ve been together for like a really long time.
A: Like a year.
K: A year and a half. But we’ve been through a lot more than most people would in like 20, 30 years of marriage. We’ve put each other through a lot more, too. We know we can get through it all.
M: We’ve actually come really far.
K: Than how we used to be. And talking things out.
M: I feel like we’ve come to a whole different level of ourselves.
K: I really like what we do. I really like the way we are now. Like drinking and all the things most kids our age do is not entertaining at all to us anymore. Like the most entertaining thing we tried to do is we tried to go geocaching. And we’ll like go home and eat a lot of candy and watch horror movies and stuff.
M: We do old people stuff. We do stuff that like older people do and people think they’re boring.
K: I don’t know, I think it’s really fun.

You can listen to their previous interview here.

a portrait of a woman outside

Anne Hillman is the healthy communities editor at Alaska Public Media and a host of Hometown, Alaska. Reach her Read more about Annehere.

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