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This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.
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.