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[ Personal Narratives ]

Nearly Took My Life

 I am the youngest of three, with two older brothers- one is a self-destructive heroin addict with 20+ yrs of continuous abuse. The other is an unpredictable, violent maniac practicing alcoholic who beat me my entire life growing up. My parents are getting older, and are in poor health. They continue to allow my addict brother to live in their home occasionally although he has stolen every item of any value from them, including my Mother’s wedding ring, to support his addiction.. Basically, I’ve had addiction all around me my entire life. I wound up being a young single mom of three boys, including a set of twins; their father abandoned us the moment he got a chance. This was devastating to me. We had marriage plans; my parents had already given the deposit to the vendors, event space, etc.. He went back to the dope right before finishing a hard core behavior modification program, Delancey Street Foundation! I had waited Three and a half Years- the first 19 months are NO CONTACT Whatsoever- NO Exceptions, (besides death). No phone calls, no letters, no anything for 19 months. I was 4 months pregnant with twins when he went away. He was in jail for 2 months prior to leaving for Delancey. It was hell. I was hospitalized twice before the babies were born for the flu, and I took a fall at 38 weeks because I couldn’t see over my belly and missed the last step coming down to the front door, (we lived on a hill). The babies were born in less than 32 minutes that night due to the fall. They were healthy: Baby ‘A’ weighed 7lbs10oz; Baby ‘B’ weighed 6lbs14oz. Both were 20″ long… We’ve been surviving and thriving without their ‘dad’ in my 3 boys’ lives for over sixteen years. For a long time I wouldn’t come to grips with the reality of the situation. Today, its a totally different story, and it feels oh-so-good….

 

       When my boys’ dad and I first split it was like it wasn’t real for a long time. I had invested so much of my life into this person for so long that I just could not believe that this was it. Finally, after 8 years, we were really calling it quits. There were mutual restraining orders, a custody battle, and enough mud slung in court, (in front of both sets of our parents), to make a busload of mudpies.. I literally couldn’t believe my ears. I couldn’t believe that people could stoop so low. I now know better. That was a bad time in my life.. I lost it. I broke. I started going out when I didn’t before. I started drinking alcohol in excess like I never had on a pretty regular basis. I started putting my kids 2nd, or 3rd, or worse. Sometimes I’d stay up for three days drunk. I didn’t do drugs, but alcohol? Oh yeah. I could stay up with the best of them: meth heads, fiends, all types- but I’d just be ‘that crazy drunk chick’. Yes, I’d leave my poor 3 beautiful sons at home with my parents at times, for 2-3 days at a time because I’d be drunk, and maybe I didn’t even know where I was. It took me over.

      After several sexual assaults, and waking up too many times in places that I didn’t recognize I came-to one late morning, and my first thought was, “I need help”. It was one of those moments when you just feel like total shit; everything is wrong; I felt like CPS was nipping at my heels and at any moment that my Dad would call me saying that THEY were there to take my kids away because I’m a drunken loser. I was in an inpatient rehab later that same day. As mind-blowingly heart-wrenching it was for me to tell my babies that I wouldn’t see them for a while, I had to do it. I had to do it for all of us to be healthy. I spent a total of 35 days there, learned stuff that I’ll never forget, and my kids got to visit every Sunday. Its probably one of the only things in my life, outside of pregnancies, that I’ve ever actually completed 😉 … However, its progress, not perfection, and I did not stay sober for more than a few months after leaving the rehab.

      I went back to my binge drinking routine, but not for a few months. I was blessed to get my own apartment with my sons about soon after leaving rehab; it was awesome to finally be on my own outside of my parents’ home.  If I were living there today there is no way I could maintain my sobriety… As much as I love my parents, and wouldn’t be the mom I am without all of their love and support, I couldn’t get out of their fast enough; their was probably a little dust storm that followed us as we left with our stuff.. I loved being on my own. I had a job, a nice car (my dad gave me), my own nice apt, and my bills were all paid early/on time.. I thought that having my own place would make my friends want to come have movie nights, or just have dinner or hang out, but that didn’t happen. Slowly, the freedom, mixed with a side of loneliness made it very easy for me to stop at the liquor store on the way home from work one night and get a bottle of whatever. That’s all it took. It was back on. Sobriety went out the window and I was a practicing alcoholic again. This time with a 7 year old, and 5 year old twins. Most nights I’d have my liquor ready and put them in bed. Then I’d get wasted by myself. Then I started using AA mtg’s as an excuse with my parents to go to the bar. Even though they were practicing, they knew what a monster I was when I drank, and didn’t want me anywhere near a bar, so I’d lie to them. A LOT. I’d say I was going to an AA mtg, and come back wasted 6 hours later….

 

      The emotional pain of being abandoned by the father of my three sons was unbearable for a person like me: ultra hypersensitive, overly trusting, hopeless romantic, just loving him unconditionally. This goes on.. For over sixteen years I have parented my boys w/o his help in any way: financial, or any other supportive way. When we first split, and for a long time after, I went off the deep end w/alcohol, and nearly allowed it, and how it affected me, to take my life away. One night it got really REAL..

      I hadn’t drank for several months. My partner of nine years took me out on a date night; he took me downtown to a movie and dinner. At dinner I ordered a Mai Thai like it was nothing. I knew it WAS something by  the look on his face. He knew how I got when I drank- ugly on the inside and out; angry, sad, violent, all of the above.. However, he didn’t say anything, and ‘allowed’ it. The waiter suggested something called a ‘Bandito’ instead, saying it was a better, stronger drink. I had three. Three ‘Banditos’ on a pretty empty stomach will turn your world upside down; it did mine.. I don’t remember anything after looking into my second drink and taking a sip..

      From all accounts that were told to me by very reliable sources, including my partner, which we are still together by God’s grace, and his endless well of patience and love for me, I went home w/”T” and took advantage of the situation when we got home. The night could have ended there nicely, but my mind had already switched over and I didn’t even realize it. While “T” was in the bathroom as soon as we got home, I grabbed the keys to the car and ran out. He came after me, but couldn’t catch me; I was gone. He’d seen me act this way enough times that he wasn’t going to chase me this time; he was going to let me learn on my own… I drove the car back downtown, parked right in front of a seedy bar, and proceeded to get completely blacked out drunk for the next few hours. The only reason my partner came to find me was because I was attacked by a gang and was in the process of being beaten within inches of my life.

      Apparently, from what my ex friends who worked at said bar told me, I was dancing with a girl who was a gang member, and I being oblivious, didn’t have a clue. I guess she uses her beauty to lure people to her, then she steals items from them and takes the items to her head gang leader to sell for drugs. Well, she got me to take off my expensive sweater while we were dancing; when we went outside to smoke, (which I didn’t), I looked for my sweater and it was gone. My car keys had been in my pocket and they were gone, too. I’m assuming she got those while we were dancing closely. When I questioned her about the items outside all hell broke loose. (Mind you, I don’t remember any of this, it was all told to me by witnesses).. A gang of about 7 people, both women and men started beating me mercilessly. I was knocked out after the very first blow, along with a tooth and some broken ones.  They continued to kick, punch, scratch, and tear my VERY long 45″ hair out of my head for a long time before my fiance could get there on his Harley because I took the car. The bouncer was my ex’s best friend; he wouldn’t get involved, or help me in the moment, but he did call my partner and I am forever grateful for that..

      When my fiance arrived he said he couldn’t recognize me; I was covered in blood- my beautiful long hair- matted, dirty, bloody. My face, unrecognizable, bloody, broken,  teeth. My clothing- dirty, torn, bloody. My money? Gone. Yeah, they got that, too… He was in such a hurry to come get me that he forgot to bring a helmet. I was REALLY messed up and needed a doctor; I kept nearly falling off the bike when we got pulled over  on the way home. At first the cop thought my hunny did all that to me. NO WAY! He’s Marine Corps Vet. When the cop could smell the 10 different flavors of liquor coming off me from a mile away he knew I needed an ambulance..

      I used to laugh when an EMT would ask someone what year it was, or how old they were and the person would get the answer wrong. I ‘knew’ they were lying for attention.. Not so much anymore. It happened to me! When the EMT’s arrived a few minutes later I got asked all those same questions. I don’t remember anything except for a really bright light in my eyes, and a girl asking me how old I was, and then her saying, “Nope, wrong, she’s gotta go”. The next thing I remember is coming to in a great amount of pain. I was held for observation at the hospital because I had such a high BAC that they needed to see me ‘sober’ to know what Really happened: ‘was I just another drunk off the street, or did I really get attacked by a gang’?.. How about BOTH.

      Aside from breaking some teeth, nothing was seriously fractured/broken. I do have lifelong injuries from the attack, though, as well as PTSD. I have permanent neurapraxia on the right side of my upper quadrant of my head, and couldn’t move my right eyebrow for several weeks after the attack. Its an injury usually seen in football players since they take so many hard blows to the head. During the healing process there would be days when the nerve would be doing its own thing, healing I suppose, and the brow would just raise all the way up- higher than I could ever make it go- all by itself. I’d have to massage it to get it to go back down. The damage is permanent. My eyebrows are pretty much unnoticeable, but if I run my fingernail down the middle of my forehead I still get lots of tingly little wormy feelings on the right side of my head. I had blurry vision for about 4 months after being attacked; a concussion of course; torn ligaments in my jaw; lots of missing hair, two black eyes, cuts inside my mouth; I have a permanent shoulder injury. One of my attackers threw me over a bike rack using my arm/shoulder. Over four years ago and I still can’t lay on that arm. The one thing I remember from the attack, and its not even really a memory, is a feeling I got while lying on my back being kicked in the head over and over- I felt my spirit trying to leave my body. I also felt the presence of God surrounding me almost like, “I’m going to let you get to the brink, but I’m not going to let you die. If this is what it takes, Chrissy, my daughter- I love you enough to allow you to go through this. I will never leave you”. I felt the Spirit of the Lord hover over me during my worst, scariest moments, and I felt Peace.

     The last time I drank alcohol was July 31, 2011. I started drinking on the night of July 30th, but since I was still wasted on the 31st, my Sobriety Date is August 1st, 2011. I vowed to myself that after what happened that night: my bad choices, my treason against my beloved, the consequences that followed- there was NO WAY IN HELL I was ever going to drink again. I was willing to go to ANY lengths this time. I had the tools; I knew what I needed to do/not do. For my well being and my children’s well being I had to get sober for once and for all. I’m all my boys have. They don’t know the love of their biological father, so I give them double doses from me. I’m raising three young men who have dreams and goals. Why would I want them to be like the drunk version of me? I’d love for them to have attributes of the passionate, loving me!

      When I was still drinking I would never dream of taking my kids on trips, or even down to the beach a mile away because of my sorry ways. Since I stopped we try to go to Disneyland every year, and beach trips are at least a weekly event, weather permitting- if not more frequent. I haven’t missed a baseball or football game once. Oh, and church. We have been at church off and on my entire life, but since I got sober over four years ago we have gotten much more involved. The boys are highly involved with their Middle and High School Youth Groups; I am into a few things: Children’s Ministry, Celebrate Recovery, Christmas Cookie Baker, Books for Inmates, Bible Study of course 😉 …

      Recovery is different for everyone. I feel so very blessed that I have been pulled from the muck that I had created for myself, and I thank God daily. For me, I attend Celebrate Recovery on Fridays at my church. They have dinner, fellowship, followed by 12 step small groups for men and women. I haven’t yet ran into a problem with feelings of desire/craving to drink AT ALL since the beating I received in July ’11. I heard a quote recently, “Sometimes a good beating inspires personal growth”. As much as I abhorre violence I believe this to be true in my case. I have found that FOR ME: going to regular meetings with bad/old associations only grows the desire to drink/use that much more. It has never done ME any good to sit in a crowded room full of attention seekers who  salivate when they go on and on about using/drinking, especially when I see them drop off their court mandated slip to be signed off to show they went to their mtg to satisfy a judge’s order…. What I’ve been doing has been working for the past four+ years solid; I  think I’ll keep it that way for now… Best wishes to you on your journey to recovery!