MOUNTAIN HOME — Mekala Abbott could have been in jail or dead by now.
Poor. Disconnected. Lost. Addicted.
She had been spiraling down a self-destructive path two years ago.
She was abused by her father and using and selling drugs by the time she was 12. She dropped out of high school at 14 and had a child at 17.
“I just wanted someone to love me,” she said. “I was a lost child who had to grow up on my own.”
Getting pregnant was her catalyst to grow up. She quit doing drugs and landed back in school thanks to teachers and a counselor at Mountain Home’s alternative high school.
“My child gave me the reason to live and do something for myself,” Mekala said. “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”
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Mekala’s life is slowly falling back into place. The 19-year-old is preparing to graduate from Bennett Mountain High School and head to college.
Mekala used to run away from everything — rehab, family, foster home and school.
Today, she vows to run from nothing and take advantage of educational opportunities in Idaho to make a life for herself and her son.
Abuse, drugs and rehab
Mekala grew up in North Las Vegas. Her mother died in a car wreck when she was just 2 and her father raised the family. He had gambling and drug addictions, which led to a foreclosure moving the family of four to Meridian.
“I love my father, Mekala said. “He did his best to raise us even though he struggled. He never got over my mother.”
Living with her father was a struggle. He was abusive throughout her childhood. When Mekala was a freshman at Meridian High School, her father landed in jail, she dropped out of school and moved out.
“I didn’t want to live there any longer and deal with it,” Mekala said.
Mekala worried about surviving — eating and paying rent. With no money, she worked at Domino’s Pizza to support herself. She rented an apartment with a roommate living paycheck to paycheck.
“I had to figure out life with no adult figure,” Mekala said.
While living on her own, she became addicted to meth.
“I was in a lot of mental pain and felt so alone in my life,” Mekala said. “All I did was do drugs, and none of my family knew.”
Doing meth every day led to selling the drug. She got involved with a gang and one night was nearly beaten to death because she wanted out.
“I thought I was going to end up dead in a ditch,” Mekala said. “I had to fight for my life.”
That night, she went to the hospital and doctors told her she had to check into rehab. At 16, she felt scared, alone and betrayed.
“I wanted to be sober, but didn’t want to be in rehab,” Mekala said. “I did what I wanted. I never had people telling me what to do.”
Rehab lasted four months. She was then sent to a foster home in Mountain Home and she enrolled at Mountain Home High School. Mekala skipped class and dropped out again. Then she got pregnant at 17.
“My son is my sobriety baby,” Mekala said. “He is my reason to never do meth again.”
When her son was two months old she wanted to earn a high school diploma. She enrolled at Bennett Mountain High School with only three credits on her transcript.
“My son didn’t have much to look up to and I wanted to change that,” Mekala said. “I was determined to make a difference in my life.”
Living a new life
Mekala is now 19 years old. She defines herself as a mother and soon-to-be high school graduate. Her calendar is marked with graduation day, a moment she never thought would happen.
“I started my life over because I wanted to be normal,” Mekala said.
Mekala is thankful for her counselor, Mary Kaye Johnson, who meets with Mekala multiple times a week to insure everything is going smoothly.
“She is inspiring,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing to see a girl that has gone through so much at a young age turn her life around.”
Mekala is on track to complete 43 credits in two years. Her plan is study psychology at the College of Western Idaho this fall. She will be able to rely on federal student loans.
She wants to help people and work in the mental health field.
“I did everything backwards in my life, but now I’m looking ahead to a brighter future,” she said.