When incarcerated, isolation is often used as one of the worst possible forms of punishment a criminal can receive. Torture techniques include placing people in holes of darkness completely alone, depleted of any interaction with another person for extended periods of time to break the spirit of humanity.
Being alone can be more dreadful more than death.
When I became a full-time author two years ago I was on the precipice my greatest dream coming true. When I was six years old I began writing anything and everything coming to my heart a rapid pace I would grab my pencil to put into expression my conflicted painstaking experiences. Through the darkness of my tormented and lonely childhood, God gave me a precious gift, and a means to navigate unthinkable situations.
Needless to say having the ability to publish two books in fourteen months is something that I am very proud of. My memoir ‘The Return to Happiness’ hit bestseller lists on Amazon, ibooks and Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. MORE importantly miraculously, my words have helped thousands and thousands of women all over the world giving a voice to the devastating grief of pregnancy and infant loss. God once again used my torrent of torture to flow vastly into the form of words, yet this time healing others, not just myself. What a magnificent God we serve.
But it wasn’t all celebration cakes and congratulations on Facebook, I faced the darkest time in my adult life while birthing my dream.
The first six months of pursuing my most coveted aspiration came with a lofty price that has the ability to haunt me until I meet Jesus. I (unknowingly at the time) sentenced myself the most horrid punishment of maltreatment…isolation.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am the infante definition of an extrovert and a complete and total spaz. I thrive off of people, I love (most) everything about God’s people. The joy or sorrow in their eyes is my goal to discover the reason of either. Two is always greater than one in times of celebration or despair.
As you can see isolation isn’t beneficially for anyone, especially for a person like myself. Alone, sheltered, and wrapped up in my own fictional and nonfictional world I fell into the darkest depression and dependence on alcohol and prescription medication that I ever had faced. Anxiety and depression have always taunted me as I have dealt with abandonment, abuse of the worst kind, a son diagnosed with a chronic illness at four and two back to back second-trimester pregnancy losses. In prefacing that I have dealt with some mental health issues goes without strong merit.
I’ll never forget my first glass of wine. A magnificent feeling overtook my mind and body, but mostly the pivotal escape from inner darkness and the child that always felt left behind is what continued to call my name to the lies of the bottle. The girl who saw too much, the forsaken and tormented version of my inner child was sedated and finally left numbed. It was the most intensely wonderful thing that I had ever injected into my body. And I didn’t care if it was wrong. I simply loved that I could not feel.
Labels kill the over achiever as floods wipe out the innocent. I never wanted to admit my poison because I wanted so desperately to be loved.
I never became a raging alcoholic in those years of young adulthood. Thankfully I never received a DUI, or put my kids or myself in danger, or lost a job. People drink and it is widely acceptable even marketed as a way to overcome a really bad day. I was successful in many of my areas that in enabled me to somewhat cover up my guilt with my many outlandish accomplishments (yup I’m that selfish). A definite result of my distorted childhood was the need to please and to receive love, therefore, I was 110% or nothing. If I was triumphant than I was loveable.
In that, it is pertinent I add a few of the prodigious things I did in my life before I drop the biggest bombshell to you all that I’ve managed to keep hidden for two years:
- I wrote an award-winning poem at 16 and was published and hit New York Times Best Selling List in her collection of poetry, thus becoming a New York Time Bestselling author without even knowing it at fifteen.
- I am the National Prepared Public Speaking winner for the state of Nevada and competed at a national convention in St. Louis, MO. I can still recall the energy in my body as the electricity jolted me on the stage to shout to the world my words and voice.
- I was a gifted runner with Olympic potential until I had a career ending injury at 16.
- I was selected for a national band and played for 30,000 people including President George Bush
- I learned how to figure skate at the age of thirty advancing so quickly I skated in an ice show 9 months later being the first adult to land a jump higher than a waltz. Then I went on to perform in seven other ice shows in front of thousands of people.
- I am a bestselling author of a memoir that will eventually be in the United Hospital System going home with grieving mothers who suffers miscarriage or stillbirth.
- I am the proud mother of six babies. (Two in heaven) whose accomplishments mean more to me than an Olympic gold medal, and a husband who is my heart light.
- I have a divorce that is healthy. My ex-husband, his beautiful wife, her kids, and ours are blended. We have Christmas, birthdays, and Easter, together. We shield one another in the dark times and celebrate the joys in life. They are my husband and my two children together godparents. If anything happens to Alan and I, all my babies will be together in the best care I could ever imagine.
All of those things I didn’t accomplish on my own. I once had a deeply rooted relationship with Jesus and loved my Lord more than myself. When I left Him I still continued to soar, yet slowly crumbled deeper than the sky could lift me up.On the cliff of greatness in 2014 looking off into the sunset of finally becoming a published author I knew this would top anything else I had done in my life. Yet I was only touching the surface of my journey back to God, deeply I was falling vastly into depression and drinking. I was alone. Because I chose isolation. From church from God, from friends. I was too busy building my business, writing my books, and well for lack of better words trying to drown my sorrows.
I ended up drinking myself into a horrible mess, dipping deeper and darker into depression. I called a suicide help line one night. I felt so lost, my dad had left…again….my past was ruining me, haunting me, nightmares made my turmoil happen over and over every night so I’d stay up all night working and numbing myself into a place where my sleep wouldn’t hit the stage of dreams. The police came to my house at three am to make sure I wasn’t going to hurt myself, waking my husband up to attest to the fact that I wouldn’t kill myself was one of my darkest moments. The fear in his eyes was enough. Enough to find the inner will to fight the greatest storm of my life.
A week after I called the suicide hotline I hit it. The cement wall holding the ability to crack my skull open and leave misery-drenched in the form of red, fluid that holds the breath of death, with no hope of reconciliation.
I decided to quit drinking cold turkey soon after a dreaded night to my realization that I wouldn’t have reacted that way if I had been sober. I mean really, me in a screaming match? Nope, not reality, not truth, not the grace God has instilled in me.
The whole next day, horribly hung over, I laid in my bed alone, I covered the windows with the darkest of blankets and cried. I shook with withdrawal symptoms and when my older boys got home from school I instructed them to come up as I had to tell them something.
They entered my room sorrowful from the sheer greeting of a black room and a clearly sick mom. They had no idea my drinking had gotten out of control as I was the master of deception. Remember, if I fail I’m not loved. It’s what my parents taught me. What else would I know?
I told my boys that I had an altercation with our neighbors and some changes were on the horizon. My oldest son Caleb said, “Mom you need to get involved in church. You need community, I’m worried about you because I know you and this isn’t you.” Caleb looked around the dark sullen room and my listless body still in bed at 4 pm with compassion and concern.
My oldest son Caleb said, “Mom you need to get involved in church. You need community, I’m worried about you because I know you and this isn’t you.” He peered upon the dark sullen room and my listless body still in bed at 4 pm with compassion and concern.
Yet the only thing that was was in me was anger.
A God who only took from me, who wrecked me taking my two infant boys, Caleb’s health, my innocence, my father? The love I yearned for but never received from my mother. NO WAY would I ever serve Him again. I was so faithful in my youth and He still gave me nothing but adult years of suffering.
My children left heartbroken seeing their mother who was usually strong lying on a bed that had the stench of death. The woman who they watched make dreams turn into reality was truly giving up. I can’t even imagine the pain I placed on their young hearts.
Twenty-four hours after my last drink I went into delirium tremens (DT’s) which is a possible, fatal condition caused by severe alcohol withdrawal. I write in more detail in my upcoming book about how this felt, but I can paraphrase and say it was like a nightmarish light show that was evil instead of in celebration. Streamers fell from the sky in a brilliance of color, but it didn’t feel like the fourth of July it felt like the end of life. I reached up to grab what seemed real only to see it dissipate in the confines of my pale hands. Rock bottom never looked so colorful and felt so regretful.
The next morning being the hypochondriac I am, I googled ‘hallucinations after ceasing alcohol’. Of course, every site said get yourself to an emergency room because you could die
Deep inside me, I knew I didn’t actually want to go to be with the Jesus yet, so I had my husband Alan take me to the local ER. Staff became serious extremely fast as I was admitted, and I was placed on a “seizure” watch in fear that I could seize and die.
My initial fleeting moment of wanting to die weeks earlier could become a reality and in the grips of such deafening possibility of truth I held on like I had never fought in my life before.
I saw Alan.
Mostly I saw me.
My potential. What I meant to people.
My love, soul, gifts, and deep torment that can be used to gift those going through the same.
I fought so hard I felt like my hero Rocky Balboa after his fight with the Russian. Beaten, yet ultimately blanketed with a title belt around my waist.
The doctors at that point recommended rehab for dual diagnosis depression and alcoholism, with my pride fighting to hold me back…I went.
Being in a facility akin to the darkest of places a person can go was a creation within my being I wasn’t accustomed to. Giving in to failure, not clinging to my success. I heard stories much more tortuous than mine. I saw heroin addicts, suicide attempts, schizophrenics, deeply depressed people and severe eating disorders.
And in that my chains were broken, for we are all at the throne. We all struggle no matter our life path.
All of the unlovely sat at the table we ate our meals at and we loved one another, while Jesus sat at the head of the table I actually felt Him and knew through His stripes we were healed.
Eight painfully beneficial days later I left and something on the last day during one of our group meetings we were told that seventy percent of us will relapse. \
Seventy percent of you will fail.
In essence, that means thirty percent win this battle. And I’m really good at winning, my prideful self self-declared.
But instead of victory, this time,I became a statistic. One month later I was back.
I had become the seventy percent.
In the months that followed my second visit to Rogers Memorial Hospital, I rewrote both of my books that were crafted in a non-authentic clear-minded way. I completely stopped drinking and went on this amazing adventure that a year later brought me back to my best friend, Jesus.
My son was insightful in giving me powerful words from the throne of God that we thrive when we have people rallying around us not trying to cope on our own. Two are always better than one.
We need each other to thrive, grow prosper, and be kept accountable.
In this increasingly hard time in my life with my Caleb going to college and feeling like a quarter of my heart is in Minneapolis for the first time in a while I’ve been struggling.
God has called me to greatness, He has predestined me to write my story of addiction and childhood/adult abandonment and how I overcame impossible odds to find my destiny Yet, first I have to arrive.
Again I stand at the brinks of a multitude of choices to deal with transition and the pulling question of which direction will I take? Will I allow evil to spit the ugliness of sin on my face or will I shower myself with the grace of a Savior filed with ultimate possibility?
In my young life abandonment meant if I wasn’t the picture of perfection I wasn’t loved. In my mid-life my parents exude the same standard. For I’ve been shown that if I mess up, or am less than righteous, love simply leaves. It is gone, sometimes forever. That is why sharing this with you all is so hard for me. For I am flawed, and so blessed to have you all hugging me and praying for me in a church that is anointed and blessed, yet if you know my darkness will you still offer me light? This hasn’t been my history so it is hard to grasp that it could be my future.
And I do know that my bullet point of my greatest accomplishments mean nothing, yet I needed to state them for fear of loss. Of love, fellowship, and YOU. Each and everyone of you who meet my eyes on a weekly basis and pray with me when I leave the service to grab a tissue because I miss my oldest boy. I love each and everyone of you. And I pray you still love me, even though I’m flawed, gravitated toward forgetting, and a broken child of God.
My shame in the perils of escape through drugs and alcohol have defined me for many years. Success that many will never see has also defined me for many years. And the God in my soul says NO! None of it matters, success or failure He accepts me and hugs me like the father I long for.
Jesus is the King and through it is well. Simply put… it is well with my soul.
Friends, I will NEVER be perfect, but I will forever need love. In my life my idea of my perfections have been rewarded with love, and mistakes that are punished with the very worst form of torture; isolation. And sadly, as this was done to me by my parents as a child and still as an adult, it was what I gave myself in 2014.
If I’m writing books or in rehab, I’m flawed, ugly with shame and still have the ability to fall. So many thanks to you to my new family at Journey Church. I even obtained the mentor I have been praying for through her testimony one Sunday at church, of her struggle of parental abandonment and addiction. Since then we meet regularly, she keeps me accountable and Alan and I are attending our first life group with her on Thursday…
That is community!! The essence of where two or more are gathered greatness is imminent. Isolation provokes death for your soul and body, yet communion invites prosperity and more joy than we can conjure up in our minds.
The chasm of greatness brings me to the soaring cliff of stamina where we all have the ability to jump to the other side of healing. That we are forever free, falling into the hands of grace and eternal forgiveness.