This will be the last segment of The Ugliness of Who I Was… but the story is not over. There is a better story coming…I promise.
The Ugliness of Who I Was…(Part 4)
In late 1998, through a series of events, I began corresponding with a man in prison, Ricky. I had no intention of a relationship. I just figured I would be making someone’s day by writing once in awhile. It didn’t work out that way. I went to the prison to meet him and we were married within 6 months. He told me everything I wanted to hear; everything I thought I needed to hear. I was so broken and he preyed on that brokenness. I was so naive and refused to hear it when someone tried to point it out to me. I thought I was in love but learned some hard lessons in what trying to rescue and change someone will bring. I hid my marriage from pretty much everybody. I didn’t want to face the judgments and criticisms from others so I hid it. Looking back, I can see how truly sick that was.
We were married in the prison in March 1999, when he had only 16 months left to serve. I wrote every day and visited every weekend I could. I became so wrapped up in him and that I lost the last bit of myself. I eventually became what they call a “mule”, sneaking in drugs and sending money. I couldn’t say “NO” for fear of losing him. One day, I took the drugs in and when I left, they were waiting for me. The correctional officers took me into the back room and started interrogating me. I caved. I told him I would if I was ever caught and I did. They already knew it was going to happen and they had who they wanted. They told me they had Ricky and that I was not to come back.
I had never experienced so much fear in my life. I couldn’t believe what I had done for my pathetic idea of love. I was so ashamed and I hated myself. In the days to come, I was terrified. I didn’t know if they were going to file charges against me, if I was ever going to be able to see him again, or worse, if I was going to lose my children. I was so lost and in so much emotional pain. Again, I failed.
At this point, I fell one more step down the latter. One night I took the opportunity to go out and have a good time and I ended up cheating on my husband. These events were the beginning of the long downward journey to my bottom. My life was out of control. When I came home that night I fell on my bedroom floor and cried. I cried like I had never cried before. There was so much pain and fear in my heart; I didn’t know what else to do. I cried out to God and though I did not know him or anything about him, I begged Him to help me. At that moment, curled up and sobbing on my bedroom floor, I felt Him wrap His arms around me and hold me in a blanket of loving tenderness and peace. It is a moment I will never forget as long as I live.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
The next day I called a friend from work, who had been witnessing to me for years. I told her that my life was a mess and I needed to go to church and meet God. She invited me to attend her church the next weekend and I couldn’t wait. I went that Sunday and felt as if the message was given just for me. For weeks, I went to church and cried every Sunday. God was speaking to me, and one day a few weeks later, I responded to His call to let Him into my heart. I became more and more involved in the church and was baptized with my children in May of 2001.
Ricky received 4 more years and was paroled in February 2004, to LA. Dan decided to try and take my children from me and after several months and a heated court battle, I gave in. I also found out that Ricky was seeing his ex-girlfriend and talking about moving in with her, in LA. All the hopes & dreams I had were destroyed. All the promises he had made were broken. By the end of March, I was so disillusioned with life that I had an emotional breakdown. Driving back from LA, I could not stop crying. All I could think about was not wanting to do this anymore. I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore. I didn’t want to pretend I was happy anymore. I didn’t want to fake that I had it all together anymore. I was broken and dying inside. I had to pull off the highway at one point because I was sobbing so hard. As I pulled back on, I saw a truck coming in my side-view mirror and thought about letting it run me off the highway. I thought about crashing my car several times on that drive home. I drove straight to the Emergency Room, sobbing the entire way. Six hours of crying…I was desperately sick. The Dr. considered me, “suicidal, with a plan” and I ended up in a psychiatric facility for a week.
The small group I belonged to at church shut me out. Through all the years of waiting for Ricky to come home, they were so supportive and encouraging. The minute things went south, they shut me out. I was shunned so to say. They had become my family over the 4 years I was with them and now they were gone.
My husband transferred up to Sacramento in July 2004 and things went from bad to worse for us. With the mistrust we both created, life became absolutely insane. He was using drugs again and I didn’t know what to do. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. Eventually he became physically abusive. I had never experienced such abuse and in turn, I became verbally and physically abusive. I could not understand why or how he could be so cruel and I lashed back with a vengeance I did not know existed in me.
My codependency spiraled out of control. I lied to the police when he was loaded out of his mind and crashed his car into another and ran. I threw away his drugs when I found them. I tried to stop him from leaving when he was out of control, by grabbing onto the hood of the car and being flung into the middle of the road. I lied to his employer when he didn’t show up for work. I let the air out of the tires on his bike thinking, that would keep him home. I left the church I loved and gave up all my friends. I cried, I begged, I pleaded… I was out of control. Each time he left, my fear was that he would not come back and I would be left alone. I could not see that my fear of being alone and unloved had so much control over me.
In July 2005, I began researching recovery programs for my Ricky. I came across Celebrate Recovery and decided to go check it out myself. I did not know what codependency was, nor did I understand why I did the things I did. I did not understand that every decision I made in my entire life was based on my fears of what others would think of me and trying to please them. After a few weeks, I decided to get a sponsor and work the 12 steps. Thus began my journey in recovery and discovering The Beauty of Who I Am.