Tell Ruth the Truth

This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute.


The psychologist hastily concluded I had "hang ups" about sex

At the age of 52, I recently found myself sitting in my mother's psychologist's office. She went to him most of her adult life, though she died six years ago. I knew her psychologist well since, at the age of 14, I was the one who had sought him out in hopes of acquiring help for my family. My dad attended family therapy once, at which time he stood in frustration, faced his broken family, and proclaimed, "I am an alcoholic and have no intention of changing anything."

After my third divorce, I returned home to the Catholic Church. Then, following a year of devotion to praying my mom's rosary, I felt compelled to approach my parish priest about starting the annulment process. The time had come to confront my painful past, and the healing process was subsequently set in motion. It has not been easy, but necessary.

After Mom passed away, I discovered her own annulment documents. They revealed that my father was a sex addict and described in detail the abuse she had suffered in her marriage. It was overwhelming to realize the puzzle of my past consisted of a myriad of pieces. I think it would have been a relief the day dad chose to walk out of our family had it not been Christmas Eve. He was donning a new shirt and void of regret as he walked right past his wife's brokenness and his children's joyful anticipation of the arrival of Santa Claus.


After two years of therapy, I found myself still staring at a mound of puzzle pieces--very few connected. In my desperation, I thought mom's psychologist could help trigger some memories. Within the first ten minutes of our visit, I regretted this decision as he hastily concluded I had "hang ups" about sex since I was in a chaste relationship. He suggested that if we liked each other, we should live together. I remember staring at his degree hanging appropriately lopsided on the wall when it felt as if a bolt of lightning shot through my body, which appeared to have traveled upwards from hell, as I realized this man had influenced my mom. She sought help to better her life, and this is what she got. I was now guilt-ridden, knowing I had brought them together.

This sparked an unwelcome memory of my mom asking me to purchase her a condom. I vividly recollected struggling to process the metamorphosis I was witnessing--she was planning a one night stand. At the time I was married with two small children. Possessing only the life skills acquired on my own, I desperately tried to persuade her to reconsider. What was most upsetting was that she seemed so happy, even giddy, at the prospect. I wondered what had happened to my mom, the one who attended mass and confession and was quite devoted to praying the rosary. Now I knew.

I listened to the psychologist as he recalled this very encounter as my mom had described it to him. "It was liberating," he proclaimed, for her to express herself in this manner after being abused by my dad for so long. She now had control over her sexual being and was free to express her sexuality with confidence and without fear. He assured me it was quite pleasurable for her. I felt sick and was rendered speechless for a moment as I absorbed the shock waves of this most recent traumatic event. I  responded to him by leaning inward and looking directly into his eyes with a resounding, "Seemingly!"

It was time to leave. As I walked out the door, I muttered "hippie" and felt somewhat vindicated.

Submitted by D.W.



Divorce never stops being destructive.

Today is June 7th. I found out today that my maternal grandmother died. My mother called to tell me. Mother found out today too. Grandma, my mom's mom, died on May 15, three weeks ago.

My parents are divorced. My dad has been a porn addict since before I was born. I know that contributed to his attitudes about women and the eventual failure of my parents' marriage. Dad is remarried to a woman who had children from a previous marriage. He and his second wife had a child together too. We were strongly coerced to pretend we were all a cohesive family, but it never really took root.

Mom is post-abortive and believes in sexual "freedom." She's been married four times and now lives with a man who has never been her husband. She struggles with depression and has attempted suicide numerous times.

I was close to my grandmother and loved her very much. Despite her death, the saddest, most injuring thing about today is how, even 36 years after their divorce, my parents are still so awful to each other. My brother was my grandmother's power of attorney. He and my dad talk regularly.

I've been shut out of my dad's life because of my decision to have a relationship with my mom and because I told my sister that good Catholics don't cohabitate with their boyfriends. (I have been branded someone who tries to "force their religion" on other people.) I expected not to be told when my grandmother died. Mom is angry. She said, "I don't believe in hell, but I hope your father goes there."

I think attitudes of the sexual revolution led to the demise of my parent's marriage and all the fall out that I still experience. Divorce never stops being destructive.

Submitted by T.K.

Fighting Against No-Fault Divorce in Texas

Three long years ago, my husband and I separated. The intention was to work on our marriage; I never thought it would turn into divorce.

I know the agony of a broken home. My parents divorced when I was not quite two years old. My mother remarried, but their marriage ended ten years later, just a month before my own wedding. I thought, If this is how marriages turn out, do I ever want to be married? But I also knew that my husband and I were both Christians. No matter what difficulties we would face, we would face them together, I told myself. We married almost 20 years ago.

So, what happened?

In a word: offense. My husband and I did hurtful things out of our own pain and immaturity instead of solving the real problems in our relationship. We can be hurt by others and yet not take up offense. Offense happens when we compare ourselves to one another, instead of in humility comparing ourselves with Christ. We need look no further than the Cross of Christ to see the cost of our own sin, to feel the weight of the price that was paid for our mistakes to be forever removed. Our obligation, having received such a gift, is to give it away, to share it, by forgiving others. No matter how badly I have sinned or been sinned against, it is nothing compared to all my sins put together that Christ had to forgive for me. Should we do anything except fall with our faces to the ground, crying out great thanksgiving to God for His mercy? Having received such a gift, do we owe anything less than complete forgiveness to our brothers and sisters?

The enemy of our souls had fed us a lie, that our situation was hopeless. With Christ, there is no such thing as hopelessness! We got to the point where we told ourselves, I can’t take any more of this. But in hind sight, the pain we experienced then is nothing compared to what we’ve been through since. Oh, how I wish I could go back, put my hands firmly on my own shoulders, look myself in the eyes and say, “STOP. Now. If you go any further, you will experience pain and sorrow that no English words can accurately describe.” I would have dropped all offenses immediately. I would have apologized faster. I would have repented sooner. I would have guarded my mouth with utmost diligence. And I would have realized with great sobriety just how easily divorce can happen in our culture.

Davis and children at the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol Building

 


 

We would do well to heed the Proverb: Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster (17:19, NLT).

Days became weeks, weeks became months, and then that message I’ll never forget: “I want a divorce.” Despite my desire for reconciliation, our family is still facing permanent division. A wise man once told me: divorce is like tearing a tree in two. Trees don’t rip neatly; they tear. If you’ve ever heard a large branch break off a tree, the tearing is loud and violent. To me, ‘divorce’ means “division by force.” Three times now in my life: once as a toddler, once as a grown adult, and now as a wife and mother, divorce has been forced upon me, and there is nothing outside of prayer I can do about it. All three have happened in the state of Texas, and all three under the “no-fault divorce” system put into place before I was even conceived. Forty years of agony. If you’ve been through it, I need not explain how it feels.

Back in January, just a few short months ago, I sat in my attorney’s office working on draft #3 of our divorce decree. I asked my attorney, “At what point can I stand up and say to the judge that I don’t agree with this, that I don’t think our marriage is irreconcilable? Or insupportable?” Her reply, “Well, you can say it at final trial, if the case goes to final trial, but it won’t matter. The judge will still grant the divorce, even if she doesn’t want to. It’s the law.” It all seems so very wrong. Why can a judge who has never met my husband, myself, or our children, agree that our marriage relationship cannot be reconciled and our family healed? Why is this ok, if one of the two parties in this court case disagrees with the “charge” of insupportability, especially the defendant?

About a week after that meeting, however, a friend and mentor of mine shared with me, “Have you heard about this new bill in the Texas House? They are asking for the repeal of no-fault divorce.” I couldn’t believe my ears! You mean, someone is standing up against this decades-old failed social experiment? I looked it up online. I wrote to my Representative. (Did I mention we are a homeschooling family?) And thanks to a homeschooling program called Capitol Days put on by Texas Home School Coalition, I found myself in the state capitol with my four children less than a month later, on my birthday. Though we were tired by the end of the afternoon, we made one more stop and went by the office of the Representative brave enough to author this bill, just to share our story, just to say thank you.

They asked me if I would testify for the bill.

I could not have asked for a better birthday gift! After feeling helpless against divorce for so long, I was given an opportunity to do something about it.

On March 8, I went back to Austin to testify for House Bill 93, authored by Representative Matt Krause. I was overwhelmed, as out of the millions of people who have suffered this tragedy in my state alone, I was among eight in the office that day, ready to stand for marriage with this Bill. The Committee gave me about 3 minutes to tell them what I had waited about 40 years to say: Making divorce easy makes for disaster. The local news asked for an interview. You can view it here.

While I was there, I met another person who had shown up to testify, a constitutional law attorney. He was willing to say that no-fault divorce cases are without due process, and it is therefore unconstitutional to have such a law. He said he would challenge the Legislature’s law right up to the Supreme Court of Texas if he could find someone willing. I knew I had to ask if my case qualified; I was willing.

The attorney and I spoke. We were on a very short court schedule, so getting everything we needed done in such a short time would be difficult. I needed two things: 1) an extension to one court deadline to get all the paperwork for the challenge submitted, and 2) funding for the case to move forward. I only had a few weeks. We asked for a hearing before the judge to see if the deadline could be extended. That hearing was held April 20. The judge granted us the extension, but only for 8 additional days, until April 28th. It was not enough time. After all the effort, my case could not move forward. Even if the House Bill passes, it will not affect our marriage as our case was already filed.

I find myself back where I started: facing unilateral no-fault divorce, with nothing but prayer to help me. I cried. A lot.

But all is not lost! House Bill 93 is alive and moving through the Texas House. You may follow it here. Please contact the House representatives, and let them know you support this bill!

Are you walking through no-fault divorce and would like to use your case to challenge the law? Or maybe you are able to contribute financially toward such an effort? It’s an investment that could affect millions of lives for the better, especially the lives of children! If so, please contact me at nofaultrepeal@gmail.com.

Lastly, please pray for our family. After standing for our marriage for so long, I am nearing my 20-year anniversary; I’ve spent the last three anniversaries without my husband. All four of my children have dealt with various issues because of this divorce. Our case is scheduled for mediation on May 18th, just two weeks away. And yes, I am still believing for a miracle. With God, all things are possible!

Standing with you for marriage,

Kristi Davis


Planned Parenthood was cold and non-human

I am a happily married woman and mother of three beautiful boys who regrets having an abortion.

It all happened about 24 years ago when my husband and I got engaged. We were, and are very much in love, which is the most disturbing part of this story. One would think that because of this strong love, once we found out that we were expecting it would have been the happiest thing. However, it was just the opposite. We were engaged at the time, due to be married in the next 2 years, and happily planning our future.

The first real issue was that we were having sexual intercourse, although I was on the birth control pill. So, we didn’t think anything would actually happen even though we knew that there was always a chance that the pill would not be 100% effective. Now, we are both Catholic and should not have even considered having sex out of marriage or using birth control, but we were products of this permissive society that almost expected us to be sexually active. We bought into the whole idea that you couldn’t possibly consider marrying someone without having “tried them on” so to speak.


Anyway, there we were, in love and getting ready for marriage when we discovered that I was pregnant. I remember crying and having panic attacks thinking how I/we could have this baby out of wedlock; it would be such a scandal. That’s the thing; I should have been thinking how we could abort this beautiful baby created out of our love in union with God’s obvious will for our lives. I felt pressure to hide this mess up, which is how I thought about the situation. I thought that I messed up and couldn’t possibly be capable of bringing a life into the world that was so unplanned.

I thought that I must terminate the pregnancy. My then finance supported me either way, and with regret now too, he drove me to the Planned Parenthood facility and the abortion was completed at around 7 weeks.

I remember the facility being very cold and non-human. I remember being told don’t worry this will all be over soon. I was never offered an ultrasound or any counseling as to other options. They just took my call, scheduled my abortion, and proceeded with it without any other words of advice.

I did have a lady I was working with at the time who tried to convince me to keep the baby, to give consideration to adoption, or get married sooner, but I was not listening. As a result, I’ve spent many years of emotional torture and regret. I long for that baby and still feel an incredible amount of pain and sorrow for having gone against God’s will and his commandments. I did end up going to confession for this and my sin was absolved. For that I am forever thankful that Our Lord showed so much mercy toward me and this horrible decision.

My deepest regret is that I bought the lie that society tells you. I bought the lie that says God only exists on Sunday… that it was ok to abort a precious gift from God because it was just a blob of tissue. Plus, it was legal to do, so why would it be wrong?

I pray that my story will help others choose life, choose to listen to God’s will and honor him by obeying no matter what the circumstance because if not… you will end up in the dark world of regret, which is no place for a child of the light.

Submitted by C. L.

Today I put my wedding rings back on.

I took them off about 15 years ago when the grudge started.

The grudge was because I expected my husband to fulfill my every need. I had idolized him. I put him in the place of God.

My husband was my knight in shining armor when we got married, and I placed this insurmountable burden on him without even realizing.

The fact is that I was expecting him to fulfill the parts of me that only God can fulfill. I had placed my husband above God. And because he couldn't fulfill the God shaped hole in my heart, I unconsciously started to hold a very low level, almost unnoticeable grudge. Subconsciously I must have always been thinking "What am I getting out of this?" rather than ""What can I give to this marriage?"


Over the next 15 years this grudge effected my relationship with God because, without realizing, I was not putting Him in the first place in my life. I was not recognizing God as provider. I always felt this terrible separation from God, but I didn't know why.

When my husband became ill 3 years ago, my earthly provider stopped being able to provide. And because I had put him in the place of God, I had no where to turn.

The fear I felt in those years is something only an atheist would understand. I couldn't feel God near me, and I had no idea it was my own doing.

A few weeks ago it reached crunch point. I had already reconciled that I couldn't leave, but I felt I couldn't stay either. Who would provide for me?

It was after reading the 'Healing of Families' book that I realized I had been harboring this grudge, and that my relationship with my husband and with God was out of sync. I took all that to confession, along with a few other things.

I felt the fear lift. I felt the grudge go. I felt my relationship with God fall back into place. And I felt free to love my husband - agape Love, unconditional love, for the first time ever in our marriage.

He asked me "Why have you decided to do this now? I can't provide anything for you right now."
I told him "This is the perfect time, the FIRST time I have ever been able to love you unconditionally." 😊

I now recognize God as provider, and the love in my relationship with God, and with my husband has grown immensely. I am now free to love. And my husband is free from the burden of being put in the place of God.

Submitted by C. C.


Watching home videos from before the divorce is heartbreaking.

My dad divorced my mom after 26 years and eight kids. He subsequently married three more times. I was out of college when my parents divorced and so was least affected. I've heard that divorce is the suicide of the family. I have to agree.  I'm 50 and not married. I'm a marginal Catholic. My youngest sister became a Marxist in college. She has two kids from different men and will likely continue this trend. She was four at the time of my parent's divorce. My youngest brother was nine. He still lives rent free with my mom and verbally abuses her. My sister says he is a heroin addict. These two were so beautiful and innocent before. Watching home videos of them before the divorce is heartbreaking.

Submitted by B. B.


The hidden abuse

Without the societal climate that has been created by contraception and free sex, I don’t think it would have happened to me so easily. The Sexual Revolution is foundational in the situation. I wouldn’t be dealing with this trauma and the resulting emotional injuries. My pastor, a Catholic priest who has taken vows of chaste celibacy, tried to seduce me. He has ongoing affairs with other women. Despite being good friends with my husband and children, he wanted to add me to his collection of paramours. Raising a red flag on a priest’s sexual impropriety is a dicey situation. He is a designated and ordained moral leader, and, in my case, well-loved. Nobody wants to displease him.

In our sexually-porous and unrestrained cultural climate, people are not as alarmed as they should be when they hear of sexual improprieties—even from a priest. I have experienced a crass, blind tolerance and dismissal of the problem from his superior and other members of his religious community. One of Father’s paramours is a woman he “helped” through a divorce. Everybody knows! “Oh, Father is just like that. There is nothing you can do about it.” He could have destroyed my marriage and he has a serial problem with it. My husband and I have a large family, including a grandchild. It would have affected all of us, for generations. Father was our friend and our confessor. We’ve known him over ten years and he used to come for dinner and to spend time with the family. We loved him and he betrayed us. I remember thinking, as I sought emotional support and help from those closest to me, This is how it happens to the children who are sexually abused. He has everybody groomed to accept or ignore it. It’s like “The Emporer’s New Clothes.” Everyone knows, but no one wants to be the one to speak up first.


Because we live in a culture that doesn’t recognize the importance of family and the sacredness of sex, this situation is going basically unaddressed. His superior told me, “Yes, he gets himself into situations that might look bad. But I’ve known him a long time. He needs to be with people and have lots of friends. He likes to be with families. That’s just the way he is.” Well, that’s just the way a predator is, too.

One of the ironies of this situation is that if he pursued minors and not vulnerable women, the Church would be all over this to the point of paranoia. I’m not suggesting that’s an appropriate response. But is accountability so unreasonable? Is asking him pointed questions about his behavior unreasonable? Is expecting him to not regularly have woman alone with him in the rectory unreasonable? That’s how he was grooming me, using the rectory. Aren’t vulnerable women worth protecting? Our culture says no. Put them on carcinogenic contraception, kill their babies by abortion and tell them to shut up. That attitude has pervaded the Church, too, and my situation is fallout.

After Father’s religious superior politely dismissed me, I reached out to my friend in a Catholic abuse survivor’s network. My friend put me in touch with a canon lawyer who deals with these kinds of situations. Finally, someone to help! On his suggestion, I wrote the bishop of our diocese. I was called in for an interview and they asked me lots of questions. It was respectful and neutral to both parties involved. I haven’t gotten any further follow up and don’t necessarily expect any, but it’s documented now. If anyone else reports Father, my testimony will corroborate theirs.

Raising kids and living a lifestyle of marital chastity without contraception is a militant struggle in our hostile culture. It’s so sad that not even the Church can be a safe haven for marriage. My pastor has been moved to a nearby parish, in accordance with the “How to Enable an Abusive Priest” playbook. The new pastor is great, but I’m afraid to tell him. I’m afraid that, even with him, conforming to norms so things running smoothly in the parish will be more important than my marriage and family.

Submitted by T. K.



When suicidal, the psychiatrist told me "the problem is you're still a virgin."

It all probably started in high school when I became bulimic. I thought I was the only one in the world with this terrible compulsion. Now I know that 4 of the 6 daughters of my family engaged in bulimia during their teens. I also now know that my father was engaged in porn and put enormous pressure on us to look slim and perfect.

Later at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1971, I had a nervous breakdown at the end of my sophomore year and sought psychiatric care. The psychiatrist told me "the problem is that you are still a virgin." Until then, I had resisted the sexual revolution because of my morals and belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Suddenly I rationalized that since I was suicidal for so long, I was obligated to try anything to try to save my life.


Three months later I had slept with 4 different guys. I was headed to a life of promiscuity. I convinced a guy from my old high school that we should live together and then that we should sleep together. In 1973, this man became my husband, two months before our first son was born, and fathered 5 children with me. We divorced after 29 years.

He was unfaithful most of the marriage, perhaps because I had been promiscuous before marriage. I was faithful to him though. I was too busy and too blind to see. I still blame myself for seducing him in the first place.

I came to see that I had been wrong, because I was using men to lift me out of a suicidal depression. Sure sex can distract you from the pain, but not cure the underlying dysfunction. It has taken me 45 years of growing self awareness to appreciate that I survived and have been active in the prolife group ever since Roe vs. Wade, January 22, 1973.

In 1973, before my ex and I got married, I went for a pregnancy test at the Blue Bus free health clinic in Madison, WI. They gave me the positive results with a list of 5 doctors that would do my abortion. They knew I was single and poor. I quickly ran out of the bus and hid from the pro abortion atmosphere in Madison my entire 9 months. I felt like a spy for the prolife movement.

Every year though, I was able to become more vocal and active until I stopped hiding. I have been to two March for Life events both in D.C. with 3 kids and in Chicago with a grandchild. Now I am happy and God has just blessed me with Grandchildren #12 and 13. My family is prolife and good Catholics. My 3 sons have wonderful Catholic wives and are leaders in their churches. I am grateful that I didn't abort. I am grateful that I forgave myself and my ex and can love my whole family now.

Submitted by J. B.

 


Playboy sold me airbrushed lies

When I think of Robin, my heart is broken, both for her and the wrong I did to her.

I met Robin at a party when I was eighteen. When she walked in the door, I was immediately taken by her. She was one of the prettiest girls I had ever seen. I made a comment about the dress she was wearing and she sat down next to me and began talking with me. By the end of the night we were deeply attracted to each other and began spending time together.

Before I go on, I think it would be helpful to give some back story regarding myself. In my very early years, I became sexualized. Having read publications on this matter, I think I was molested. From the age of eight, I experimented with my body and with the bodies of other children who were willing to let me undress them and play around with them. When the so-called “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960's hit in full force, I found many outlets for what had now become a raging sexuality demanding daily gratification of some sort.


Yet despite having the availability of pornography, the “free-love” of the Hippie Movement, and my own self-gratification, I was deeply lonely inside. I think that sexual gratification gave me that false sense of worth and fleeting happiness which books on addiction speak about, for I was truly addicted. Sexuality made me feel good, and the society which developed in the 1960's told me that it was okay to be this way. It took 40 years to realize that God knows much better than we what is good for us.

It was this sad and searching man who met Robin at the party. We spent a summer in love and only expressing that love by kissing. For the first time, I had someone in my life who made a fuss over me, who couldn’t wait to be with me, and who easily talked with me. I’m sure I ruined all that the day I had sex with her. Not long after, another man decided he wanted Robin and told her that I was sleeping with her best friend. From that point on, the relationship went downhill. I guess it was easy for Robin to believe that if I would have sex with her instead of waiting for marriage, I would be open to any woman who came by.

Somehow Robin and I got back together again later. She looked awful. There was no longer any joy in her face and she had lost weight, a mere shadow of herself. I am ashamed to say that she let me have sex with her that day. I asked her to marry me, but she said no. I look back on that day and see a young man so selfish that he didn’t even ask her in concern what had happened and why she looked so bad. Did she get pregnant and have an abortion? Did this other guy use her for sex and leave her feeling used and disrespected?

Dear Robin, wherever you are, please forgive me. This is what the Sexual Revolution did to me, but the story does not end there.

A while later I got another woman pregnant. I told her to have an abortion, but she refused. I would see the baby and long to be part of his life, but somehow I couldn’t actually propose to this woman. Playboy magazine had sold me a pack of airbrushed lies. The idea that Playboy promoted was that there is somewhere this perfect woman with a perfect body with whom you want to spend your days. Somehow, having a perfect body in bed with me would be what I needed and wanted to have ultimate happiness. I bought the lie, as did so many millions of men. Our search was for that perfect sexual experience because we were sure this was what would fulfill our lives. How many divorces have there been because men like me were expecting sex to deliver much more than it was ever intended to deliver?

Karen was not that perfect body. She went back home with her son and I kept looking for the next woman who might be that Promised One who would complete my life. But something I wasn’t expecting happened. I wound up at a Bible study. I honestly believe that I had a demon expelled from me that night, for after that night and my fervent prayer for God’s mercy, everything slowly started to change for me. I wish I could say I went from being a sex-crazed deviant to being the loving person God intended me to be, but that is not how life is.

The powerful issues that had driven me for much of my life continued to plague me, even though I was now, with the preaching of the Bible study leader to encourage me, abstaining from sex outside marriage. A year after I started attending those Bible studies regularly, I called Karen and asked her to see me. I felt a need to be a father to the son to whom she and I had given life. She accepted my proposal and we were married. We spent the next 34 years together until she passed away. I wish I could say that they were wonderful years, but they were tough. The same lack of intimacy which caused me to seek out solace in pornography continued to dog me. Neither Karen nor I knew how to be really intimate with each other. To this day I realize that I could have done so much more in little ways to express love to her.

In 2001 I converted to the Catholic faith and a few years later I discovered Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. This was the teaching that the world needed in the 1960's. We needed to hear that true love is an act not of taking for one’s self, as in sexual conquest, but of sacrificial giving. How I wish I had known that when I met Robin. How I wish I had heard that in time to live it out with Karen. The ramifications of my sexually-fueled selfishness are still with me. There are people I have hurt, relationships I have either lost or not been able to fully enjoy, such as with my children, because I have trouble with intimacy.

Promiscuity increases the problem of selfishness, loneliness, and inability to connect on a deeper level with people. Promiscuity and pornography turn a person in on themselves. True love turns a person outward to serve others first. If I love others, I use my body not to gratify the demands of my passions, but to do good in loving service to others. This is the message we need to share. I have since found in the Church many opportunities to serve others, but I’ll die in regret of the numerous times I hurt people when I didn’t know what true love is.

Submitted by E. H.

 


Poster Child of God's Mercy

The expression, "I've been to hell and back," is a perfect description of my life, and the hell was mostly self-inflicted through my abuse of alcohol.

Even though I came from a loving, supportive, Christian family, I always felt like an outsider and “less than.” That all changed when I discovered alcohol. As a well-known A.A. Speaker once said, “I was a duck until I took a drink and then turned into an eagle.”

Alcohol took away my moral compass, and everything I learned growing up disappeared into the deep recesses of my mind. It also gave me a sense of indestructibility, which turned into carelessness and made me extremely vulnerable. I ended up being gang raped after one night of partying. (Feeling I deserved it, I didn't call the police).


My promiscuity resulted in three pregnancies. One pregnancy ended in miscarriage but the two others I terminated by abortion. After the rape and abortions, my drinking and promiscuity escalated. I acquired a nickname, “Pass Around Patti." I tried settling down thinking that would help but ended up with two failed marriages. It was at the end of my second marriage that I hit bottom. At around six o'clock in the morning, I called in sick to work because there was still beer in the fridge. After downing a few, I was hit with an indescribable feeling of self-loathing and despair. I went to the bathroom and got a bottle of prescription medication, grabbed another beer and sat at the dining room table. I had pills in one hand and a beer to wash them down in the other when “something” compelled me to call for help. As I was being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, the psychiatrist asked me why I wanted to die. I told him I was already dead inside and just wanted to finish the job.

After I was determined no longer a danger to myself, I was transferred to alcohol rehab. It was through A.A. meetings at rehab that I was reintroduced to God. It took some time but I eventually realized He did the intervention at the kitchen table. He wanted me to heal and to clean up the mess I had made of my life. It wasn't easy. In fact, coming to terms and making amends for the damage I had caused myself, family and friends was excruciating. My family and some of my friends forgave me but it took time to rebuild the trust. Forgiving myself was another story.

Although I had reestablished a relationship with God, it wasn't that strong, and I still carried feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing. A few years ago, He once again intervened and guided me to a healing retreat for post-abortive women. He knew I had finally reached the point of emotional and spiritual readiness to face my past and fully accept not only His love, mercy and forgiveness, but my own as well. I also learned that even though I turned away from Him, He never turned away from me. He was there all along, but I was too blinded by self-will to see.

Some have said, “It's a shame you wasted so much of your life,” and before that retreat I would have agreed, but now I consider those dark days a blessing. If it weren't for the darkness, I would have never seen the light of His love and mercy. If it weren't for the darkness, I would not be able to share the light of hope with others.

 

Submitted by P.S.