So now, I’m out on the loose. I’m living with a friend. All I want to do is party and I want everyone else to do it with me. I break the rules in their home and am asked to leave. I was caught having relations with someone in their house. While I was staying there, I was trying to attend college and work my little job at the same time. I had a drama scholarship to the community college…big time, I know! I was excited. But I couldn’t get past my desperate need for affection and acceptance and attention. I was promiscuous and rebellious. I was completely selfish and ungrateful. I was 18. I was in the beginnings of alcoholism and dabbling in drugs.

My first suicide attempt came in January of 1992, I think. I was staying with another friend and I can’t even remember exactly what happened, but I downed her little bag of something which sent me to the ER getting a charcoal cocktail. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted it all to go away. I just really wanted to be like the other girls with moms and dads and normal problems. I don’ even know if I ever told that friend and her parents “thank you”…I have so many amends to make.

Over the next few months I became more and more unchaste. I was out of control. I’m surprised that I didn’t end up diseased or pregnant (Thank you God). The worst of it was I would go out alone or stay out after everyone else was ready to go…I was never ready to go. I was always chasing that feeling …the feeling I got when I took that first drink of bourbon when I was 11 years old. Sometimes I got that feeling from sex. Sometimes from drugs. Sometimes from alcohol. I put myself in such grave danger. I’ve been raped numerous times, gang raped once or twice. You have to understand, as I’m sure my fellow alcoholics and addicts do, it’s a hazard of the disease for us women and some men also. I should not be alive today. I know without a doubt that God has been with me always. It’s evident in every breath I take today.

I almost succeeded in this suicide deal. I was staying at my maternal grandfather’s house this time. I had managed to get in touch with him and he was a changed man. He had been saved and was so gentle. He always knew the right thing to say. I love my PaPa and I am sorry for what I put him through. He didn’t deserve it. I had been institutionalized at some point for attempting suicide for the third time in one year and they had prescribed medication for me. This particular night I was having flashbacks and I couldn’t stand it. My PaPa’s wife was in her bedroom, my PaPa was at work. I took that bottle of 75 mg Elavil and I popped each one in my mouth, one at a time, and backed it with Coca-Cola. I counted 17 and started to loose myself in space. I got scared, because I didn’t really want to die. I stumbled to her bedroom and slurred something. She called the ambulance. I don’t remember what happened after that. I was in a coma for 3 days. I was 18 years old and throwing my life away. I had nothing to hold on to…no foundation. I didn’t know what to do and this was my cry for help. Everyone kept telling me I was strong and look how strong she is and she is such a rock and she’s gonna be somebody…all I wanted was someone to acknowledge that this DID happen and it was TRAUMATIC and it was DEVASTATING…so I had to show them. I ended up in another psychiatric facility, Northridge Hospital. They really tried, but I manipulated and just wasn’t interested. One thing they recognized was my alcoholism. I refused to admit that. My picture of an alcoholic was painted a long time ago and I look nothing like that picture. First of all, I am a woman. My picture was a man who beat his wife, couldn’t keep a job, didn’t shower or shave, and peed in corners of the house thinking they were the toilet. NONE of that was me. So , no way, no how, not me. BUT, I agreed to attend one of their meetings at the Agape Center. Now, this was a sight. No women, proved my point! It didn’t matter…everything those old men were saying in there was relevant and I thought they knew me. They say it a lot in AA, you’ll always hear what you need to. I was hearing it before I even spoke the language. I still refused to believe that was me. I was only 18.

So the next year was unabated debauchery. I found my friend in alcohol. It was my social lubricant. I was the life of the party and people (men) seemed to like me. I met a man while I was on the Army post. We started going out and he took me home to meet his mom and dad in Detroit and Toronto. I was plastered the whole time. Poor guy, it was just a road trip for me and he was in love. I was oblivious. I was such a user and it continued in every relationship I had friends, family, lovers, and my new husband.

I got married February 12, 1993. He was in 3rd Ranger Battalion, a hot bed for fine young men (Hooah!). Soon after, like days, he left for Korea for training. I partied the whole time he was gone. I left for basic training in mid-March. Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri here I come! He came for my graduation, which was nice. I went to AIT (Army Individual Training) in San Antonio, Texas. I had to be there for 5 months. It was party central and I was right in the middle of it. I had no self control. I would do things when I was intoxicated and I didn’t care at the time, but the next day I wanted to kill myself. The other girls weren’t doing these things, like waking up in the men’s barracks with no clothes on, or waking up in the bathtub with vomit all over their hair and face, or peeing in their bed. What was wrong with me? Were they right…alcoholic? Really?

Toward the end of my training some friends and I went out to the enlisted club to have a good time. These were people that I trusted, they had never acted out toward me at all. There were 3 guys and 3 girls. Nobody was hooking up. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. We left the club and decided to go on the men’s floor and play cards. This is where that moment of clarity comes for those people who aren’t alcoholics and they say no. The other two girls left me in the room. I woke up the next morning being shoved into my room by 2 boys who were carrying me. I had faint remembrances of someone on top of me, but most of it is hazy. Turns out, 3 of them took advantage of me that night and much to their detriment they took polaroid pictures which were found in the ceiling tiles. They were all court martial. The lesson here is this: I put myself in a position for this to happen. It’s not my fault, but it could have been prevented. Easily prevented, if I had just stayed in my barracks and studied instead of needing to be an attention hog.

My husband didn’t believe this story, and I don’t blame him, but he knew what he married in to. To say our marriage never had a great start is an understatement. I don’t know if he loved me because at that time I wouldn’t have recognized true love if you slapped me in the face with it. I thought everyone wanted something from me and if I could, I would give it to you. I got pregnant in 1994. He was elated. I was afraid. The baby was born 9 weeks early. He weighed 4 lbs. 10 oz. He was in the NICU for 3 weeks. We went out the whole time he was in the hospital. I was breastfeeding and drinking alcohol. I would pump whatever was made after the night of drinking and throw it out, but as much as I drank, I didn’t need to be nursing. I was frustrated when he came home from the hospital. There were moments when I thought I was going to freak out. I would call him on the phone and tell him he had to come home right now! I couldn’t take it. I never bonded with him. Something was missing. I thought I could never be a good mom.

We couldn’t make it. We fought, I was unfaithful and he was unhappy. I was selfish and distant. We jumped into all this grown up stuff like we knew what we were doing and we had no idea…we bought a house, 2 cars, had a baby…all in the same year. He wanted a submissive wife and I was unwilling to be that. I was unwilling to be anything except drunk.

We divorced in May of 1996, officially. We separated before that. I gave up custody of my son to him. I knew that there was no way that I could take care of him, all I wanted to do was get drunk. He would be in my way and it just wasn’t fair. At the time, I made the decision selfishly. Later, I realized I had never made a better decision in my life. It may have saved his life.

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