My Story to Recovery
The background (ages 5-13)
I was born into this world from a people with a history of addictions. My parents came from some pretty messed up backgrounds. My father is a man that was an alcoholic and drug addict. He made his living as a mechanic. His father was an alcoholic native American Indian who left his mother when he was born. His mother I have never known but I heard she had a lot of mental issues. My mother was a very co-dependent woman who took beatings almost daily after my father was long gone in mind altering substances. She was 1 out of 9 among her siblings. 4 out of the 9 became addicts. Few have recovered. 3 are suffering with either disabilities or mental disorders. Her father was also an alcoholic and my mother spent some time in a group home where she was molested during childhood. No one believed her. Her mother was not very loving but an Irish woman who was a perfectionist and work hard to raise her 9 children. (I remember one day when my sister had fallen off a garage roof and I brought her back to her house bleeding. My grandmother promptly yelled at me to take my sister out of her house because she was bleeding all over her clean floor.) They say brokenness is passed on from generation to generation. I’ve also heard hurt people hurt people.
My earliest memories during childhood were straight chaos and constant survival. When I was able to walk and was just starting to comprehend the world I remember nights of hearing screams and fighting. This happened almost daily and I could remember falling asleep to them. My sister was about a year younger than me with a learning disability. She used to wake up crying so I would take our blankets and make a bed under our bed and rock her to sleep telling her everything would be okay until we both eventually passed out. This particular night I started to do my same routine. I got settled underneath the blankets and my sister fell quickly asleep as I gave her a bottle. I was laying there (4 ½ years old) I knew something was wrong I could feel it. There was silence and it scared me to the core of my little body. I got up and crawled from under the bed and made my way out into the hallway. I still heard not a sound so I headed toward the light I seen on in the kitchen to the little apartment we lived in. I turned the corner and seen a beat-up woman sitting in the chair with her hair pulled back and a knife up to her throat and I screamed “Mommy!” The man looked up put his knife down and ran over to pick me up. I was sobbing realizing that these were my parents and I didn’t understand what was going on.
The day after the horrifying seen my life yet again shifting into another phase of horrifying events to come. I found myself in my car seat driving down these back roads. All I seen was trees and mountains. I wasn’t use to that coming from the city where I seen was drunk people, homeless people, abandon buildings, and needles on the ground in most places we walked. My mother was in the passenger seat and there was a man I was slightly familiar with in the driver’s seat. I liked him he was nice and It was nice to see my mother laughing. I don’t know what it was but it was different and it felt safe. We stopped at a motel and headed out in the morning to a house where about 3 or 4 families resided. I was told this was my uncles and his wife’s house and we would be staying her for awhile until my mother could find a job. My uncle’s wife was about 300 lbs and man was she mean. I didn’t like her too much and she smelled. I was very sad. I wasn’t happy and I was lost. At least there were some kids to play with. They were very nice and so was there mom. I really liked their mom a lot. In the back of my head the words from my dad that night promising to take me to the park the next day lingered for years. We stayed there for quite awhile all us kids would be at home with these two 300 lb ladies. One was very nice and her husband made the best Spanish food. My uncles wife was not so nice and we were made to do her chores and cook for her. Every once in awhile I wad called into her room (that smelled badly) and I got into trouble for something. I was beat with this wooden stick for about 3 minutes straight. I cried for about 20-30 minutes and then was sent on my way. I felt like I was always being targeted and could never do anything right no matter how hard I tried.
My mom and “step dad” finally got their own apartment. We moved in and my sister and I got these great bunk beds. I got the top bunk because I was older. The room was very small but it was nice and we were right down the street from my new school. I could have dealt without the constant lice in my head but I loved my teachers and my friends. Then it started. The alcohol came back. The screams came back. The fighting and being up all night. I’m not sure I have ever really slept a full night’s sleep since I was born. Then something weird happened. My step dad started crawling in my bed a night. Then it wasn’t long before it became regular routine. At first, I didn’t know what was going on then it made me extremely uncomfortable. The abuse went on for years after. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin I started to get out of the situation by going back to my uncle’s wife as much as I could. It was better there to be beaten with my clothes on to have felt the way I felt when I was trying to sleep.
That was the start of my life. Then as time passed and bad things kept happening and I tried to keep running I just found myself in more and more situations that I begin to dread what was going to happen the next day and the next day. The world moved around me and I felt like I could never stand. We kept moving and the drama came with us. The abuse lasted until I was 13 but the craziness continued years and years after. I had no hope. I fought for strength every morning. I was lost and alone. I was confused and very angry. I was so angry I started fighting back for my survival.
The start of it all (ages 14-16)
I first picked up a drink when I was 14 years old. I didn’t like the taste of it at first. It was Budweiser my step fathers drink of choice. He always has a lot of it. I figured since it made him feel better it might make me feel better. I felt sick. I continued to steal a can or two every now and then. My tolerance level kept rising. I started to hang out with people older than me. My foster sister was a couple years older than me and she hung out with older guys already. It wasn’t before I knew it that I started smoking cigarettes. Then after that I begin to try weed. I only smoked weed when I was drinking and someone had it available. I never tried any drugs because ironically, I was scared of the outcome. I didn’t particularly like the weed either but for some reason when I was drinking I didn’t care and I just did it. I use to make it to all the parties during this age also. This is when everything really started flowing. My step dad finally stopped abusing me and I started fighting back. When him and my mom got into arguments and they fought I would physically fight back. I was angry and I lived with a rage. I got into as many fights as I could and made sure no matter what I would win. I got jumped a couple times. I fought people to the point of them really getting hurt most times the people around had to pull me off before I really did some damage. I was popular though. I lived life with out a care and you couldn’t mess with me. One night I was at a store with my 5-year-old little foster sister. I was robbed at gun point. I stayed up for nights at a time scared to death. I literally in my mind thought I was going crazy. My mom ended up admitting me to the hospital. I sat in a room where they stripped me naked and made me wear white clothes. Once I got out of there I wanted to kill myself. Life continued even after I tried to take some pills and end it.
I started selling drugs and getting involved in gangs around the age of 16. I never joined but I was always hanging out and did work for them. I didn’t want to make a commitment or be tied down by anything. I got arrested and skipped town for a week or so while I had a warrant out for my arrest. I met my sons father during this time. He was a Latin King. We got together and his mom kicked him out of his house. He got a room so I left home to move in with him. He cheated we got into fights. He decided that his best bet to get out of south side Bethlehem was to join the marines. I decided the same thing so I joined the national guard. When you join the National guard with parent’s permission you can enlist right away but only in this branch. You can sign a contract during meps admission before basic training. So, I began to train with them while in high school. I then got pregnant. My sons father was about to go off to basic training and we both felt like we were too young at this point to have a baby so we got an abortion. I was devastated. He bought me a ferret and I honestly took that thing around with me like a baby. It died of heat exhaustion the day he went to basic training. My love was gone, life was ripped out of me, and my replacement baby had died also. I was a mess. My mom and step dad decided they were going to jersey for the weekend and I refused to go with. I ended up throwing a party at my house the weekend they were gone. I got totally annihilated. Apparently, I did a hell of a lot of stupid stuff that night and slept with almost 3 guys in the same night. My friends had to put me in the shower. They thought I was going to die. I wanted to die. I wanted life to be all over and I wanted to be nonexistent in the world. I didn’t know what to do the morning after. I woke up and I cried for almost three days straight. I promised Jimmy that I would do good things while he was gone. I had so many grudges against him for finding out he was cheating on me while I was pregnant. I justified for months. My emotions and my heart were all over the place. I couldn’t take it I literally felt like I was going insane. I ended up writing him and sent him the letters while he was at basic training. Well, that didn’t go well either. Then I felt like the best thing I could do was leave so I made arrangements to head out to basic training right away and just get my GED through them after I had finished. So, I packed up and away I went. After a couple days there I felt like I was going to die. Right before they put you on a plane and fly you out they do a physical and start to give you shots to prepare for your training. I tested positive for pregnancy still. I was crushed. Needless to say, the ride home with my sergeant was a very long one from Harrisburg. I had to come home to face a heck of a lot of stuff and explain to my mother a trip to jersey without her consent to get an abortion because that’s the closest place it was legal. I also had her and my sergeant explaining to me how I could have died because I wasn’t taking my antibiotics. I tried a second trip to basic training while having another long ride back yet again because I didn’t turn in paperwork in time and my unit received discharge papers. I made it half way there twice but unfortunately that’s where my rode with the army ended. The rest of age 16 was drinking, sleeping around, selling drugs, and fighting. The end of my high school days half of the people called me white Tyson and half of them were hiding behind bushes to jump me.
When jimmy returned from basic training he said he was going to be willing to work things out and that he still wanted to get married. The first weekend he was home he rented a hotel room at hotel Bethlehem. That’s the night I thought we had made up. He was home a little while we spent sometime together and he had to go to AIT school. It’s a more laid back basic training pretty much. You go and its training for your MOS (your military job). We decided after he left that I would come visit him while he was in California. I bought a plane ticket and flew out there alone. When I got to the airport I was extremely exhausted. I called him for an hour straight to tell him I made it and where is he picking me up. There was no answer. He finally texts me and said he wasn’t going to make it to pick me up. He said that he wasn’t aloud to leave base to come get me and he probably wouldn’t be able to spend time with me while I was there. I cried for hours at the airport before he called me back and told me that I should stay at the USO (they have them at every airport for the soldiers that are waiting for open flights). They have food and beds. Good thing my military ID hadn’t expired yet. I slept at the USO but was determined to make it to him. So, I hitch hiked with some guy for two hours. I figured I could trust him since he said he was a marine. I called jimmy and told him I was on my way and somehow, we spent a couple days together riding around Cali. I believe that this might have been when I got pregnant with my son.
I called Jimmy and told him I was pregnant. He hung up the phone after saying that I was crazy and that the baby wasn’t his. I knew it was, I wasn’t sleeping around at that point. He gave in after I broke into his email, his voicemail, and his facebook. He came to see me and talked and asked me to reassure him that he was the father. He said I should just back off and give him space. I continued to look at his stuff for three months. I heard a voicemail of another girl telling him that she loved him and could wait to see him. I had an ultrasound appointment and decided to go to music fest after. I ran into him and the girl holding hands. I had the pictures on me. I screamed and yelled and made a fool of myself at music fest. This crazy woman (not really close to a woman at this point in life) saying she’s going to do all kinds of mess of things while waving around ultrasound pictures. It was fantastic. Just to make it clear. I didn’t get anywhere and it never solved anything. We talked maybe on an off until my son was born. I lost contact completely a month or so before my son was born. He was shipped to Afghanistan. I gave birth to my son. I fell into postpartum depression pretty bad. I literally wanted to kill myself. Good thing I lived with my mom. I don’t know what would have happened. She woke up in the middle of the night to find me on the bathroom floor crying my eyes out saying how much I couldn’t take it. I didn’t tell her I wanted to die but she went into the room because my son had been crying for a half hour. She said that I needed to go straight to sleep and that she would take care of him the rest of the night. I went in my room thinking that I could possibly kill myself and that my mom could just take care of my son. I cut myself and then fell asleep. When I woke up I knew I needed some kind of help. I made a couple of phone calls and then shortly after I found the church.
I didn’t hear from Jimmy again until he came to see his soon when he was 4-5 months old in the middle of the night. Then he stayed the night at my apartment. After he left and pretty much got what he wanted I didn’t hear from him again for a while. I was broken again. I just had gotten my apartment and found a higher power and then slept with him again and felt like I went back one million steps. I was reassured by a couple women and started going back to church and completely gave myself over because I knew I was out of control. I was doing well. I started back in school and I was working full time. I was doing what I had to do. For some good couple years, I didn’t drink or do drugs. I had a purpose and wanted to get my life together. There was a feeling of loneliness that I had a hard time shaking. I started dating this guy who was so emotionally unstable and out of control. It took a while to get away from him. I still slept around a little with a couple of guys I knew from the past here and there before I gave that up all together. Then someone gave my now husband my number and he text me. We went out on a date and it became like four dates in one. We definitely wanted to see each other again. We started dating awhile and he met my pastor and they had meetings together. I fell in love with him. Shortly after we started dating I found out that Jimmy had gotten married. I felt like my prayers we being answered and I was to move on and God had put this man in my path for a reason. We started the path to marriage. We argued a lot before we got married and we were even going to pre-marital counseling. I felt like I should cancel the wedding and I held a grudge over the way I felt for awhile after that. In my head I believed I made a horrible mistake and I wasn’t meant to marry him. Before we got married was my 21st birthday and we both got really drunk at a bowling alley and my mom drove us home. We never slept together but I woke up in my room naked. He said I wanted to but he didn’t want to take advantage of me and I respected that. We also got drunk quite a few times on our honeymoon.
The not so happily ever after
The first year of marriage was hell. Things came out in me I didn’t know or expect. I turned physically abusive. I didn’t drink much but I was pretty darn miserable. I immediately cried out for relief divorce. I wanted to run. We did intensive counseling for a while with my pastor but it wasn’t helping. He was mentally abusive. He said I was cheating all the time and used my past against me number of times. I don’t blame him though because all I did was run. That’s what I knew. Neither of us took responsibility for our actions or wrongs and we both had our own rules to life. We had a lot of great times but we struggled a lot. Then shortly after we got pregnant and then we found a house. Then the drinking came back slowly. He would text me sometimes to pick up 40’s at the store on my way home from work. It was nice at first because it put us both at ease. We would get alone and relax. As the years went by the drinking started going on a roller coaster. Before I knew it he was going out with friends. I was going out with friends. We went out together. We started buying alcohol for parties. We started throwing parties just to be able to have alcohol. We made the excuses that every holiday was a good time to drink. We stopped counseling for a while. I started to get bored in life and I wanted and needed a change. So I decided I was going back to school because I didn’t want to do a back breaking job and for goodness sake I forgot I was on a mission in life to be better than my family. I was determined to graduate. He said the money wasn’t there. So, I protested and put in full time at work and said I will do it on my own then I don’t need anyone. The money was great because it was double what I was making. I started getting the urge to be able to spend more money also. I went to the bars more often with my friends. I drank wine just to write my phyc and sociology papers. I was doing great I was getting Straight A’s. I got obsessed because my gpa was going up every semester because of how great I was doing. I don’t know I was surprising myself that I even had the potential. Inside I was going crazy. I had this overwhelming drive inside of me that was really just pride building up. I felt like an adult. I was making moves in life and it was great. My marriage was standing on the ledge and I was exhausting myself with life but I didn’t care. I had one focus, survive. One determination be better and overcome where you came from. I wanted to beat the statistics I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to have everything together. I was on a mission like a solider in battle. I was going to win the war but on my own. I didn’t need anyone. I was all I had and ever had. I thought so much of what I was doing was normal and right and that I wasn’t wrong in anything.
The falling apart
Something happened. There was another shift in the universe. I talked on the phone to my sons family and they expressed some concern about my son and my husband. The concern was that he was being abusive. I got my clothes together I packed and I left. Something in my head snapped. The triggers from the past came up and I wasn’t going to have anyone hit my kids. My poor husband I left him completely in the dark and ran. Like I’ve always done. I ran with minimum explanation and so much anger. A few days after I left I got a phone call from CPS. This only confirmed for me that everything was true! That was the finial bomb in my head. It was pretty much over for me. I needed to keep my kids safe and if he didn’t want to be in our lives well all well because I had me and I was my kids mother so all they needed was me! I could do this I would figure it out! I was going to survive. It was he was going to shape up or I was going to do what I had to. He was so confused now that I looked back and I didn’t even realize that when I wasn’t around he was drowning and doing the best he could. Life was so misconstrued and things were so chaotic. I again turned to the bottle once again. I used it to cope with all the chaos in my life. I slowly started to not care about anything. It was what it was and I based every choice every decision off my feelings. It was sad because most of what my feelings told me was that I just didn’t care. Then during this whole battle, I still went out with friends and still tried to juggle all aspects of my life. I wanted the happy family but was taking no steps to make that possible because I wasn’t content and I was very confused. I wasn’t happy and I felt like my world was blowing up into pieces. I got a message on facebook from a guy I used to date in the army. He was always in and out of my life because of deployments. I hadn’t talked to him my whole marriage. I didn’t hear anything from anyone and now people were starting to come around. People who were bad for me started attracting to me. It was like a flock. I however, didn’t see that they were going to be bad for me. I just felt like I had people who were interested in who I was. At first nothing was sexual and nothing was in plan of leaving my husband. Although, the way things were going I lost all hope. I lost all hope that anything could be at all. I responded to text messages. One night while I was at work I got a message asking me to come over and have a beer and catch up. Sounded like a good idea to me. I had every intention on just hanging out with an old friend. Sure, we use to sleep together but that was years ago. I was married now just in a crappy situation. What could it hurt? I went and things went very far. It was like an evil entered into me that night and it drove me even crazier than what I had already been. That was the start of my endeavor of my promiscuous life style of affairs. My husband finally came home and things started settling down a bit. We still drank together a lot. And it just kept increasing in numbers and frequency. He would complain that I was drinking too much but I protested till my throat was sore. In my mind no one was going to control me and I was going to do what I wanted. I started hating myself. Little by little everyday it was harder for me to look in the mirror. I didn’t understand how my life got to be this way. I couldn’t understand the choices I had made. I was more and more lost every day. The whole 6 lives I was living began to spiral out of control. I could no longer successfully control any area. I still fought though. I was honestly fighting myself. I was fighting for my sanity where I wasn’t sane at all. I was truly crazy and needed help I just didn’t want to admit my weakness. The voice in the back of my head kept screaming “Survival!”
The road to no where
2017 started off with death after death. My uncle fell down the steps and ended up in the emergency room. I went to the hospital and my Mom left and said she would be back. The doctors approached me and told me there was nothing else they could do. CPR was pointless. They opened the curtain while he was on the machine. It would bring him back and then he would die again in less than a minute. It was horrific to watch. I felt like it was my decision to pull the plug even though the doctors said it was a medical one. I left the hospital feeling defeated. The funeral consisted of having to face my life long abuser. I thought in my mind that I did well. I went home with anger in my heart knowing I was the way I am because of all the trauma he put me through. I didn’t talk to anyone I held it inside. I couldn’t sleep my life was falling apart but I was damn sure going to survive. The next news I got was that a friend of ours had committed suicide. He just started on Prozac and put a gun to his mouth in the woods. That was funeral two. I played with his kids and the pain just hurt. I drank the whole funeral. I’m glad I wasn’t driving that night. The pain was real. The doctors tried to put me on antidepressants for awhile but after that I was very opposed to help. Any help from anyone not just medicine. I felt guilty because I knew I was feeling the same way he was. I knew if I had the guts I would do the exact same thing for sure. But, the kids. Their sweet faces and poor spirts unable to comprehend that their dad wasn’t coming home. I had been waking up with a hang over when I got the next phone call. This broke me pretty bad. I called my mom back after receiving like 20 text messages call me please. Please call me. I already felt like crap after drowning yet again the night before. My foster sister had been murdered. She was 19. She was me in a younger version. She went through a lot of the same stuff. Similar stories. I took care of her as a baby. I gave her baths. I did her hair. I took her to the parks. I was there for her and then I disappeared in my pursuit of getting out. Making a better life for myself. I forgot where I came from and when I got out of that lifestyle (well at least I thought I dId) I didn’t offer a hand back. I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame. I tried to give back as much as I could. I helped with the funeral. I planned the whole thing an organized payment. I went to the funeral home and helped do her hair as she laid there breathless. I felt like life was way to short. I felt what the heck am I doing with my life. Where did I go wrong, how can I change things what can I do. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!!! I drowned. I drowned a lot. I drank to feel better. I drank to feel better after drinking and feeling crappy. My family was concerned. My friends were concerned. I hid bottles. I drank and had bottles in my car. I started drinking during the day. Then another phone called. My nephew’s dad overdoes. I drank more. I drank and I drank. I fought. I knew I was in trouble. I laughed that I was an alcoholic. I could handle it though. I was building up a tolerance but I was happy because that meant I could drink more. Life was spinning around in my head. Then, one night I was caught in my affairs. Welp, I drank. Then my husband started calling lawyers. I was all over the place. It kicked in that I was going to lose everything. That not what I wanted I truly did love my husband. What have I done? What have I become. I moved out and stayed with a friend in her two-bedroom apartment. I cried and drank 90 percent of my life away. Then others around me warned me not to go to nursing school. I went one week before I knew I had to withdraw. All my dreams were falling and burning down around me. Inside I was screaming so loud. Inside the pain hurt so deeply. It would be better if I wasn’t here at all. All my problems would go away of I could just get away. I tried to fight for what I had. I needed to get everything back. I didn’t want it all to be lost. Nothing was in my control. I had to feed the hurt inside me. I had to feed the guilt, the pain, the exhaustion, the confusion, and the brokenness. I had to keep feeding it. I began to be obsessed with drinking. It’s the only time I felt like alive. I was dead otherwise. I was extremely dead.
The end of it all
My husband graciously gave me another shot. He said that he would try to work it out. Now there are two people very confused living in the same house with a huge elephant in the room. The only way I could make the elephant smaller was to drink and keep drinking. I began to get really drunk episodes and get extremely violent. I would break things and my kids started to hate me. I got to the point again were I just wanted to die. I was slowly getting stuff back but, in my head, it was just too good to be true. What good did I deserve and everyone was already out to get me. I was waiting for the bomb to go off. I was waiting to wake up alone on the side of the street with none. I didn’t deserve anything anyway. Who am I? That was the big question. I completely lost all of who I was. I never even really knew who I was anyway. I thought and begged and pleaded for my life to just end. I even had some messed-up thoughts that if only the doctor would diagnose me with cancer. Then I would die a slow and painful death. I would take that right now over anything. Maybe I got watch people appreciate me a little more before I went. I lost everything. One morning after planning it for about a week I bought alcohol and was going to clean my whole house from top to bottom. I was going to get that basement done. I was ideally going to be super women and the alcohol was going to help. My husband came home knew I was drunk but by that time I didn’t care. DENY DENY DENY. Then got mad that he was mad??? I was insane!! I drank more he came home. I had gotten more. All of a sudden of course im drunk now. You made me do it. So just let it be now. I wasn’t action right I didn’t even know what I was doing. I got gotten charges for hitting him before while I was drunk so I decided to leave the house. I found a nice line of trees went into them and laid down. This is where I’m going to sleep. I was determined. That didn’t last long I was freezing. I came home and all the door were locked. I went into a frenzy. Everyone was gone. My nightmare was coming true! I went into our shed and I screamed YOU TOOK EVERYTHING. At the time I was talking to my husband. Later I realized that my addiction was slowly taking everything. I broke into my bathroom window. There was blood everywhere. I stole money from my daughter’s piggy bank because I couldn’t find my card. I drove to get more. I came home and started talking to people on facebook. I’m pretty sure I might have been saying bye but I don’t remember. I tried cutting myself. Somewhere in my arm was an artery somewhere. I was sick of surviving. I was done. I just couldn’t find it. Some how and old supervisor of mine was at my door. We sat down we talked for a while. She gave me lots of water and I fell asleep. I woke up and thought I should have been dead. I wasn’t and I had no choice but to start listening to other people because I had failed miserably. I surrendered!!! The white flag was up. I checked myself into rehab and they came to pick me up to take me to detox that night. I spent the next month in a half in a facility. It changed my life.