Our past isn’t always pretty. We don’t always like to acknowledge it. But our past plays a very important part in our lives. It has helped to shape us into who we are. If we ignore our past, we risk our future.
Hard as it may be, I’m going to put myself out there a bit. You see, there is a lot in my past that I would rather not be there. But, again, it has helped shape me. So, I hope that by me sharing my past with others, it can help them as well.
My story began in St. Joseph, MO. My mother and father divorced when I was 2. When I was 4, my mother married my step-father.
At the age of 7, my step-father began sexually abusing me. This pattern continued for a little over a year. While the abuse was happening, I kept my mouth shut. My step-father had told me that if I told anyone he would hurt my mother and my sisters, and I was afraid. My mother and step-father separated without my mother knowing what had happened. That’s when my aunt Vicky moved in with us. A few months later is when I finally spoke up and told my mom and aunt what had happened. I remember having to be examined by the doctor, speaking with the police, and the courthouse. The courthouse is probably one of the most prevalent memories. I remember sitting on a bench with Vicky, just praying that I wouldn’t have to go into that courtroom and see my step-father.
After dealing with everything with my stepfather, my mom and Vicky moved us girls to the Eastern Plains of Colorado. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I really started dealing with what had happened to me as a child. I went into counseling at that point, but I know now that even then I wasn’t truly ready to deal with things.
Moving Past High School
When I graduated high school in 1994, my goal was to get out of a small town. I went to college in Hastings, NE. First semester, I studied. I handled things the way that I should. Second semester was a completely different story. There was a whole lot of partying that happened in my life. I didn’t know that you could get a 0.8 GPA, but apparently you can. I am proof of that.
At this point, I moved back in with my parents and tried to get my life back together. I worked, I went to the local community college and did well. I still partied a little bit, but not the the point where I was drunk all the time.
My 1st Marriage
When I was 21 I married my 1st husband. I thought I was in love, and he was going to rescue me from my drab existence. I know now that I was in love with the idea of being in love. My husband was verbally and physically abusive towards me. He most definitely wanted a separation between myself and my family. He was Middle Eastern, and wanted me to convert to his religion. The one good thing that came out of that marriage was my daughter. She is proof that something good can come from a bad situation.
My 2nd Marriage
I met my 2nd husband about 5 years later. When we first met, I knew that he had some issues, but I ignored it. We spent the first couple years fighting then making up. Then, I injured my shoulder. That’s when he introduced me to Dilaudid. The 1st time he shot me up, I remember getting so sick. I was throwing up for hours. You would think that would deter me. Nope. I discovered that I could have the Dilaudid injected into my muscle and it wouldn’t make me as sick, so that’s what I did. Then it wasn’t enough. So I started having him shoot me up. The 1st time I shot myself up is when I took full ownership of my addiction. When I tied my arm off and stuck that needle in my own vein…that’s when I became an addict.
Dilaudid was my everything. When I used it, I could forget everything. I was numb. But, as with any addiction, it got to the point where the small amount that I was using wasn’t enough. I needed more. When I ran out…I needed something else to take care of that craving. So I started using meth. I was always high. I don’t remember a time during that 8 year period that I wasn’t high…to the extent that right before I actually married my 2nd husband, I shot up 30 minutes prior.
When my 2nd husband died, I wanted to die as well. I honestly don’t think my wanting to die had anything to do with him though…I think it was more that I hadn’t felt anything in so long, I didn’t know how to exist. The evening that my parents found my needles is one that I will never forget. They sat me down and we talked…it was an actual real conversation. I needed help. They took me to the ER where I stayed for hours. My blood pressure was all over the place. From the ER, I went into Cedar Springs, a behavioral health facility in Colorado Springs. While admitted there, I went through a medical detox…I honestly thought I was dying.
After my discharge from Cedar Springs, I went to my parents home for about a week before entering the program at House of Promise. This was such and huge and extremely difficult step for me. I went across the whole state to remove myself from my situation. Being so far away from everyone and everything was so very hard…but I think that it was a necessary thing for me. It allowed me to change my focus, my thought process, and ultimately my life.
Moving Past My Past…
Since coming home from HOP, my life has changed immensely. There have been ups and downs. I have been employed with an amazing company for over 5 years now. I have married my best friend. My husband and I run a small ministry called Blessing Through Blankets. And on top of all that, I am now taking on a new career as a blogger. Unfortunately, I did lose my mother a few years ago, but I know that she would have been so proud of me and the changes that I have made.
It’s easy to get caught up in our past. It is human nature to feel guilty about things. Here’s the thing though…if we allow our past to consume our lives, then we can never move past it. It will dominate us. You are bigger than your past. Let it help shape you…but do not let it define you.
Join in the conversation. How have you embraced or moved forward from your past? What is the change that you are most proud of?