A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


My Journey to Recovery

The language we use to communicate with one another is like a knife. In the hands of a careful and skilled surgeon, a knife can work to do great good. But in the hands of a careless or ignorant person, a knife can cause great harm.

Exactly as it is with our words. 

Source Unknown

We'd been married for 15 years when it happened.  It's something I never talk about, but I feel safe here.  I also feel that maybe by telling my story I can stop someone else before it is too late.  As I sit here now, 27 years later, I shudder when I think of what might have been had my friend not found me.  I might not be sitting here writing this.  I recall the feelings of hopelessness that drove me to such a desperate act to escape.

I met him shortly after moving to the city.  He was a part time actor/part time bouncer.  I tended bar.  We married about six months later.  The sick part of it is I KNEW beforehand that this man was violent, yet I was so desperate for love that I headed off to city hall with him despite the fact that he had broken my jaw only a month before.   I was a fool, I know that now, but at that time, I had already been beaten down by a verbally abusive mom, a father who made incestuous overtures towards me, an alcoholic husband, and a sex addict husband who slept around with any woman willing to spread their legs...and some of them were pretty filthy.  So you might as well say I was ripe for the picking.

Marriage to this man was hell.  The physical abuse ended when I struck him in the head with the phone when he tried to stop me from calling the police.  He was worried that I might ruin his face for his little acting career so he stopped being physical, but the verbal continued on and on and on, until I was nothing but a shell of a woman.  For 15 years I took it. 

Then one day I went to a psychic with a friend.  He was very accurate and told me things I didn't want to hear.  The entire session was taped, but the one part I still can't get out of my head:  "You have to accept the fact that there is no way out".  I walked out of there devastated.  He had taken my hope away, but I had wanted an honest reading and that I got.  He was right.  There WAS NO WAY OUT.  I couldn't afford to live on my own with my children, and besides, his uncle was mob connected, and my ex threatened to have me killed if I left him with the children.  

So one day when the kids were in school and my ex was out, I climbed up on the stool, got the bottle of rum down from atop the cupboards, and as I sat there sipping my drink, the tears began to flow.  Then, I put the cassette of the psychic on and kept playing that one part over and over again.  I was a mess when I went to the medicine cabinet and got my muscle relaxers out, brought them to the kitchen table and sat sipping my rum as I took one pill after another....all the while hearing the psychics voice.     

I remember going into the bathroom because I was feeling sick and falling into the tub.  I remember falling back down every time I tried to get up....and laughing hysterical about it.  I remember being on a stretcher and carried to the ambulance and the shocked faces of all my neighbors. I remember the doctor on the psyche ward.  "Call downstairs and see if they have room.  She needs a detox, not psyche."  And I remember being escorted downstairs. 

The seven days I spent in the detox were the first days of my new life.  I learned that I had been using alcohol to numb the pain, but to heal and become whole, I had to face the pain...and I learned that that would take time.  I was referred to a 6 month rehab program, but there were no beds available so I was sent home to wait until there was room for me.  Eventually the call came, and my ex tried begging and then ordering me not to go.  But I suddenly had found the strength in myself and knew if I was to survive and be any kind of mom to my children I had to go.  Then he came home with a quart of rum and tried to get me to drink it.  He knew they wouldn't take me if I wasn't 'clean'. 

He didn't win that night.  He wouldn't even take me to the hospital.  His uncle did and do you know what?  This uncle that I had been threatened with told me that I shouldn't go back to him, that he crazy, that it was time for me to start a new life.  And that's exactly what I did.  I moved on.  For awhile, I was always looking over my shoulder, fearful that he had found me, but as time went on I was doing that less and less.  And then in 1996 he passed away from cancer.  I wanted to feel sympathy, but instead what I felt was 'free'. 

Am I cured?  I don't think so, but I do know I am much stronger now.  I've gone through years of therapy and groups, and my self-esteem is high, but I remain overly sensitive and easily hurt. Oh, and before I forget, they psychic did tell me something else that stuck with me.  He told me he didn't know who, when, or how, but a Leo was going to come into my life and be a source of strength for me.  My current hubby is a Leo and from day one he has been supportive and loving. He changed my life.  

Was I trying to commit suicide that day?  I don't remember.  All I know is that I was blessed and saved for a reason...and that reason was to help others.  That's why I went on to become a substance abuse counselor, victim's advocate, and Interfaith minister....and that's why I am here now.  If any of the information I share on this blog helps even one person, it is well worth it.  Remember:  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THE ABUSE.  NO ONE DESERVES TO BE HIT OR VERBALLY PUT DOWN.  THERE ARE OPTIONS.  BE STRONG. 

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