“It would be helpful to start by saying I was not born into a Christian home. In fact, I was born in a small town outside of Sioux Falls SD. We never went to church and my parents divorced before I was one and I went to live with my mother. Some of my earliest memories start with me being terrified of my mother because of her anger and abuse. When I was 5 years old my brother and a babysitter began sexually abusing me, of course, I didn’t know how to handle the emotions that went along with that so I said nothing and stuffed them.
That abuse continued for the next several years. When I was eight I remember my family life being very chaotic. For instance, I have a very clear memory of my mother chasing me around with a screwdriver threatening to hurt me. In addition, my mom would often leave me home alone for long periods of time and put me in charge of my little brother and baby sister. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t leave me any food and I was forced to feed my baby sister sugar water to keep her from going hungry. When I was 12 my sister became very ill, the courts got involved and we both were able to go live with my dad. This was a very positive experience for me and life began to calm down. By the time I was 13 my sister had begun to live a wild and dangerous lifestyle. One night when she came home high on heroin I packed her suitcase and told her she had to leave because she was ruining our stable family environment.. Can you imagine being 13 years old and asking your sister to leave home? The guilt and remorse were overwhelming. Guess what I did with those feelings? I stuffed them and never talked about it. When I was 15 I was raped by my best friend’s brother when he came home from college. It was a very scary and humiliating experience; however, because of his strong reputation in the community I said nothing and stuffed the feelings yet… again. When I was 16 I started dating my high school sweet heart, I got pregnant and he pressured me to have an abortion. Thankfully, I didn’t, however, in the second trimester the baby miscarried. Now understand… Inside I was feeling scared, sad, disgusting and lonely however, on the outside I put on my smiling face and never SPOKE A WORD ABOUT IT.
When I was 20 I got engaged to my high school sweet heart and went home to SD for my bridal shower. While I was there he not only cheated on me, he also left me for the other woman.. I was completely heart broken and my life was out of control. Guess what I did with all those feelings? I didn’t talk about it. Instead, to gain some control in my life I became anorexic. That continued for the next few years. At my lowest point I weighed 82lbs one day in my college art class a girl noticed I was very ill and asked if she could pray for me. This was the first time in my life I had ever been asked that question. I told her she could and from there we became fast friends. She invited me to church and it was there that I was introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. About 6 months later I surrendered this mess of my life to him. Now… At this point I’d love to tell you that things got better and they did. I met this amazing man who became my husband. He happened to be a pastor and so I became a pastor’s wife.
Early in our relationship we would enjoy a glass of wine with a romantic dinner. What I discovered is that wine helped me to deal with all those feelings I had bottled up inside (the abuse, the rape, the miscarriage, the cheating). Unfortunately, what I didn’t understand/or foresee was how much all those feelings would come bursting up when my daughter became the age I was when I was first sexually abused. At that point, wine became a whole new monster in my life. While I intended good, increasingly bad things came out of my relationship with alcohol. Let me give you some examples:
• I would intend to go out with some girlfriends and end up making a total fool of myself and embarrass everyone.
• I would plan to spend a holiday with my family but instead I would ruin it for me and everyone else. Unfortunately I did this numerous times.
• I would disappear from my home leaving my family to wonder if I would come back alive.
Now, I’d like to say that, that was the extent of it. But the reality is alcohol has led me to say and do things I never thought I would do; Things that could have killed me, things that endangered the lives of others, things that have tremendous legal and financial consequences, and unfortunately things that have cost my husband his job and hurt all the people in our church..
Some of these things include but are not limited to:
• 2 DUI’s within 2months
• Jail time in Superior WI
• Sex outside of my marriage
• Drunk texting inappropriate messages and pictures
• Continuous lying about everything
• Poor parenting/ Neglectful parenting
• Used alcohol to deal with loss of my father
In the shame and guilt of this, I felt so worthless I’ve even tried multiple times to take my own life. It was after all of this that I finally turned to God and asked for his help. I prayed and begged him to take my life or at least take away my pain. I wanted to be rescued but I was unwilling to do any work. After many attempts of trying to Will myself out of alcoholism I realized I needed much more. I needed to surrender more fully to God and with that I could find a place of freedom and hope. I had to trust that God has a plan for my life. I finally gave up my selfish ways and went to treatment. It’s now 82 days later and here I am. My husband is still without a job and I have many consequences I need to deal with, but I am not alone. I have an amazing husband who loves me, a beautiful daughter, great friends and most importantly a God that walks with me one day at a time through even the darkest places and reveals how mighty he truly is.”