Enter Alcohol…

Following so much loss, tragedy, and feelings of abandonment, it is probably no surprise that my life spiraled out of control fairly quickly. 

At this point, I was working at a local grocery store.  There I ended up meeting a young man who we will call C.  C was about a year younger than me.  He was a sort of “bad boy” – very different from my high school sweetheart.  He was physically fit which definitely caught my eye.  He was confident and a bit arrogant.  Just exactly what I needed in my life. 

C came from a dysfunctional family too.  His parents were severe alcoholics.  At this point in my life I was far too young to actually realize I was once again choosing to date someone who was just as broken as I was. 

As it would be, C and I clung to each other like lifelines.  Two broken people can really do good for a little bit.  And this was my chance, it was time for me to get the heck away from my dad and I finally had someone who would go with me. 

At 18 years old, I rented my first apartment.  It was a tiny studio apartment but I didn’t care.  It could have been a closet as long as it got me far away from the situation I was in at home. 

You will not find it surprising I am sure, when I tell you I began messing with fire once again.  I began throwing birth control pills away again.  Looking back on it, I just don’t even understand what I was thinking… but that’s the thing, I wasn’t thinking.  I was just feeling.  I was feeling the hurt of abandonment and the longing for a real love and still in my mind, a baby was that answer. 

I think I failed to mention that following my first son being stillborn, I also suffered a miscarriage (with my high school sweetheart).  At 19 years old, I was pregnant for the 3rd time.  It seems so strange to say that now but at the time it was perfectly normal. 

At this point, C wanted desperately to get married.  Me, not so much.  After watching how my mom and dad lived, I wanted no part of this nonsense called marriage.  What with fighting all the time and leaning on your own children for emotional support (that was mom’s thing – I was her emotional support system), no thank you.  So, I continued to refuse when he would bring it up. 

Well, if y’all have been pregnant, you know that the hormones start going wild and you don’t always think rationally.  You guessed it, at 6 months pregnant I woke up one morning and said “ok, let’s do it.  Let’s go get married.”  We went to a tiny chapel and got married with no family or friends around.  We didn’t even provide our own witnesses. 

A few months later – just shy of my 20th birthday, my oldest son was born.  He was everything I had hoped he would be.  He brought me so much joy and I loved being a mom.  (For the record, I still love being a mom and now a grandma). 

Fast forward slightly more than a year.  I was 21 and alcohol officially entered the picture.  C being younger than me, I began to be the “supplier” for him and his friends.  I enjoyed that because it made me feel important and powerful in a way.  Unfortunately, I discovered I enjoyed the escape from reality that came with drinking.  I very quickly fell into the partying of my younger husband’s crowd of friends.  I thank God for my mom during that time in my life – she is probably the only reason I didn’t lose custody of my son – she babysat constantly for me. 

My marriage to C began to go downhill, largely due to our young age and the alcohol.  There were several “minor” incidents of domestic violence type of situations.  But the final straw was following an incident of sexual abuse.  I had, once again, drank too much alcohol and had passed out.  I will spare you the details but suffice it to say I awoke with him taking full advantage of the fact that I was passed out cold.  When I shrieked “what are you doing!?” he simply laughed at me.  The following day when I confronted him and said “that was rape!” he again laughed at me and said “no it’s not.  You are my wife!” 

I never reported the incident.  How could I?  The bottom line was that I had gotten drunk and my husband had taken advantage of me.  I felt so dirty and ashamed, and frankly, stupid.  Clearly, I deserved what happened because I was drunk, right?  I didn’t think any law enforcement would take me serious anyway. 

Following that incident, I made up my mind that this marriage was over.  I was so young and not well equipped to stand up for myself, so it took me a full six months of telling him to leave before I finally stood by my decision and refused to let him back in. 

Our entire relationship, dating, marriage, and all – was a whopping 2 years long. 

I wish I could sit here and say that following my divorce from C, I got my life together and gave up the alcohol, but that would be a lie.  My downward spiral continued….

Why I Am Sharing

I feel like I should rewind for just a minute and explain why I feel compelled to share my story.

For as long as I can remember I have felt like the unwanted child. I have felt like the one who could never do anything right. The only attention I ever got from my adoptive father revolved around his sports or his drug use. My mom had her hands full trying to deal with dad and my younger sisters. So really, even as a teenager, I was forced to be more adult than I should have had to be.

My adult life, up until about 7 years ago, was a complete sham. My children are the only thing I did right. I made one bad choice after another. I lived my life with a fake smile on so the world wouldn’t know that on the inside I was so severely broken that I was numb. I was so ashamed of the things that I did that most people didn’t even know about. I lived in a veil of regret.

Living in complete shame and regret only fueled the downward spiral. Until 7 years ago, I was a complete and total drunk. By the grace of God, I never physically hurt anyone but I know that I emotionally scarred many, including my children. I apologize to them and ask for their forgiveness quite often.

I have not had a drop of alcohol in 7 years.

Over the past few years I have been on a journey of self discovery, personal development and growth. I am no expert, but I can share my own experiences. I can tell you that I have CPTSD and, on top of being a recovering alcoholic, I am also a recovering co-dependent. My adoptive father was a narcissist and was verbally and emotionally abusive. I also suspect there is other abuse that I have repressed – because my childhood is a black hole of almost no memories.

Let me tell you what, it is HARD to get really honest with yourself. It is HARD to really dig deep. It would be so much easier for me to sit here and blame everything on my biological father for abandoning me and then my adoptive father for his abuse. But something inside of me shifted about two years ago. I realized that NOBODY was going to “fix” me but ME. I decided that I no longer wanted to live as a victim of my circumstances.

Since then I have read countless self help books, listened to countless audio-books, watched countless videos, and listened to innumerable positive affirmations. The one thing that I still struggle with is keeping a record of my feelings along the way. You see, I have good days and bad days just like anyone else. Some days I am an emotional wreck; other days, I am on top of the world. I actually think that I am just now learning to feel the emotions that I have pushed down so deep for a very long time.

Since my self discipline to actually keep up on journaling is terrible, I thought that perhaps a blog would make me more accountable. Just getting things out and in the open has already been helpful. As I write about my journey, I am forced to come face to face with my demons. I am forced to look them square in the eye and tell them that they cannot control me any longer.

All of that said, even if no one ever actually reads the things I am sharing, it is extremely therapeutic for me.

I will continue to share. And it will get deeper and darker. Something keeps telling me to “keep going” and that someone out there needs to hear it.

Whoever you are, I need for you to know right now that


I wish someone would have sat me down years ago and told me that.

Whether you believe it or not, Jesus thinks you are to die for.

NOTHING you have ever done is so bad that it cannot be forgiven.

I will say it again – YOU ARE ENOUGH AND YOU ARE WORTH IT.

The Heartbreak Years

The teenage years… I could write an entire book about those years…

We moved to another house when I was about 11.  Man was I glad to get away from that creepy old house. 

By now I had a younger sister.  She would have been about 5.  I hated her.  She took all of my mom’s time and attention.  My adoptive dad doted all over her.  I was just the “red-headed stepchild.”  Not long after this, another younger sister arrived, she being a full 10 years younger.  Well, mom and dad had their hands full now and not a whole lot of time for me anymore. 

By the age of about 13, I had already begun to pull away from my parents.  I could tell they didn’t love me the same way they loved my sisters.  I was, after all, the reminder of a twice failed marriage back in Georgia. 

In desperate attempts to maintain at least some of their attention, I played sports.  That was the only way dad and I could relate at all.  But my sports career was pretty short because, well, I wasn’t any good. 

I want to note that through all of these years my sisters and I continued to protect dad – keeping his little secret.  I realize that many people don’t believe marijuana is a big deal but my perception is much different.  My dad was an addict; it was a true addiction.  He was a monster without it.  He became severely verbally abusive and slightly physically abusive without it.  I don’t remember the physical outbursts being directed at my sisters, only me.  One such instance that has always remained at the forefront of my mind is when he cornered me and proceeded to practice his jujitsu moves on me.

About this time, I met who would be my high school sweetheart.  We will call him B.  He and I adored each other.  Both of us coming from dysfunctional families, we held onto each other for dear life.  At the ripe old age of 14, I gave up my virginity to him.  Oh, how we were in love.  We had grand dreams of running away together. 

Fast forward a few years – B and I were still going strong.  I knew we would end up married one day.  But I was still longing for that perfect unconditional love, the kind that doesn’t judge and has no limits.  I did something that would end up making me a serious “in-your-face” mother to my own boys later in life – I began throwing away birth control pills. 

I was playing with fire and I knew it.  I so desperately needed to feel loved and accepted and, in my mind, a baby was the answer.  A baby would surely love me unconditionally, right?  And who better to have a baby with than my high school sweetheart?  At the age of 17, I announced to B, my mother, and his mother that I was pregnant.  Our parents cried.  They were shocked and heartbroken.  To this day, I don’t know if any of them know it was an intentional pregnancy. 

Over time everyone came to accept the pregnancy and even looked forward to having a baby and grandbaby around.  I absolutely loved being pregnant.  It is possible that it was only because of the attention I was finally getting. 

Six months into the pregnancy, my world came crashing down. 

At a routine doctor’s appointment, my doctor was not able to find the baby’s heartbeat.  She sent me to another office to have an ultrasound.  It was confirmed – my baby had died inside of me. 

Everything stopped and my world shattered.  How could this be?  How can I possibly go on?  No, this must be a mistake! 

The rest of that day is a blur.  Doctors and nurses giving me options to induce labor or let my body naturally expel the baby.  Expel?  What!?  No, no, no, this can’t be.  Get it out.  Get it out now! 

That very evening, I was admitted to the hospital and labor was induced.  They allowed me to pump my own morphine since the baby was already gone.  I told them when the baby came to just take it away.  I don’t want to see it.  Just make this all stop.  It was so surreal. 

Finally, my son was stillborn with just B and I in the room.  One single push and out he came.  As soon as I felt him exit my body, I knew I had to see him.  That was my baby. 

The nurses came and took him away.  I begged them to bring him back so I could say goodbye.  They cleaned him up and finally brought him back to us.  There he was, my tiny perfect little boy.  Our family came into the hospital to say their goodbyes as well (well, except my dad).  The hospital staff was incredible.  They allowed us to spend some time with him and take some pictures before they took him away for the last time. 

To this day I wonder what color his eyes would have been.  Or his hair – would he have had my red hair?  Would he have been tall like his daddy?

Over the next couple of days, we planned a small graveside service for him.  I couldn’t just let him be thrown away.  He was a fully formed little human and he had a name. 

My dad, well he disagreed.  He didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.  He thought we should just dump him.   

At 17, I buried my first child.  I clung so desperately to my boyfriend; he was the only male in my life who had not abandoned me.  My own father, well adoptive father, was states away at a softball tournament rather than being there supporting me in my grief. 

Incidentally, during my pregnancy, my doctor had discovered a large ovarian cyst – 8 cm to be exact.  Within a month of losing my son, I had to have my first major surgery – this was before laparoscopy was as advanced as it is today.  My entire ovary had to be removed. 

Within the span of a month I lost my son and part of my womanhood, and all respect and love for my father. 

As with a lot of tragedies, it tore B and I apart.  Our 4-year relationship came to an end during my senior year of high school.

So much loss in such a short time…

Why Don’t I Remember?

Now living in Arizona… at some point my mom meets the man who will end up becoming my adoptive father.  Once again, I have no memories of this time in my life – other than perhaps flashes here and there.  Or perhaps they are just memories of pictures I have seen, I’m honestly not sure.   

At any rate, they married somewhere around the time I was 4.  Then sometime around the time I was 5, he adopted me.  Apparently, I sat before the judge and said “yes, I want him to be my daddy.” 

Help me out here – do other people have memories from when they were 5?  I just have such a black hole where I feel like memories are supposed to be.

Here is what I DO remember from my childhood years. 

I lived in a very old house.  One of those old houses that makes creaking noises all night long.  The kind of house that gives you goosebumps because you feel like you are being watched all the time.  You know, the ones you would swear are haunted.  I am not entirely convinced that it wasn’t haunted.  It was actually two apartments that had been turned into one large house.  I was left there alone often.  Of course, I was terrified.  I don’t recall where my parents were or any details surrounding why I was left alone – just that I was alone, with the dog.

Now this house had two basements.  One had a large overhead door – the size of an actual door – that had to be lifted up to get into it.  It was horribly heavy.  Inside there was a steep set of concrete stairs.  I can still smell it – the smell of wet earth.  I don’t remember what was down there and something tells me it is better that I don’t.  Every time I think about that basement, my heart rate goes up.  While I have no memory of it, I have a strong intuition that that large door was shut on me and I was unable to get out.    

The second basement was much more shallow.  It was just a dirt floor – no concrete.  That basement just happened to be underneath MY bedroom.  It was covered by a large carpet – and for good reason.  This basement is where my adoptive dad grew his marijuana.  Yes, you read that right.  I had pot growing right underneath where I slept.  I was often allowed to sit on the wooden steps while he was down there “tending” his plants.  And, it is no surprise I am sure, that I was sworn to absolute secrecy.  This oath of secrecy, by the way, would continue until the day my dad died.

There is just one more thing.  Another thing that I have no actual recollection of… I have always had a very strong intuition that I was molested in that house.  By whom, I do not know, but my gut tells me that my adoptive dad was somehow involved. 

For a long time, I wanted so badly to know what that black hole in my memory contained.  What happened to me to make me the way I am? 

But sometimes those things are better left alone.  It is only recently, within the last year, that I have finally been able to let go and stop seeking answers that I will likely never get. 

Whatever happened, happened.  It cannot be undone and I will never get an apology… not this side of Heaven anyway. 

So it begins…

Do all good stories start at the beginning?  I’m not really sure that is the happiest place to start, but for the sake of chronological documentation, that’s where I will begin.

I was born 40-something-years ago in a small town in Georgia to fairly young parents.  My mother was just barely 20 when I entered this world.  I think my biological father was slightly older but truth be told, I have no idea.   

To start with, I survived on sugar water for the first several weeks of my life.  Unbeknownst to my young mother, her milk supply never came in.  Back then, for whatever reason, they believed that sugar water was an ok thing to give your infant.  I guess the fact that I even survived infancy is a small miracle in itself. 

All of my life, I have been told that my biological father was an alcoholic.  I have been told that because of his drinking, my mother divorced him but then remarried him after he promised to sober up.  As the story goes, he didn’t sober up.  My memory of this part of the story is foggy but as I remember it, we (mom, dad, and I) were at a lake and dad was drunk.  He proceeded to walk out into the water with me in his arms and lost his footing.  I am told that he went under and so did I.  Mom had to rush out into the water to save me. 

At that point, realizing dad was not going to sober up, mom found the courage to leave him for the second time.  I would have been about 1 ½ at that point. 

She packed up our belongings and moved us across the country to Arizona where my grandparents lived.  This is where my story actually begins.  Arizona is all I have ever known. 

Mind you, I obviously don’t remember any of this, but these are the details I have been told throughout my life. 

To this day, as far as my memory serves, I have not seen my biological father again.  I do vaguely remember a phone call with him somewhere around my 12th birthday but all that I remember is hearing his voice and bursting into tears.  The next memory I have is when I was 17 or so, I tried to reach out to him by mail.  I received a lovely handwritten letter back… unfortunately, it was a handwritten letter from his current wife and not him… and it included a $200 check.  Now tell me that doesn’t sound like shut up money. 

For many years I have wanted nothing more than to tell my biological father how he set me up for a life of heartache and pain.  After all, what else could possibly result from an abandonment so huge at such a young age?

My father was just gone – and I wasn’t worth following or fighting for. 

If only he said those words, would it have made a difference? 


This is what started it all…

I have had the pull to write my story for a very long time, but one day in particular, the pull became too much to ignore. On that day, this is what happened.

I was sharing some back and forth banter with a coworker… really I was whining. I was whining about not wanting to be pushed into project management. I have always viewed myself as a painfully shy introvert and I did NOT want any part of this project management stuff. (I’ve been at my job long enough that the financial gain wouldn’t even really matter – I am quite happy where I am at). Well this coworker proceeds to BELIEVE in me. What?

He tells me that my boss must see in me the same thing that he sees. He tells me he thinks I will be surprised at how well this all turns out.

Obviously there were more words than that – but those are the ones that stuck.

My mind was whirling all day. When I got home I just had to let it all out… so I opened up a blank word document and this is what came out:

“A culminating moment, when everything suddenly becomes clear. I can see now that I have lived my entire adult life using my past as a way to stay angry. I am everything that I hate in others. I have used my history as a subconscious way to push people away – especially men – the good ones anyways. But then again, I have spent so many years chasing after the wrong men… and now I understand it. I was chasing after those men because somehow if I could get their approval, gain their affections, then I would win – I would win the war I have fought inside me for so many years. I have been seeking my father’s approval for so many years, in so many men. And then a good man tells me like it is – is completely honest with me – and it blows my whole way of thinking out of the water. A way of thinking that I didn’t even realize I was doing. It was more of a way of being.”

Where the heck did THAT come from? That was about ten days ago. I have been bursting at the seems wanting to write since then.