I will begin with the “but”. The best part of being a champion of my own story is that it has made me a better me: a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, and advocate.
My abuse started before my memory. It was always part of my childhood. My abuser was my brother and those he gave me to. I escaped into drugs and alcohol as early as 9 years old. My life spiraled out of control, and wanting life to end became a daily thought. Just wanting the pain of being in this body that didn’t feel like mine to stop. It was taken from me and then I gave it freely seeking control, but I was really continuing the abuse.
I made a decision at 14 to enter a recovery program to find a different way to live. I continued to abuse myself and others even sober. Five years into recovery, my inability to change old behaviors became unbearable and suicide became an option again. I was devastated and realized I had to leave all of that behind or I was going to die at my own hand.
My turning point began, and with that I entered a relationship with my now forever true love of 26 years. We have two children, 23 and 14, a grandson, and a truly blessed life that we both work very hard for and continue to nurture despite lots of ups and downs.
I see myself as strong and resilient, and I believe I have healed. I am whole, and now get to shine my light on others’ darkness by being an advocate for victims of sexual assault. I have come full circle. Life is a dream and I am better for every bit of life I have and will experience. My motto is “we all deserve a flashlight in our dark times,” and I am happy to be a flashlight. Blessings!