Tag Archives: Abuse

It Breaks My Heart…

30 Jan

Thursday morning, a friend called me. I haven’t really spoken to her much over the last few years. We kind of lost touch. At the beginning of her phone call, she said, “I didn’t know who to call that could help me with this…” and then she proceeded to tell me that her husband’s teenage daughter had just admitted during a counseling session to being sexually assaulted by a family friend over the span of a few years.

I told my friend how she and her husband needed to proceed to help their daughter, both legally and emotionally. I also made myself available to talk to their daughter if she needed to talk to someone about the abuse and to help prepare her for the court process since she wants to file charges against her perpetrator.

While I am very glad that I was the ONE person that my friend thought of to call for guidance… It just breaks my heart to know that another girl is suffering through such difficult circumstances. My heart aches for the life that will be FOREVER changed… for the damage done. My heart breaks for the man who is so screwed up inside that can justify sexually assaulting an innocent little girl FOR YEARS. My heart aches for the sister that is still too afraid to admit the sexual abuse she also suffered because of this man. My heart breaks for the parents who are suffering with the powerlessness that comes from the pain their children are facing.

But here is the good news… God is SO MUCH BIGGER than this man. God is bigger than the ABUSE. God is bigger than the DAMAGE. God can RESTORE… God can HEAL… God can use this AWFUL thing and bless ALL OF THEM through it… even the perpetrator.

Going through the court process against my father when I was 15 was one of the most difficult things that I ever experienced. At 15, I could barely muster the energy to breath… I never thought for a moment that I would ever feel OK again. Today, almost 20 years later, I am so much more than OK. God took my awful situation and blessed me in so many different ways. Today I can say that I am grateful for every moment in my life, including the abuse, because of how I have been blessed and been able to help other women.

My prayer for both the victims and the perpetrator is that God will restore them… That God will come into the weak and damaged places and be strong for them. Father forgive him and bless the girls. Use this tragedy for YOUR GLORY.

I Surrender… Again

2 Jan

God I am drowning in sin and I can’t do this on my own. I need You. I need Your strength, because I am too weak. Father, I recognize that I am not even ready to let go of the sin. I am not ready to deal with the change. You know what I need more than I do, Lord, and I trust You to guide my life. You know best what I need to grow and to thrive. Please help me to become willing. Please take away anything that would prevent me from doing Your will. I ask that You would use my difficulties to glorify Your name and bear witness to those that might be helped by my challenges.

How’d A Nice Girl Like You…

30 Dec

I know my story isn’t exactly unique. In fact, sadly, it is more common that the average person would think. The longer I live and stay sober, the more I realize that physical, sexual, and substance abuse seem to be the rule, not the exception. I have met thousands of men, women, and children who have either personally suffered through these things or have endured the effects of abuse through a family member or both. Most commonly, those who have witnessed abuse have gone on to perpetuate abuse. Quite often, the abuse is so subtle that the victim and perpetrator aren’t even aware that “it” is abuse.

In a 12th step meeting when I was about 16, a nice older man asked me, “How’d a nice girl like you end up in a place like this?”

Here is the short version of my story:

I was VERY lonely. I needed a lot of attention and felt like no one in the whole world cared.

I met a girl who introduced me to her brother who was friends with the neighborhood junkies who I thought were super happy and fun to be around who taught me that drugs and alcohol makes everything that sucks in your life get better.

I then began my junkie apprenticeship which started with a 6 month period of strenuous observation and mental note taking in effort to ensure that when the time came and they passed the joint or bottle in my direction that I would be fully prepared to partake and not make a fool out of myself in front of my new best friends. I wanted to be sure that I knew exactly how to inhale, how long to hold, how to exhale without hacking up a lung or how to take a good pull off the 1/2 gallon of Jack Daniels or bathtub corn whiskey without killing myself… and I would be damned if I was going to wuss out and chase it with a bottle of coke. I was going to be WAY too cool for that. Just for the record… I was a PERFECT student.

Just to clarify, these super awesome happy people told me that they would NEVER offer me anything, because that was inappropriate. They said, “If you want to try something, you will have to ask for it.” So, when I was ready… I asked and I received. Long story short, my first night (the day of my 10th birthday) I began with 7 joints, two of which were laced with cocaine; split a 1/2 gallon of Jack three ways in an alley between two houses; had a lesbian couple give me a shot of heroin in the bend of my knee (they said the needle mark wouldn’t be so obvious there); smoked my first cigarette; and less than 8 hours later had my first hit of LSD. Of course, I spent the following 24 hours vomiting my guts out, but once that misery subsided, I headed straight back for more. The addiction began immediately.

I abused drugs and alcohol that way for 5 straight years, with a 4 month hiatus while trying on religion as an escape from physical and sexual abuse that began at 14 years old. Drugs quickly became my life. I spent all of my time looking for drugs, using drugs, and finding ways to get more drugs. Now, when I use the term drugs, it is the word I use to say drugs and alcohol, because I was always using one or the other or both. So, for me the term drugs simply means any and all mood altering substance.

After a very short time of hanging out with all of the neighborhood junkies, all of which were adults 10 years older than me or more, I discovered that if I exhibited sexual behavior toward a man, that I wouldn’t have to work so hard to get attention and drugs. In fact, it made my pursuit of attention and drugs a breeze.
Before I knew it, I had several grown men paying attention to me. I thought they really loved me. Ultimately… love is all I was looking for, but the truth is, I NEVER found it. I was in my mid-twenties before I realized that I had been sexually abused by those men. I had never considered that those adults should have had boundaries and found me some help. Although I am not proud of it, the truth is that I had upwards of 100 different sexual partners by my 15th birthday… and those were only the ones I could recall… and sadly, many of them didn’t even have names to go along with the faces. I had been sober for a long time when I realized that although I had never officially been a prostitute… that is exactly what I had become.

When I was 13, I was reunited with my biological father after writing a few letters looking for him. I had not seen him since I was 3 years old, with the exception of a time when I was 10 in a gun shop with my mom and step-dad, but I didn’t know who he was and they didn’t mention it. I began having visitation with my dad on a regular basis and soon discovered that he used drugs and drank a lot. I threatened to tell my step-dad who worked for the police department unless he would allow me to use with him. So, in effort to stay out of trouble, he began sharing everything with me.

Shortly after I turned 14, my mother sent me off to live with him and his wife and kids, my brother and sister, because she didn’t know how to deal with me. After I had been living with him for 6 months, he began coming into my bed at night, every night, and raping me. He has since indicated that I was given some “little white pills” that caused me to sleep very heavily so that he could do what he did for the most part without my being fully aware of what was going on. I don’t remember any pills during that time, but I really don’t have any other explanation for how he was able to do what he did without me killing him.

I was terrified. He was a violent man. Not to mention his period of satanic worship that he forced on his wife and I. I was so scared to do anything that veered far from what he told me to do. So, I tolerated my situation as good as I could until I finally found an escape through a local church.

Fortunately for me, that church had some sort of youth related event almost every night. I attended as many nights as I could get to in hopes that my dad would be asleep before I returned home. Eventually he made me stop attending the church and told me they only wanted me there so they could “get my money” from me. I had managed to go a few months without drinking and using drugs, with the exception of cigarettes. The night he told me I could no longer attend the church, I dove face first back into my addiction. I could not survive my home life without some kind of escape. Since church was no longer an option, drugs were the only resource I had.

One afternoon I overheard a conversation behind closed doors where my sister was crying. After some threatening and demanding information from my brother, I discovered that I may not have been the only victim in our household. She was only 3 years old and I could not stand the idea that he could be doing to her what he had been doing to me. That night… I stood over my father’s bed while he slept, holding a kitchen knife in my hand… watching him breath… staring at the vein on his throat as the blood rushed through… fantasizing about how the color of his blood would look as it dripped from the blade of the knife. Fortunately for him and me, God must have intervened.

I woke the next morning resolved to put an end to the misery. I called my mom and arranged a visitation for the weekend. She was concerned because I called on a Wednesday to make plans for the weekend, which was not my style. I had always waited until Friday evening to ask her to come get me. I waited for my dad to come home on Friday and hugged him goodbye, with no intention of ever returning, even if it meant that I never saw any of my family again.

I promptly went to my junkie friends’ house and told them everything that had been happening and started planning how to deal with him. Shortly after I divulged my story to my friends, my mother showed up and told me that my dad was demanding that I return home immediately. He found out I was at a guy’s house and was angry (that I might have sex with someone I’m sure). My friends left the house with guns and knives in tow, and I left with my mother. We headed back to her house where I received a phone call from my dad. He said, “I can’t believe you would stab me in the back like this.” I became irate and told him he had no idea how close he had actually been to that and went out to my mother’s car where I began to repeatedly kick her car outside and inside on the dash. My mother came out and immediately asked me if he had ever “done anything inappropriate to me.” I said yes… the police were immediately called and a report was filed.

I found out later from my friends that they pulled around the corner from his house at the moment three police cars pulled up to my dad’s apartment and arrested him. I believe with everything in me that they fully intended to kill him that night.

After that, I barely came up for air from the drugs I was doing. I used harder than I ever had. I wanted desperately to forget, to make the terror go away. No matter how much I used, the pain was always right there, nagging at me. Although I don’t believe drugs and alcohol is a good answer to deal with pain, I know for me, it was what kept me from taking my own life.

I was picked up by the police and admitted into a treatment facility 9 days after my 15th birthday. I was there over a month before I knew I had been admitted for sexual abuse therapy. After I was admitted, I assumed my drug tests would reveal my drug use, so I admitted everything. I attended a drug and alcohol class once a week and on weekends we were allowed to leave to attend a 12 step meeting in the city. I was thrilled to leave the hospital when we had the opportunity. I stayed high and occasionally drunk the entire 3 months I was inpatient.

While I was in treatment, I went through court against my father for several counts of rape and incest. He was sentenced to 15-20 years on all 5 counts. The court process was almost as traumatizing as the rape itself. He has been in prison since June of 1990.

I was eventually released after my parents’ insurance ran out. June 25th, I was hit HARD with the reality that my dad was essentially sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. I was completely racked with guilt and shame and drowned myself in alcohol for the next 5 days. Something happened to me during those 5 days and I saw myself for the first time for what I really was… a lonely, terrified, abused, child. I finally saw how deep my addiction was. I began to see visions of myself, almost an out of body experience, offering my body in trade for drugs and attention. I was devastated. I was finally broken. I had finally suffered enough. I crawled up the steps to my mother’s apartment June 29th, 1990 desperate for a solution. I never, ever wanted to feel that way again.

The next day, my mother drove me to MY first AA meeting. All I remember was vomiting Mexican food in the parking lot that had poorly mixed with a sour Jack Daniels stomach. I went back July 1st without using drugs or alcohol. I was completely sober. I remember when I introduced myself as “Angela, alcoholic” and the whole room said, “Hi, Angela!”… it was the first moment in my life where I truly felt like it was okay.

I will be eternally grateful for the people in that room that were honest with me, that called me on my BS, that challenged me to expect more of myself, that taught me how to BECOME a woman, that told me NO, that loved me until I could learn to love myself.

I thank God for everything that brought me to my knees. I thank God that I didn’t have to be one of the casualties of addiction. I thank God that I have since been able to serve women of all ages in recovery from both addiction and abuse.

For all the blessings in my life… I wouldn’t change a thing.

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