Watershed Lisa’s Story: Freedom To Live
Watershed Lisa’s Story: Freedom To Live
I grew up an Army brat in what seemed to be a normal family of 5, normal on the outside and very sick and dysfunctional on the inside. I am the oldest of 3 siblings in my family. Neither my mother nor my father used drugs and alcohol. Sometimes I wished that they had used drugs and alcohol - then it would have made sense why they were so sick.
My father physically, mentally and sexually abused us throughout our childhoods. My mother has an eating disorder and my father had sexually abused her, too. These are my earliest memories from age 2 on. As a result of the sexual abuse, I had never felt good enough, always less than others, and did not know how to love me.
Drugs & Alcohol Were My Life
I started smoking pot and drinking alcohol at the age of 13 with a close family member, right about the same time I had enough courage to reach out to stop the sick cycle of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I escaped to their house on a regular basis, I finally told the truth to about the abuse. They understood; they had been raped by my father as an adult during a drug and alcohol induced black out and never told anyone. By using, I could be another person and escape from the pain of life. I grew up in fear of my father, resulting in me fearing everyone I came in contact with. I always felt they knew my sick family secrets by looking at me.
I struggled with suicidal ideations and thoughts throughout my teenage years. Even though I finally had the courage to get help from others, I felt like I destroyed my family. My mother did not want to leave my father; she said through sickness and health she would stand beside him. My father went to jail and then was on probation and could not come within so many miles of his family. Soon after talking about what was happening in our family, my sister and I were removed from our home by children’s services. First, we were in shelters, then I became a ward of the state, and was soon in and out of foster homes until I turned 18. My Mother wanted to re-unite the family including my father. I rebelled against life.
I Tried To Escape
I ran away from home and foster homes numerous times. I attempted suicide 4 times as a teenager. I was forced to attend therapy with my father present. We were assigned by the Judge to a specialist that dealt with both the victims of physical, mental, and sexual abuse and the perpetrators causing the abuse in the family. This Psychologist, first moved my sister and I in with him and his girlfriend (who was a former patient), and then convinced my family to have me committed for suicide attempts and running away from home. As it turns out, this same Psychologist was molesting children in the victims group that my sister and I were attending. I had a Guardian Ad Litum that fought for our rights in court that helped to convince my mother how sick my Psych Dr. and my father really were. The Psych Dr. disappeared from the state and lost his license after a patient confessed to what he was doing.
At the age of 17, I met my husband; a recovering addict and alcoholic in the program since the age of 15. At the age of 21, I completely sobered up out of respect for him and without the help of any 12-Step program. Complete denial of any alcohol and drug problems on my part. KEY point, I sobered up for him. I struggled with severe depression throughout our marriage from not dealing with my childhood abuse properly. I lived my life as a victim.
About 10 years into our marriage my husband decided he was no longer an alcoholic and an addict and gave up his recovery. I willingly gave up my sobriety with him. I struggled with self-esteem and confidence issues. The depression I fought my entire life was amplified when I was drunk and high.
My Marriage Began To Fall Apart
I gained a lot of weight after having children. In 2004, at my peak of my weight and while pregnant with my second child, I weighed 189 lbs. By 2007, and weighing approximately 165 lbs, I discovered my husband of 15 years was having an affair - I dropped to 105 lbs in less than a year. The heartbreak diet…. I could not eat. I could not bear to look at myself in the mirror. I was a train wreck. The sexual and physical abuse from my childhood was creeping into my thoughts on a regular basis. I did not feel good enough, worthy of living
I attempted to put my marriage back together with a combination of marriage counseling, individual counseling, anti-depressants, Xanax and Klonopin for the anxiety attacks - and of course lots and lots of alcohol. My husband was the person I was going to be with forever, my true love. How could he not be in love with me? How could he choose someone else over me? My life became so unmanageable I was on the brink of insanity.
I Wanted To Die
When I finally had enough pain, suffering and consequences, I gave up the fight with my dis-ease and my life... I attempted to end my life again and was forced into recovery.
On 3-25-08, I was really drunk and had taken all of my prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs at once. There was no plan; I just did it to end my miserable life. I remember looking up after swallowing all the pills and seeing a picture of my two small children on my refrigerator. I could not leave them, abandon them, do this to them - I ran outside to expel the pills. It was too late; my husband called the police and I was baker acted on the spot. Thank God! I chose recovery from alcohol and drugs; I chose life. My husband filed for divorce while I was in treatment. He was completely immersed in the affair and his own addictions. The treatment center I went to saved my life! It was a dual-diagnosis center for women, specializing in P.T.S.D., Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
First Sign Of Hope
While in recovery, I focused on not using drugs and alcohol, and dealing with post traumatic stress syndrome from the years of abuse from my childhood. Today, I am very aware of where the pain comes from - inside my head, my distorted thoughts of self and my self worth. I did not know how to love me or care for me. My focus was my husband and my children and my job of 22 years. Today I am no longer a victim of my dis-ease nor a victim of my past. It’s not happening anymore. I know today, I do not ever have to be that train wreck of a woman I used to be. Yes, I am an alcoholic/addict; my disease took me to a point of giving up my life. My past does not define me. Because of this program, because of divine intervention from God, I am alive today and I have a purpose; a purpose to not waste away in addiction, but to give back and help others - to take care of me and my kids. To live life to its fullest, to not give up no matter what. To choose well and I will live well. I have been given a chance to start over by God and live by the principles of our program, and I believe in the promises.
"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing" -Teddy Roosevelt
The work is me: I AM WORTH IT! And so are you. You deserve a good life!