I learned a lot in that treatment center, but I hadn’t had enough. I began a relationship with a man that I met there. We were both stationed at Fort Benning (how ironic?) and both lonely. I suffered from terminal loneliness because I had a hole in my soul. I didn’t have anything that I could hold on to or turn to, so I thought. My new hostage and I took a long trip – 3 months across the country through Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and up to Vegas. I got pregnant on that trip and we turned back and gave in. He went to jail for some pending charges stemming from a crack binge of 12 days that included grand larceny. I was discharged and sent on my merry way – to where? I went to Montgomery, Alabama because I had an aunt there, my mother’s sister. She agreed to let me stay with her and I got a job right away. I managed to stay sober throughout the pregnancy, it was not even an issue. When this baby was born, something was different for me. This time around, I had all these feelings and instincts that came so naturally. I had a midwife and this child was born healthy, without medication, and peacefully. I was ready for this. I had prepared and educated myself as much as possible and I knew that I had to do this. There was no back up plan here. When Courtney was born I recognized what love felt like for the first time in my existence. I realized that my life had meant nothing before now. Nothing.
I moved out and got an apartment when she was 2 weeks old. We did fine. I was nursing and staying sober, going to work everyday, just being a responsible citizen. Her father came home when she was 10 months old and I immediately went back to drinking. The next few years were filled with the dysfunction that accompanies alcoholism and cocaine addiction. We were both out of control and I had started to use cocaine also. He wised up and left in 2000. I spun even more out of control. I reverted to the selfishness and indulgence that I had before, like a trigger had sprung and these defects just rose up again.
During the few years that we separated, I became pregnant by another man. I wasn’t ready for this at all. I struggled with trying to make a decision. I solicited the advice of some family members. Without considering that I was carrying a living being in my womb, the questions that came up were about my relationship and the fact that this man was black. Because I had no beliefs or foundation in faith, I was listening to the opinions and advice of other sinners. I had an abortion in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was only 2 weeks after my dad had gotten out of prison, and he went with me. It was awful and anyone that tells you it is not is a liar. It haunts me to this day. I remember the day that child was due, February 25, 2002. God forgive me.
I maneuvered in and out of relationships over the next few months. I stayed drunk and high. I had 3 procedures in the same year, knee surgery, a tonsillectomy, and this abortion which all required that I take pain medication post operative. I learned how to use that medication to make my other pains disappear as well, if I mixed my Budweiser with it, all of the misery seemed to drown.
I tried living with my dad after he was released. I thought it was the right thing to do and realized quickly it was not. We fought physically. I was a drunk and he was a drunk. There was too much resentment there and it was a powder keg waiting to be detonated. Thankfully we both got out of that one alive and chose to just depart from one another.
I had no stability at this point, nor had I for a while. I met a girl through a friend of my brother who offered me and Courtney a place to live, with her in a home that her mother owned. I was grateful because I hadn’t paid my rent in over a month and was going to be evicted. We moved in. We lived there for about 2 years and I was working as a contractor on the Air Force Base. Everyday when I got off work, I went directly to the store and got a 12 pack of beer. I had 2 down my throat before I got home and I only lived 4 miles away. I would go home and wait until the last possible minute to pick up my daughter from daycare. I was avoiding living life. I was shunning all of my responsibilities. I was a shell of a person. I drank myself into oblivion every night, so excited when the 18 pack was brought out because it meant I didn’t have to go back to the store that night, I would have all that I needed to get me through. It was awful and sick. I was beer bloated and disgusting, binging on cocaine and pills on the weekend. This particular weekend in April, I decided we needed to take a road trip. We left Courtney with my friend’s mom and 4 of us piled into my Mustang and headed to Orange Beach. We were staying in a “friend of a friend’s” condo. I couldn’t tell you all the drugs I did over the next 2 days, but my drug test did not lie. This weekend was going to be my last hurrah, and I didn’t even know it.
I reached a point that night that was a reaching through the flames moment. All of a sudden, the party was over for me. It was like the death of a life. I announced that I was leaving and if you were riding with me, let’s go. I drove 120 mph , high on crystal methamphetamine, all the way back to Montgomery. I got to my daughter and she looked at me like I was a monster. I broke down. I asked my friend to take me to my brother’s house and then to the hospital. I needed prayer and help. My brother prayed over me and came to the hospital with me. I was injected with Ativan and Haldol when I got there, so the next 2 days of detox are lost. My drug test was positive for Cocaine, Amphetamine, Benzodiazepine, Opiates, and Barbiturates. My blood alcohol level was .14 – and my last drink was at least 6 hours before that. This was April 25, 2004. My sobriety date is April 26, 2004. I am still sober today ONLY by the grace of God. Nothing I have done or will do can keep me sober, it is all because He has pardoned me.