Photo Credit: Madison County Jail
Amber Portwood couldn't take leave from prison to attend the Teen Mom Season 4 reunion. Instead, the reality star issued a statement, which Dr. Drew Pinsky read aloud to viewers on Tuesday night. In the letter, Portwood describes herself as a drug addict whose first priority is to get sober and become a decent parent to daughter Leah.
"Right now I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life. I guess I just got lost," Amber, 21, wrote from Indiana's Rockville Correctional Facility. "I went to jail because I had an addiction to opiates. You live and you learn. and that's real. It's time for me to stop partying and realize that even though I'm 21, I'm not a normal 21-year-old -- I'm a mother. Which means I have to grow up quicker and start acting like a mother."
In the letter, Portwood said that she misses Leah constantly, but that the thought of her daughter is inspiring her to turn her life around. "I see pictures of her and I think about where I went wrong and how I can fix it so she can be proud of me," Portwood wrote. She also mentioned Leah's father Gary Shirley, saying that she wanted him to "find happiness," even though "we probably won't get back together."
"Right now my No. 1 priority in life is dedicating my life to being sober, to being a sober person," the reality star declared. "And to show my daughter that people make mistakes but you can always come back."
It's not just her daughter that Portwood hopes to inspire with her rocky journey, which was documented on both 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom.
"I made the show for a reason...some decisions change your whole life," she wrote. "If you don't want to take responsibility and use protection, then don't have sex. One night can change your whole life into a sad story...I hope people look at my story and say, 'That's not the way I want to go.'"
Portwood was sentenced to five years in prison this June, after refusing to complete a court-ordered drug rehab program. (She was originally arrested in December 2011 for drug possession, then returned to court on charges of probation violation.) By telling the judge she wouldn't go to rehab, Amber essentially sent herself to jail -- a decision that she defended to ABC News this summer.
"In my situation, I felt in the program there were a lot of eyes on me. And it was very uncomfortable," Portwood said of her rehab program. "I was not using my anti-psych medication even. You know, I was very depressed, I was alone, I was bitter at everybody. I felt like that wasn't the life I wanted to live, I felt like I'd rather do my time, and get it over with, and make the best out of the situation that's been handed to me."
The young mother also expressed her intention to get sober and earn a GED while she's in jail. We hope she's making progress.