Lectures at the fralin biomedical research institute
Lectures at the fralin biomedical research institute
Our site is undergoing maintenance. During this time we appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience. We are upgrading our website for you and hope the changes will improve your site experiences in 2023!
“The reflection in the mirror belied the memory of an enthusiastic young girl who was going to take on the world. The tears that ran down my face could not wash away the unbearable guilt and shame I had felt deep within me for what seemed like forever. The glowing eyes and flawless skin had been replaced by bloodshot eyes, a red nose, ruddy complexion, and a bloated face that even the heaviest makeup could no longer hide.
This was the result of years and years of alcohol abuse. Today was a repetition of so many days before. I was drunk again. Blind, blotto drunk once more, after promising myself that very morning that I would never drink again. But as usual, that promise only lasted until about lunchtime when I would take my first drink.
“Only one and no more,” I promised myself. This “one” drink, or “the hair of the dog that bit me,” was just to take the edge off of the awful hangover I was nursing. Looking back on it now, it was quite comical in a sad sort of way, how I was able to convince myself that today was going to be different from all the rest.
Then I needed a second drink to stop my hands from shaking, followed by a third which supposedly would settle the nauseousness in my stomach. By the time I reached for the bottle once more, I was starting to feel mellow so instead of putting the bottle back in the cupboard, I poured myself another drink, and then another.
Then my booze-soaked brain took over and told me that since I had screwed up my promise not to drink today I may as well make a good job of it. “Drink as much as you like,” it told me, “Because tomorrow you will definitely stop drinking.” And so the daily downward spiral to alcohol-induced oblivion was well on its way.
I usually avoided mirrors, as I hated myself and the way I looked, but this night on my way back from the toilet, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror in the passage and for some reason I stopped. I grabbed hold of a nearby door to steady my drunken sway and took a long hard look at my reflection through squinted, blurry eyes. I had often been “dronkvedriet” (an Afrikaans word that literally means drunk and remorseful and feeling sorry for oneself), but what I felt at that moment went far beyond that.
My mother had died two weeks ago, the man I loved left me because he could not handle my drinking, and my children had had enough of my disgraceful behaviour that they were ready to lock me up and throw away the key. A feeling of emotional pain so heavy and so great suddenly came upon me. It was like nothing I had felt before and the intensity was so overwhelming that I felt like I would explode. It churned up in my stomach, rose through my heart, constricted my throat and then like a river bursting its banks, streamed from my eyes in a torrent of tears.
I staggered to my room and dropped to my knees at the edge of my bed. As I sat there with my head and arms resting on my bed, the tears continued to flow until I could cry no more. I thought of my mother, who I loved so much, but seldom told her so. Instead, I treated her badly and even blamed her and my father for my drunken behaviour.
I thought about my beautiful children and the pain I caused them as a result of my drinking. Having grown up in an alcoholic home and having suffered much as a result, I should have known better. How could I have done this to them? Their faces flashed in front of me and their all-too-familiar look of love, mixed with desperation and disgust was just too much to bear.
I thought about my shattered life and how much time and money I had wasted on booze and how I had alienated myself from my family because of my addiction.
My tears eventually subsided and I felt totally spent. Even in my drunken befuddled mind, I knew that this was the end of the road, the point of no return—and I was so scared. No, I was terrified. There was no happy ending to the terrible mess my life was in. I could end up in jail for driving under the influence or end up in the gutter, homeless, or I could die as my alcohol-soaked body couldn’t take any more abuse.
I had to change and take control of my life. But alcohol had been part of my life for so long—how was I going to cope without it? My life was so out of control, was there even a chance of rebuilding it? As overwhelming panic arose within me, thoughts of suicide once again flashed through my mind.
Then I did something I had not done for many years. As I knelt at the side of my bed I began to pray. I asked God to please help me sober up as I could not stop drinking on my own. Actually I didn’t ask; I begged. Then I dragged myself into bed and passed out, totally unaware of what lay ahead of me.”
My mother was a suicidal alcoholic. She spent much of my childhood in and out of hospitals and psychiatric facilities. I grew up during the sixties and seventies, when “sex, drugs and rock and roll” became our battle cry. I tuned out the chaos by creating my own and numbed my existence with every substance I could find. My parents died in a fire labeled suspicious when I was 14. From then on, I lived under a shadow of distrust from people, including my own family members, who thought I either set the fire or had something to do with it. Because of this I was physically separated from the people I grew up knowing. At 16, I moved in with a guy because he had the drugs. We bought and sold drugs, harmed ourselves, harmed others. I was miserable and suicidal myself, ending up in several state-run facilities. At 18, as an orphan, I discovered that I would be paid for attending college. Even with a drug habit, I attended school and received a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. But because of my reputation no one would hire me. My addiction brought me deeper into the seedy side of life, getting and using and finding ways and means to get more, sinking quietly into pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. I had no self-respect at all. I ended up in jail on a possession charge. By then I had been to my first rehab, where I learned enough to know that my continuing to use was a choice I was making. It was the first one that set me on the path of insanity. I had a serious awakening when I received a visitor there. A woman inmate next to me, in an orange jumpsuit which denoted seriousness, was saying to her visitor, “They’re trying to get it down to 25 to life.” I knew at that moment that we were no different, she was just in another place on the destructive path I was on. God was showing me where I could end up. It took another devastating incident and more God-shots, but I found my way back to the rooms and the fellowships. It took even longer for me to surrender to the principles of the program and give up not only the substances but also the behavior and thinking to which I was clinging. I’ve been to four rehabs and thousands of meetings. I began to change from a self-centered, self-seeking, selfish individual into a woman whom I could respect. I learned in order to have self-esteem, I had to perform esteem-able acts. I had two children, and I realized that I am their role model, and the way I treated them was the way the world would treat them. I was told “as you were parented, so shall you parent, unless you learn otherwise.” I was determined to learn otherwise. I received counseling, I attended workshops. Parenting classes helped greatly. Child-rearing books became my handbooks. Attending women’s meetings with babysitting saved my life and those of my children. I learned to watch the other women. They told me “If you want what we have, you do what we do.” Other women and their children taught me, by example, what not to do. I would say I grew up alongside my children. In some ways, my children are way more mature than I am! I was told “Recovery is like a bed. If you get in the middle, you can’t fall off.” 12 Step meetings became my life. I worked with a sponsor and completed the steps and continue in step studies two decades later. I have a sponsor and I sponsor other women. I attend meetings in several fellowships and in different formats weekly. Everyone who knows me knows I am a woman in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The most important thing in my life is that I am clean and sober, because if I weren’t, I wouldn’t have this life. Most importantly, I have a God of my understanding, one who is Love and nothing else. Love only loves, unconditionally. When I follow Love, I have no fear. What I have today is a daily reprieve from my disease which is based on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. I work diligently to remain close to Love and follow Love’s will for me. When I do, the gifts are infinite.
Well, it has been 21 years on June 22, 2001, since I've been clean.
I was lucky enough not to relapse, it's not part of my story.
I had enough of the way my life was headed. I was 9 yrs. old when I started drinking, as my dad was in the Forces, we traveled a lot. So was always picking up and moving. Drinking was easy, it helped the loss of best friends, then I let that go till I was15, when I was drinking more, but need something more numbing and exciting, I started doing speed, I like the way it may me feel, I could try to make friends easier as I was doing it with that crowd.
Again, we moved, had to start over, was scared and fearful of what would happen. I started drinking again heavy, I was able to hold on to Graduating High School, but no desire to cont. my education. I wanted to party!
I always felt I had control of my life, but I did not. I got into a relationship, started using a whole new drug, cocaine, that was the start of a whole new level of getting high, now I could drink more stay up more..
I got married had 2 kids, that went nowhere, had another child, so now I'm a single Mom with 3 kids, I did manage to keep my job always,, but was always high most of the time,, even doing it in the bathroom during working hours and lunch,,
Got myself together for a short time to get remarried,, another 2 kids, I married an alcoholic and we were on, but I was feeling bad because I wasn't seeing my family wasn't taking care of my kids as well as I should have, they got to do whatever they wanted,,
and I started feeling like I was losing myself, got real depressed and manic off and on.
Went to therapy and physiatrist, got on meds to help my depression that didn't really help!! Still drinking, got another divorce. 2 more kids, Now I have 5 kids and single!!
I knew I couldn't live this way and needed to do something. I realized it was my using.... and I needed help!!!
Went thru a lot of problems and therapy wasn't working I thought, but after 18 months of going 1 to 2 times a week, I started to see where my problems began, drinking. I thought I was pulling the wool over my therapist eyes and was not telling him about my street drugs and kept insisting it was the drinking and company I hung with, but one day I heard him clearly.... I was an alcoholic!!!!, so we had a little extra time spent that day, and I realized I needed help!!! I wasn't going to be able to do it myself!!!
He suggested an inpatient recovery for 30 days, after him asking if I thought I was an alcoholic,, he said he was pretty sure my work was willing to send me there for no cost,, I went on July 4th 2001, My last drink was June 22, 2001..
I was so relieved I got their help I needed. Don't know if I could have done it on my own. I was 48 years old before that day...
I've stayed clean and worked A 12 Step Program got a sponsor worked all the steps, took on Sponsee’s, and to this day have 3 constant sponsees..
I still go to meeting when I can, the covid thing got me the first year it was out, sick for 24/7 for 6 weeks and fog brain for still a few months after that, that kept me from in person meeting, but did Zoom..
I'm thankful I had a therapist who stuck by my side and helped to realize that I was an Addict!!!
I'm grateful My Kids are very happy they got their Mama back, My family is proud of me for finally taking care of the whole problem, not just the using , but the understanding of the vicious cycle that I was going thru all those years. That it was a disease....
I'm still learning about where my problems were, and that I need to be HONEST with myself and quit telling the lies!!
I'm glad to be clean today...
Thank you so much for Narcotics Anonymous
“It was April 19, 2012….this was not my first “bottom” but it would be my last. I suffered an addiction to oxycontin before I had children. I was clean a year before becoming pregnant with my daughter. Sadly…I became addicted right after college graduation in 2003. I loved that false sense of “happy” that opiates gave me. I did NOT love the frantic lifestyle that came with it. The “search” daily for how I was getting my high. The stealing and lying that came along with my daily struggle for my addiction to survive was NOT me. None of that was “me”. I had my daughter in 2005, February, and it was then that I relapsed on cocaine. That binge lasted 5 months. I used it to get me through the sleepless nights…to make me “super mom”…and I missed so many firsts that I will never forgive myself for that guilt. I was THERE for them…but not sound of mind to remember them vividly as she deserves. I was cruel. I was unhappy. I was not me.
I got clean in July 2005. I was clean for 5 years and then in the spring of 2010 I relapsed. This time was opiates first, and stimulants second. My opiate of choice was percocet, but then I tumbled to oxycontin. Later I fell in love with adderall, Ritalin, and eventually found my way back to cocaine and heroin. I needed help and finally in the summer of 2010, I got my opiate addiction under control with suboxone. However, I didn’t stop the stimulants…and I suffered through fall, winter, and spring with my addiction and my lies. I dragged my children down with me; they had a front row seat to my demise. My poor angelic babies deserved the GOOD me, not THIS me. I often wonder the permanent damage my 7 year old and my 3 year old will suffer as a result of my poor choices. I wonder if they’ll ever REALLY feel they can count on me as a mother. I beat myself up daily. However, I am HERE, now. I give the best I can offer myself and my family. I show up to MY fight daily and prepared to win. I am here to conquer this and to make up for my mistakes every day for the rest of our lives. I am HERE to be the mom that my children deserve, the wife my husband deserves and the ME that I deserve. I have two months and 3 days clean. It’s a start….and it’s hard work. You’ll be reading about me 2 years down the road, STILL CLEAN.”
“Hi, My Name is Terri and I am an Addict and Alcoholic.
I am a Survivor of Child Abuse. I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused until I was 18. I started drinking at 13. It helped me to numb out when I was being abused. And helped me to cope afterwards. At 15 I cut my wrist and that is when I told my mom what was happening to me. Her response to me was – I knew something was happening to you and I thought it was your dad. OMG, not my dad….My dad was an alcoholic too but my dad never hurt me. I just felt neglected by him, because if he wasn’t working he was at the bar drinking. He died of cancer and had 9 years of sobriety. Anyway, my abuse was never talked about again. I never got any help and the abuse continued. And my drinking got worse. I quit school in the 10th grade and just stayed high. I was raised in Denver and through my teenage years several of my friends died from car crashes, accidental gun shots wounds, over doses. ( All alcohol and drug related ) But alcohol wasn’t the problem….it was the solution….to stay numb from all the pain, all the loss, all the abuse. At 18 a married a marine who lived in Kansas City. (That was going to be the answer) I will move and get away from everything and everyone. So I did the geographical change thing. But the way I felt inside didn’t change and I drank and drugged everyday still. By the time I was 23 I had 3 children. I was able to quit drinking and drugging during my pregnancies. (Thank God) But once the children were born I picked up where I left off. At 26 years old I started having flashbacks. I had 3 small children to take care of and I couldn’t even take care of myself. I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t leave my house. I was very suicidal. I ended up in treatment where they talked about things like Flashbacks, PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic and Anxiety Attacks, Depression, Substance Abuse. Finally I knew what was wrong with me and I was getting help. I also realized I wasn’t alone. Other people felt the same way that I did, and some of the other women in treatment had been abused. I started taking medications and going to therapy. But I still struggled. I don’t know what was worse, remembering the abuse or not remembering the abuse. I felt like I was reliving my abuse, and drinking was still my solution. It still had the ability to keep me numb. I got to the point that I couldn’t function. I couldn’t keep a job or a boyfriend. We kept having to move because I couldn’t pay the rent. My poor children had no stability. I don’t know how I was able to keep them. I went to treatment 3 more times, always on the psychiatric side. Never looking at my alcoholism or my abuse of drugs. Finally they sent me to treatment again. This time the mental ward was closed, so they put me on the drug and alcohol side. They stated that they didn’t know what they were going to do with me. They introduced me to the 12 steps and said to apply them to my abuse. I had to go to the groups and listen to people’s stories. I always look at the differences. I hadn’t been to jail, or got a DUI or anything like that….YET….. They say that God puts people in our lives for a reason…..I had started going to school and me and this gal named Carol had a lot of the same classes and she started picking me up every day. She attended Alcoholic Anonymous. She actually took my dad to his first meeting. She was beautiful and vibrant and I was so jealous of her. She was the type of friend that would put her finger in my face and tell me that I needed to quit drinking. Because by this point the alcohol had quit working. It wasn’t numbing the pain anymore. As a matter of fact, it seems like it was intensifying all those feelings. So I started going to meetings but I would not admit to being an alcoholic. Where I live there are 2 meetings every day and for those 2 hours I felt safe. But the other 22 hours I was terrified. I started to pretty much live at the club. It took about 2 months of listening to other people’s stories before I started to see the similarities. OMG I am an ALCOHOLIC. Finally admitting that I was an alcoholic and starting to work the steps saved my life. It is the best thing I ever did for myself and my children. I still struggle. I have relapsed a couple of times because I thought it was going to be my solution again. My dad dying of cancer was the worst thing I have ever gone through. I felt so blessed to have the relationship with my dad. We had become so close because of Alcoholics Anonymous. I couldn’t bear watching my dad suffer and I started drinking. We have had a lot of loss. My dad, my grandma, 2 uncles, 1 aunt, my best friend, and so many members of the program have died. Mostly overdoses and suicide. I have heart disease. I have had a couple heart attacks, and mini strokes. I had cervical cancer. Having to learn to live LIFE ON LIFES TERMS.
The most important thing that I want to share is my story of FORGIVENESS. My uncle had sexually abused me starting at 3 years old. And my oldest brother use to beat me up constantly and emotionally tearing me down. Even when I was an infant he would pull my hair and pinch me, anything to make me cry. Anyway, my grandmother was in the hospital and she was 83 and she was dying. When I got the call that she had passed away I raced to the hospital. When I got there the uncle that abused me was on his kneeling and rubbing his hands through his deceased mother’s hair. I knelt down beside him and started to rub his back. It wasn’t until later that night that I realized OMG I was comforting the man that had abused me. The man that had caused so much pain in my life. All that pain and hate was gone. GOD had done for me what I couldn’t do myself.
One thing that isn’t brought up much in AA is Abuse. I want women to know that there is HOPE and FORGIVENESS. I had to start reaching outside the rooms of AA to help with my abuse issues. There is RECOVERY. I have found other ways to share My Experience, My Strength, and My Hope with other SURVIVORS. I have written a book of poems about Abuse, Recovery, and Spirituality. A couple of my poems have won national awards. I am a crime victim’s advocate. I am a speaker for RAINN – Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. Alcoholics Anonymous and my Higher Power has given me that strength and courage. God again, has done for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I no longer swallow the poison (that was killing me) and expecting others to die. I have Peace and Joy and Love in my Heart today. I know what it is like to feel Happy, Joyous and Free.
If you are hurting and need help…..There is Help……There is Hope…..God Bless You on your journey. Remember Alcohol is just a symptom of our disease. If you are suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts or actions. If you have an anxiety, panic, eating, cutting, disorder. Please reach out and get help.”
“I’m sober. That was never my plan. My plan was to go to meetings and therapy in order to get everyone to like me again. Manipulation was my go-to response to life. When that didn’t work as well as I had hoped, I ignored what wasn’t working well for me.
My addiction was to alcohol, to which I regularly added weed and barbiturates, if I could get them. During the week, I used and drank heavily at least 3 nights and almost always Sat and Sunday, from late morning until the early hours of the next morning. I had regular blackouts and generally ended episodes of using by passing out. I considered marijuana not harmful for me, and used it pretty constantly when not working.
There had been more and more of those times when I’d angered and/or scared those close to me. My rage, that companion I’d carried with me from childhood as the daughter and sometime target of my two raging parents, was more evident during my hangovers. I was failing to be a reliable or safe mother to the person who has always mattered most to me, my own daughter. I was generally driving drunk or hungover many nights throughout the week, as well as needing others to fill in the parental role while I got drunk and high.
Not to mention an emergency room visit, from which I stumbled away, walking a couple of miles while heavily drugged. (First by me, as I used alcohol and pills throughout a long night out. Then, by the hospital, as they tried to keep me on the table while sewing up my chin and mouth, after I’d crashed into a utility pole.)
Later, I realized that my no-shows to work, where I counseled college students (!) were increasingly concerning others who worked with me. My boss sent me to an addictions counselor.
I liked her very much. And I lied to her because I wanted her to like me. I hoped I be her “best” client!
Even though my not-so-truthful response to assessment indicated that I wasn’t addicted…she urged me to go to AA, “just to see what may be ahead of you.” I do not mean to belittle her skills. Its just that she was not an addict and I was able to fool her to some extent. I wanted my job to continue and I wanted her approval, so I agreed to attend a meeting.
So I went to AA. (I had been on the verge of throwing up throughout the 24 hours, before I showed up in a room of 15 other people!)
It wasn’t too hard to sit through the meetings, which was a nice surprise. I planned to suggest that they edit out the God stuff…in a month or so, when I figured I’d probably be an running things if I kept coming to meetings! (Grandiosity, much?)
Amazingly and very slowly, I learned to use some of what I heard in the rooms with other alcoholics and addicts. Contrary to popular misconception, AA/NA people do not tell meeting attendees–or even those newcomers they sponsor–what to do. People in recovery share only about themselves and where they’ve been and how it is now. Today. And what works for them.
In meetings I learned to LISTEN and IDENTIFY with others attempting to recover–skills I’d often neglected.
Members work the program in a variety of different ways. And we fail and fail and succeed and succeed. No drugs prescribed. No appointments needed. (Although many in AA are using a helpful prescription and/or other therapeutic approaches.)
Addicts are arrogant. Our histories are scary, sad and very, very funny. In AA I wanted to tell some of the stuff I’d never share with those who aren’t addicts (therapists, physicians and family included.) And we see and hear something in another AA-attending person with whom we identify. And then my arrogance and my shame begins to crack… in the presence of those who identify with Dee C., another alcoholic among hundreds and hundreds world-wide.
I also continued therapy after coming clean about my addicted reality to my counselor. She was an additional support, with whom I practiced truth-telling. She was also very helpful to me dealing with issues from my childhood and other relationships. One important bonus arrived unasked for. I connected to an almost-forgotten childhood spirituality–assuring me of love when I am determined to be unlovable.
In my case, the combination of a 12-step program in which I followed directions/got a sponsor/worked the steps AND counseling sessions where I began healing old wounds was the perfect one-two punch to battle my addiction. I continue to use both approaches. And I remember to pray after I still try, at first, to manipulate and ignore.
After 32 years of continuous sobriety, I think I am getting the hang of this recovery thing.”
“My name is Beth and I’m in recovery. December 2, 2008 I used meth the last time and pray daily it was my last time. I’ve been asked several times, why at 31, self employed very profitable business, two beautiful daughters 7 and 12, three bedroom home, new sports car and stable relationships with my family and some great friend I would ever try meth? Why? Because it was offered to me. Because I had recently gone through a divorce. Because I was dating a drug user and tried to keep up with his life style for almost six months. Because my self esteem had always suffered.
Why my self esteem had never been good is still a question I ask myself daily. If I ever figure that one out I will be rich. All addicts suffer with low self esteem. That’s why most of us ever use. The drugs gave us a self esteem even if it was a false sense. We finally fit in and have a whole new set of friends, or so we think they are our friends.
October 30, 2003 I went to a party in my apartment complex and was handed a small wad of toilet paper. I asked what it was and was told meth.
I asked if it would make me throw up and was told no. Then I ask how it would make me feel. I was told “good. You will have energy and be really happy” So, just like that I swallowed the wafer, or wad of toilet paper with crystal meth inside. I went upstairs to my sleeping boyfriend and said “Tina said take this and get to the party” He immediately jumped up, snorted the meth and began to get ready. A few minutes later I began to feel the effects of meth. My boyfriend looked at me and said “You took some didn’t you?” I replied “Yes” The words he spoke to me I will never forget. He said “You just f****d your life up. In a year you won’t have anything. You will loose your house, your car, your business and will never want to see your daughters” I replied “I can handle it” He laughed and said “No you can’t!! It’s meth.”
They say if you try meth once you might be able to walk away from it. Try it twice and you’re addicted. From that night on until December 2, 2008 I used daily. Unless I was sleeping which wasn’t often, or in jail, I used and I used a lot. Less than a year later I had lost my 3 bedroom home and was living with my mom. My car had been wrecked due to driving drunk and then repossessed. I lost all my clientele and I made up excuse after excuse why I couldn’t be with my daughters. I remember one night my youngest clinging to my leg begging me not to leave. It was 10:00 at night and my girls were in tears, screaming for me to please stay home and sleep with them. But I couldn’t. I had to go chase the sack. I physically pushed my daughter off my leg she was clinging to. The hell I put family through is heart breaking to think about. I remember bragging saying “I do drugs, they don’t do me” I was never so wrong!! Meth did me in.
I just used for 9 months. Soon I had to find a way to pay for my increasing habit. So, like most addicts I began to sell. The next five years were a blur. Using, selling, sex with anyone I wanted and anyone that would make my boyfriend jealous. Insanity. Morals and dignity slipping away. I soon just didn’t care, and when you don’t care you’re a very dangerous person.
So many times I feel asleep driving, had guns pulled on me, I walked in to dope
house and hotel rooms alone with bags full of dope and wads of cash, a target to be robbed, raped and killed. I went from bad boys to extremely dangerous men. I thought I ruled the world. I had the dope, the money, the men, and people jumped when I said jump, if they wanted their dope.
I lost cars, time, memories, clothes, jewelry and my clean record. I was arrested time and time again. I was given chance after chance to change. After each arrest I thought I could be slicker than the Feds and city cops.
I found myself facing life in prison with Federal charges. I had sold to an under cover ATF agent. They had busted me with an accumulative amount of 24 pounds of meth. And my “friends” had ratted me out. The state was pressing charges of trafficking and on top of all that I was pregnant.
I had gotten pregnant and had a miscarriage in November of 2005, that was the best thing for my unborn child. I was using and selling big time and had yet to be caught. That baby would have been born addicted and the state taken it away at birth. I was hoping I would miscarry with this pregnancy as well. Two and half months into the pregnancy I sat in a hotel room with who I thought was my baby’s daddy best friend. Truth is I had no clue who the dad was. It was between two men I had been in a relationship with, one for four years and the other just over a year.
Anyway, I had decided it would be best if I tried to have a drug induced miscarriage. We loaded two syringes with over a gram of dope. We each found a vein on each arm and shot it up knowing it would kill the baby inside me and might even kill me. I was okay with both of those happening.
What happened was I threw up and was higher than I had ever been for about three days. No spotting, no cramping, nothing. One night in November my long term boyfriend and I got into a fight. He was angry I was using dope while pregnant. He was scared because the Feds were breathing down his back. I had been arrested again and had my brand new Charger impounded and $7,000 taken away when I was arrested. I was on his couch with nothing and I was putting a damper on his sex life. He told me I had to go. He was sick of me and no longer loved me. I was sick and he hated who I had become. A junkie was sick and embarrassed of another junkie?
I knew what laid ahead of me-prison for life. I knew what I had become to my family already-dead. I was never around and avoided their phone calls. They went weeks and weeks not knowing if I was dead or alive. I thought my girls would be better off without me. They needed a step mom who would love them and actually be a part of their lives. This baby didn’t deserve to be born in prison and be another child of the system. I had lost all hope. So I wrote a good bye letter to my boyfriend asking him to tell my family goodbye. And I texted him and said I had taken all the pain pills I could find and apologized if when I died I left a mess in the bed. I took the pills, called my dog up on the bed beside me and fell asleep. I woke up in the back of an ambulance sitting in front of my house with charcoal being poured down my throat. IV’s in and oxygen on. I looked out the window and saw a car pull in my driveway. A girl got out, my boyfriend went to get her and they went inside our house. That feeling…he already had a chick in our bed and he didn’t know if I was going to live or die.
After they got me stable they admitted me to the behavioral medicine unit across the street the “nut house” I found out the next day the baby had survived and it was a healthy perfect little girl. I looked up at the ceiling and asked God “Why?” A week later I got to leave. My boyfriend picked me up and took me to my moms. She insisted I go to treatment. I sit in her bathtub with a syringe full of the last little bit of meth I had. My arms were so bruised and had knots all over them from times I had missed my vein. My veins were shot. But by God I was going to find one somewhere. The water became cold and full of blood. The syringe had more blood than dope and I knew when I finally found a vein the dope would be so diluted I wouldn’t be able to get high off it but because of my insanity I kept trying. I remember looking down at my pregnant belly, sitting in cold bloody water and every so often a rippled would flow through the water when the baby would kick. Tears falling and hitting stomach. I was sick and tired and hated myself still. I was too sick to live and too weak to stop getting high.
I slept the next two days solid. I woke up and had convinced my mom to let me take her car to go get a new drivers license but in reality I was going to my boyfriends and getting high. Before I could get off the couch the doorbell rang. It was the Feds. They were looking for me. I yelled across the living room for them to come back with a warrant. I smoked a cigarette and jumped in the shower and waited.
My 17 year old did something that day she never did, she came home for lunch to see her mom. For once she knew where I was. When she turned on to her Nana’s street, there were over 30 police, ATF, US Marshall, Drug Task Force, FBI and Sheriff cars lined up on the street. She thought I had finally succeeded in killing myself. She walked in to witness her mom with 5 guns pointed at her head. I stayed in jail till only by the grace of God I was allowed to go to rehab. On April 6, 2009. Three and a half months clean my third daughter was born. Healthy, perfect and her two big sisters in the room. I graduated rehab October 7, 2009. On December 15 I was sentenced. My attorney, the Federal DA and the judge had meet the day before and all signed for me to do three years. I was to leave the courtroom and go to prison.
Let me back up to August 17, 2009 God spoke to me. I had been praying every chance I got since coming to rehab that God please please let me stay out of prison. I begged Him to let me raise my girls. I lived each moment in fear of loosing my girls when I went to prison. I was not enjoying life. I was imprisoned in my own thoughts. So August 17 I was on pass at church. I took my baby to the nursing room and began to pray while she nursed. The same prayer begging God not to send me to prison. And after I finished praying I felt Him walk in the room, walk across the room and sit in the rocking chair beside me. He said these things to me “Beth relax. You’re not going to prison. I’ve kept you in rehab this long so you can get recovery. Be patient with me it’s almost over."
At that moment my entire world changed. I began to really live. I told everyone I wasn’t going to prison because God had spoken to me. I loved each moment with my kids and didn’t fear not having them. My prison walls had crumbled. So when my attorney called me the day before I was to be sentenced and said they had signed for me to do three years my world crumbled. I had to go home and tell me girls I was going to prison the next day. I had to look them in the eye and apologize for screwing their lives up. I told them I wished I was dead because that would be less embarrassing than having to tell their friends their mom was in prison for drugs. My oldest daughter who was now 18 was going to take over guardianship of my baby. My middle daughter asked me if I was a liar. I said I try hard not to be these days. She then said “well you said God told you you weren’t going to prison”. She was right!!
I got the elders and ministers together from my church and we prayed for hours. One elder said for the judge to have a sleepless night. One prayed that this be the hardest case he had ever had to render and another for him to be in turmoil about what to do with me. There had been over 70 letters written to the judge on my behalf and the courtroom was packed. There were over 50 people inside and people in hall way including my 13 year old and my 9 month old daughter. My oldest was on the front row, waiting for her mother to be sentenced. They is something NO child should ever have to do. The judge walked out of his chambers and called me to the bench. The first words out of his mouth were these “I didn’t sleep last night. I was in turmoil about what to do with you Ms Pearson. In my 25 years of being a Judge I’ve never had a case this hard to render” I turned around and everyone who had been in the prayer session the night before all had their jaws dropped. Exactly what was prayed for was spoken.
I walked out of the courtroom with five years probation and six months of house arrest. God is good!!
My little girl is six and perfect. She told me right after her fourth birthday something that to this day still gives me chills. She said out of the blue one morning while waiting for her Mother’s Day Out program to open “mom I saw God” I imagine she has seen lots of pictures of Him since we never miss church and Bible class and so I asked if she saw His picture at church? She said “No I saw Him when I was in your tummy, He came inside your tummy twice. He has really big arms. He held me and said He loved me and that everything was going to be ok. I asked Him who He was and He said God”
That story blew me away and still does!! If ever God was to intervene in her life it was twice. Once when I tried to have a drug induced miscarriage and once when I attempted suicide. God is alive and very active in an addicts life! I put the same energy and effort into my recovery as I did my using. I learned to truly love myself. That same mirror I once did lines of dope off of, I today look in and love the woman staring back. I’m happily married to the answer to my prayers. We said I do on December 7, 2012 in front of over 400 friend & family. I received a letter from the United States Probation Offices congratulating me on successfully completing my probation. I wrote a thank you letter to my Judge thanking him for his mercy and told him all I had done to better myself and all I was blessed to witness the past 5 years. College, marriage, my daughters High School graduation & her college, proms. I told him I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the 4th annual meth awareness rally in Bakersfield, California in 2014. I also got to travel to Del Ray Beach, Florida and speak at a huge recovery gala and be filmed. I’ve been interviewed twice by local news stations on meth stories. I have a published poem I wrote about meth, I also have traveled all over Oklahoma speaking at various Celebrate Recovery meetings and NA and AA meetings. I’m writing a book and have had part of my story published in a book called Breaking chains.
In April of this year my husband, my oldest 2 daughters & my 2 step daughters got to witness my 4th perfect daughter into this world.
I’ve been clean almost 2 years longer than I used, I attend meeting regularly and have a sponsor. I sponsor other girls and have a strong relationship with God and my family. I’ve been forgiven and am trusted. My oldest daughter told me I was her hero while still in rehab. I’m my middle daughters best friend and all my girls are my rock. I put them through hell but they have seen the power of prayer and that recovery does work.
I now have the answer to my “Why?” I asked God after finding out my baby was perfect. My “Why” is a life free of meth. Days spent with my family and something to be grateful for each day. And as I write this it’s been 6 years, 10 months, but who’s counting??”