"Coming Out," And Coming To With Purpose
I grew up in a home where my parents married and divorced when I was in elementary school. Then they re-married (each other) when I was in 4th/5th grade and then divorced AGAIN my Jr year of high school.
I grew up in a very small town, New Braunfels, TX... and my dad was one if not the only African American in town. He traveled a lot for work, but we were very financially comfortable. Nobody suspected we lived in a home with an alcoholic...but we did. Growing up in that environment I swore I would never have children or drink.
I did however use Marijuana, from a very early age, about 6th grade and going forward. During my parents second divorce, I felt it was my duty to help in the house so my recreational Marijuana use became selling... and selling larger and larger amounts, which eventually led to selling cocaine.
During high school and growing up I was the straight A student, top female athlete who played every sport except football, National Honor Society, Marine JROTC, FFA participant, etc. You name it and I was involved in it. Upon graduation from high school I went on to attend Baylor University... nobody batted an eye at our home life... it was kept so private and from the outside looking in we looked like the “perfect home”.
It wasn't until I gave birth to my first child during my sophomore/junior year at Baylor that I had my first real drink. I didn't care for it... and honestly just went out socially every once in a while when my mom would come babysit so that I could "take a break" from working, supporting myself, my child, her father and going to school full-time.
Fast forward to when my daughter was 1... Turning 2 shortly... a nasty custody battle and divorce began between my daughter's father, his family and myself. The divorce and custody battle went on for 3 years.
In those three years, there were CPS cases, police, private investigators, yelling, shaming, and just down right ugliness exposed by ALL parties involved.
That was the turning point for me... I began to drink during the times my daughter was visiting her father. I was afraid to be alone in our home... left with my thoughts that just got darker and darker the more I drank. But for some reason I couldn't stop... I enjoyed going to the bars, and socializing and pretending to be happy when ultimately I would go home and cry... and pass out eventually.
Eventually, drinking wasn't enough... I tried my first bump of cocaine... I felt alive. I was able to talk to a friend who was doing cocaine with me. We stayed up for hours the first time and I remember thinking - "This is safer than alcohol, and I get to talk and vent and cry to someone who understands"
I was very wrong... the cocaine turned from 1-2 lines a night... to an entire 8-ball being consumed by myself... 1-2 times a day... then I was introduced to Meth... which eventually led to me snorting it (CRYSTAL METH) when I couldn't find a pipe, anything I could do to get that high. More times than not I would never pay for the drugs and It didn't matter what I had to do or who I had to pretend to be friends with.
It was during this heavy use of drugs and alcohol when I found myself being arrested in Hillsboro, TX for my first DWI. I was eventually convicted and thus started my downhill spiral with legal issues.
Fast forward past my college graduation from Baylor and I'm still in the custody battle but have now "Come Out" and was in a serious and TOXIC relationship with my now ex-fiancé. Who had broken my nose, cracked my teeth and more from the multiple fights and her swinging at me. She ended up leaving and stealing money from me, losing my storage unit that had EVERYTHING valuable or meaningful to me. I was quickly evicted and homeless, but I had a job. it wasn't too much longer that I lost that job after being told I constantly smelt like alcohol.
Right around this time I also had my final hearing to complete my divorce/custody battle. It was also a huge turning point in my life. I showed up to court and found out my attorney was not going to be showing up. In fact, she had faxed a letter to the court requesting to withdraw from my case. As it turns out she found out I was engaged to a woman, and because of this she decided she would no longer represent me.
That was the day I lost my daughter… I was told we either move forward with the hearing or I agree to paying child support and supervised visitation. I had no idea what to do as I was in court by myself. I wasn’t an attorney nor did I have any type of legal experience. I felt trapped in, backed into a corner by a bunch of wealthy, privileged bullies.
A year or so later I found myself moving to the DFW metroplex for a chance to "start over". A new job, a new home and far away from everything that was messing up my life. Or so I thought....
I quickly became a social butterfly in the metroplex... meeting women, sleeping with women, manipulating women, becoming a regular at On the Border happy hour and a few other "stomping grounds" of mine in the fort worth area....
It wasn't long before my addictions picked up again and I found myself getting not ONE but TWO DWI arrests in less than a month. With the second arrest I crashed a friend's car into the back of a broken down police car. This would now effectively be my 4th DWI arrest as I already had one DWI on my record. This was not going to be good and I feared Prison was the next step as 3rd conviction is usually a felony and prison time guaranteed.
At this point I was kicked out of the home I was living in, and ended up with no car, no home, and also less items than I had before. I was fortunate to not be on the streets, but was living on my coworker's couch, with literally 2-3 boxes of clothes, shoes, and anything else I owned or valued in my life. The boxes eventually became soaked in dog urine and everything inside of the boxes began to smell just like the boxes.
I was put on bond and was issued a handheld blowing device. I had convinced myself this was my rock bottom. I was going to clean up my act, get an attorney and start my life over.
I was so wrong... I eventually learned how to time my drinks and when I would blow so that I could pass the tests and still drink. Then when I could no longer pass the handheld test because of excessive drinking I found my old friend Cocaine again. I was now drinking and using cocaine HEAVILY DAILY. I had to drink as soon as I woke up or else I was miserable. If I didn't have alcohol I would pray to have cocaine left over, or I would lick the lid of the toilet seat I had used to snort off of in hopes of getting some residue.
During this time, I decided to download a popular dating app "TINDER". During which I met the woman that would forever change my life. In hopes of trying to impress her, I became vulnerable and somewhat honest about my hopes, dreams, aspirations and my time at Baylor University. After our first in person date she asked me to go to church with her. I don't know how or why, but I said yes.
That was the decision that would change the course of events for the rest of my life. The Sunday after Valentine's day in 2018 I walked into "Cathedral of Hope" with my Mohawk, and attitude fully dressed, nervous and scared of church. Not just because of mistakes I've made but because any other church wanted to pray the gay away or told me I was going to hell.
These words I will never forget said by the pastor when I walked in..."I LOVE YOUR FREAKING HAIR!"
Sounds dumb and not meaningful, but those words got my attention. For the first time, I felt safe inside a church being my authentic self. I thought they were crazy to let me in and sure if they knew about my past they would tell me to leave. I began to attend service every Wednesday and Sunday and heard a message of a God that loved me NO MATTER WHAT! A God that created me for a special purpose and that no matter who I love or what I’ve done. I’m still beautiful and loved in HIS eyes.
I met my Terrie in mid-February and I knew she was the one within a couple months (April 20th, 2018) we were married. The Monday after we got married I was fired from my job and the day after being fired I was thrown BACK in jail for my multiple DWI’s and violations on my in-home monitor. It was now that all my secrets FINALLY came out to my wife and I was afraid I’d lost her and that this was my TRUE rock bottom.
Rather than turn her back on me she stuck with me and worked with my attorney, who was convinced I was nothing more than an addict/alcoholic. I eventually was released with pretty strict conditions and an ankle monitor but with good behavior after 90 days the ankle monitor was removed and an interlock was installed on our shared vehicle and I was granted an occupational license. I was still awaiting my sentence at this time.
By November of 2018 I had a career using my degree with full benefits and a salary. I was eventually convicted, but the judge gave me a second chance. Rather than charging me with a felony and locking me away I was put on a very long and strict probation. I knew this was my chance to get my life back and I just had to quit drinking and using drugs. Sounds easy enough right? WRONG. For an addict/alcoholic… it was the hardest thing to do.
I went from being an alcoholic and an addict with multiple DWI's facing Prison time to snorting Meth and doing ANYTHING to get cocaine. Drowning in suicidal thoughts, depression, anger and resentment to losing custody of my 9 yr. old daughter, who will be 10 in just 8 days. I was homeless, living on a friend's couch with no car and with about 2-3 boxes of items to my name that were being peed on by the dog in the house to where I'm at today....
I was fortunate enough to see NO PRISON TIME. I just completed my VERY long probation In July 2020, I just had my interlock removed after having to wear an ankle monitor before that. I'm happily married to the most amazing woman/partner I could ever have. I see my older daughter a little more now. I have a 19 month old daughter who lives in our home. I now have a career in Marketing/Communications (using my degree from Baylor) doing web design, SEO, SEM, some graphic design, campaign management, etc. in Coppell, TX in a beautiful home. I have a church home (Cathedral of Hope). I am learning how to repair relationships and also develop and maintain healthy relationships/friendships. I share my story as often as possible to anyone. I feel like a living miracle with this second chance.
My recovery took a complete turn after 2 years of no alcohol and no substances and no meetings... I knew I was still missing something. Again, by the grace of God someone reached out to me and I found myself in an "open recovery meeting" and I knew right then and there meetings of any kind, the network, the support, the hard discussions were exactly what I needed.
I knew then that I was not the only one with the same addictions, same problems, but I was also in a room full of people who had OVERCOME!
To maintain my sobriety, I share my story so that I can hopefully connect with someone else and help them along the way. I stay connected to recovery meetings and groups and 12 step programs. I wake up every single day with the step 3 prayer. I make a daily conscious effort to turn my life over to the will of my Higher Power (GOD). I am HONEST.
I see a counselor and talk about any and all mental health issues that played into my addictions. I make sure to remind myself that it's ok to not be ok. I just have to be mindful of the not so good days, and remember how far I've come by the grace of God. I also workout and try to meditate while I'm working out. Most importantly, I try to be of service in the recovery community or mental health world to break stigmas.
Addictions of any kind can and will come for anyone. I came from a fairly normal home, had a college degree, was a college athlete, and I still succumbed to the disease just like anyone else. But, just like anyone else can fall into addiction and alcoholism, ANYONE CAN RECOVER FROM IT TOO !!