Gentle Recovery

Hope and Inspiration for Overcoming the Damaging Effects of Child Abuse and Rape

Book Release Nov. 2009

Posted by A Write to my Voice on October 31, 2009

Like a Dream

I never told anyone. I kept it all inside. I started to wonder if it was some crazy  dream or if it even happened at all. I thought maybe I made it up? Other times I thought – it wasn’t that bad – it was no big deal. But last year people I hadn’t seen started surfacing – family, friends – people who knew….

You’re a miracle they said. How did you survive?

Survive? Miracle? What did they mean? They started to tell me stories of their memories of  how bad things were, how thin I had become, how out of control……My older sister who I hadn’t seen for a long time returned from living overseas. She needed to talk. She forced me to listen….forced me to remember.

The memories hit. They hit hard. I wrote to get the images out of my head.

I couldn’t eat or sleep. I wanted to get in my car, close my eyes and drive. It felt like it was happening all over again – the beatings, the confinement, the rape – throwing up day after day after day even if I had tasted even a small bite of something – shoving needles in my arm – three and four times a day – ripping my arms with jagged rocks to feel something because I felt nothing. I was numb inside.

Why now God? Why are you letting me go through this now?  I didn’t want to remember and yet in remembering it dawned on me – finally – just how far down God had reached to free me.

Everyday in the heat, rain and cold – I ran – alone in the woods – in the hills near our home. There I felt the gentle touch of God – And I heard His whisper – You’re stronger now. It’s time to tell the truth of what happened. Tell your story to give someone hope –

How could I have never told anyone what He did. Nothing worked. Nothing could break the chains that kept me in living on the edge. Nothing except the gentleness of His touch.

The power of His gentleness…….

This November, I will publish my story In the Eye of Deception.

For information on the book please email blueheron12345@yahoo.ca

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Posted by A Write to my Voice on September 20, 2009

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Braver than you Think

Posted by A Write to my Voice on July 6, 2009

Braver than you Think

“Promise me you’ll always remember; you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” A.A.Milne – Christopher Robin to Pooh

I remember being really stoned. My eyes had gone all weird and I couldn’t focus. I felt off balance, dizzy and separate from myself. Almost like I was on the outside looking in. I was having problems walking. I had no idea where I was, how I got there or how to get out and go home. I remember falling, crashing into a wall and hitting my head. Some old lady popped out and started screaming at me. I had no idea what she was saying. Then the sound of sirens and the ambulance……. Life was a constant crisis. Constant chaos.

I kept saying I wanted it all to stop. I wanted it to be normal. I didn’t want to do the drugs. At least that’s what I said and even as I said it, I was shooting up and ripping my arms open with razor blades and jagged rocks. Even as I said it, I threw up if I ate even a small bite of something. In my mind, I wasn’t allowed to be free. I wasn’t worthy. No amount of wanting or needing made a difference. No threats from any authority could bring about the freedom I said I wanted.

I needed to stay high. I needed to hurt myself. I needed to throw up. I needed to not feel or think. Especially to not think. The images of what happened tortured me. Anything to numb out from feeling the terror, the shame, the pain – I needed that more. And then God touched me. He broke through the torment in my head, in my soul – He took away the 14 year drug addiction. The memories though, the pain and shame and feelings of extreme worthlessness – they were still there. I continued to throw up and hurt myself. I still needed to numb out.

I felt guilty. I wondered if God would kill me because I was destroying myself. I screamed at Him to do it already. I dared Him to take my life, but He wouldn’t. Years went by. I lived two lives. I looked ok. People thought I was fun, happy, Christian. I wasn’t. When people said, God is in control, I knew my life was completely out of control.

I started writing. Then running. In the woods, alone – He whispered to me. ‘Face the pain. Don’t run from it.’ I never wanted to face it. I never wanted to admit it. I couldn’t. To admit it meant it happened. I didn’t want to believe it happened. But it did.

All I know – God is my strength – my anchor for freedom. The one thing in my life that gives me the courage to do what I otherwise can’t. He brought me to the point of being ready to confront what I never could. He allowed me to use the cutting, the throwing up, the hiding to stay alive. Cause that’s what it did. It kept me alive. It helped me survive until I was ready to face what happened.

All I know -is in His presence, I feel at peace. In the woods I feel His gentle touch and hear His whispers of comfort and there I gain the courage to come home and not use things that hurt me.

I want to make a difference. I want what I lived to help someone else find their freedom. Maybe that’s why God let me live.

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Willingness to Fly

Posted by A Write to my Voice on June 22, 2009

“How does one become a butterfly, she asked pensively.You must want to fly so much, you’re willing to give up being a caterpiller.” Trina Paulus (Hope for the Flowers)


I am grateful. Really grateful. As I write and remember, I am filled with gratitude. So often I have to shake myself and ask, ‘did it all really happen?’ The years of living on the street, shoving needles in my arm, not allowing myself to eat, throwing up if I did and cutting myself until I couldn’t stand the pain or until I bled.

Living with extreme shame, out of control rage and debilitating fear – and one day, just like that – God touched me and changed everything. He gave me purpose and hope. He helped me heal. He gave me freedom. Now I owe Him my life.

There is a story about ten lepers being healed. Only one came back to say thank-you. I don’t want to be like the nine who showed no gratitude. I need to tell what happened – what God did because had He not touched me in the ways He did……

How do I tell people what I lived? How do I say all those horrible things that happened? It’s easier to tell strangers but I struggle with telling people who are close to me – my friends and people at work – I don’t want them to think differently about me. I don’t want them to be disgusted.

It was bad. Really bad. How can I tell them? Sometimes I just want to blurt it out but I can’t. The words are stuck inside me. Many of my friends know I’m writing a book. They don’t know what I’m writing, but they know I’ m writing.

I get lost in writing. I think in some way it validates what happened really took place. And it’s a way for me to have my voice. I need to write. Writing has become like breathing for me. Seeing the words in print diminishes the shame and gives me strength.

My friend came for a hike in the woods with me the other day. As we walked the secluded trails, she asked if I ever get scared out there alone. I don’t. I feel safe in the woods. That’s where I hear God speak to me. That’s where my heart gains courage. In the woods, in the beauty of nature, I never feel alone. God whispers to me there. He reminds me I am never alone anymore. He tells me everything will be ok. He reminds me He has purposes and plans for my life. He tells me not to be afraid.

I don’t want to live like a caterpiller anymore. I want to fly. I want to tell. It will be my way of saying thank-you.

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Words

Posted by A Write to my Voice on June 13, 2009

Awhile ago I learned the words I use help me move forward or keep me stuck in a cycle of pain. So many times I berated myself, calling myself all kinds of names, names my parents called me when I was a child. Names that defined who I was, who I became, what I became.

Words and thoughts affect feelings which affect behaviour. Believing I was stupid caused me to use coping strategies to numb out the feelings generated from that thought.

I learned to speak words of empowerment. Words that push me towards where I want to go. For me, I use the scriptures. I am made in His image. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Shall the pot say to the potter why did you make me like this? Let the weak say I am strong. Saying these scriptures empowers me.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

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Faith and Dignity

Posted by A Write to my Voice on June 8, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009
Hope and Dignity
“I was confused. You cleared my mind. I sold my soul. You bought it back for me and held me up and gave me dignity. You gave me hope when I was at the end and turned my lies back into truth again. You even called me friend.” Anne Murray

I am overwhelmed with God’s love. He reached out to me and in His gentle way, freed me from the awefulness of living on the street, fighting to survive and using my body as a target for all the rage and hatred I had for the people who hurt me. I often wonder why me. Why did He touch me and let me live? I should have died like so many of the people I knew, – like my friend, Sue. One night, she turned on Anne Murray’s song, Snowbird, letting it play over and over while she swallowed a ton of pills. She was dead in the morning, – the song still playing, “But now I feel such emptiness within, for the the thing I want in life’s the thing I can’t win. Spread your tiny wings and fly away.”

Someone once told me, the best revenge is to live my life happy and successful. It’s been a fight, a struggle, a war. So many times, I wanted to do what Sue had done, let go, give up, “spread my wings and fly away,” but God put a fight in me, a determination to live.

All those beatings, being kidnapped and raped, the crazy, terrifying street life, the drugs, the throwing up, the incarceration in jail, confined in a psych hopsital – somehow God used all that to make me strong. He didn’t let me die. He wouldn’t let me go even when I begged Him to kill me. He “bought my soul back and gave me dignity.” He touched me, broke the chains and set me free, when nothing else worked.

Why me? Why not Sue? I had other friends who took their lives, or accidently died from overdosing or because of being so stoned and doing something weird. I used to climb to the top of buildings and stand on the edge with my arms out not caring that I could have fallen to my death. I thought I was invincible. Other times I just wanted to dare life to let me go.

I owe Him my life. The gratitude I feel makes me want to help people like Sue, to give them hope and let them know, if I can do it, they can too. With God, nothing is impossible. I have discovered, there is no darkness so black, no valley so low, He can not redeem it for his glory.

I am alive today because of Him, because of His touch on my life.

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Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 14, 2009

“Love is not a feeling. It’s a behaviour.” Oprah Winfrey

‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he beat me and called me filthy names. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he locked me alone in the car for hours in the worst part of town. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he shoved his fist in my face and forced me to eat even when I kept throwing up. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he held me down on the bed…….

‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he punched me so hard, my spleen ruptured. ‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he held me down and did what he wanted. ‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he locked me in a cold dark room and wouldn’t let me go.

‘I love you,’ God said. Then He patiently waited until I was ready to trust Him. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He broke the hold of the drug addiction. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He calmed my anger and hatred. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He healed my heart with His gentle touch. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He freed me from the shame and fear.

Just because someone claims they love you, doesn’t mean they really do. I think the wires in my head got all mixed up when I was a kid. I thought what happened was normal, that everyone lived on edge, fighting to avoid getting beaten, living like someone in a war zone, in chaos, tension and confusion. I believed whatever happened was because something was wrong with me. I didn’t know what was being done was wrong. I didn’t know they had no right to do what they did. All I knew was it made me crazy. It made me want to punish myself in ways that nearly killed me. It pushed me over the edge, making me act impulsively, full of anger and not caring what happened.

But then I learned love doesn’t hurt. I learned it’s patient, kind and forgiving. I learned it’s not jealous or full of pride or resentful or rude or demanding of its own way.

I never knew. No one had told me or showed me the truth about love. I figured it out as I went, but I had figured it out all wrong. Then God touched me and He showed me. He brought safe people into my life, but I resisted them, pushing them away, still needing to hide, afraid of getting hurt, not trusting. It took so long. But then I got it.

When love is real, not only does it not hurt, but it’s like a balm that feels soothing on the inside and brings amazing healing and relief. I learned love doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, so I chose to forgive and move forward. I want to shine so others can feel the touch of love from me. I want my life to reflect the truth of what love really is and find healing and freedom in their lives.

Posted in child abuse, drugs, faith, freedom, God, healing, love, rape, recovery, truth, women | 4 Comments »

Comfortable With Yourself

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 8, 2009

“The worse loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.” Mark Twain

For too long I walked around feeling as if I weren’t attached to myself, almost as if I was outside my body walking beside it rather then actually being in it. Being separate and not a part of who I was, was a totally weird sensation. It’s almost like floating through the world; – not being grounded.

My body wasn’t safe. I felt like it betrayed me. It allowed all the abuse, – the beatings, the kidnap and the rape to happen. In my mind, just being seen and having a female body caused the violence. It was my enemy. I fought with myself, trying to force the fear and terror to go away – I fought against myself to be strong, but I was afraid, so afraid I couldn’t stand it. The fear forced me to pull more and more into myself and away from reality.

As a kid, I willed myself to disappear until I couldn’t feel anything. I lived in my head, in fantasies that took me to another place, a safe place. A place where no one could hurt me. But even that stopped working at some point. I needed to find something stronger, more effective that lifted me out of the pain and shame and fear. So I cut myself, ripped open my skin, injected my body full of dope and forced myself to throw up even if I ate one small bite of something. I told myself, I wasn’t allowed to exist. I had been told over and over I deserved nothing, I was garbage, worthless, ungrateful. I believed it. Words are so powerful. I lived on those words, falling deeper and deeper into a dark hole that became harder and harder to get out of.

And then, He touched me. He pulled me up and out of that pit of hell. In a hospital emergency room, where I lay under oxygen – the damage I had done to my body extensive – He touched me. He redeemed me. He breathed life into me. I felt it. I knew something supernatural had happened. It was powerful. So powerful I stopped using the drugs. Right from that moment. Fourteen years of shooting up, three and four times a day,- Gone – Over – because of His touch.

I don’t know why He chose to free me. Why me? I’m no more special than anyone else. I thought of friends who died, friends who took their own lives or accidentally overdosed, – why me? Why did He let me live? I don’t understand but I am determined now to to look back, as painful as it is, for one purpose, – to reach out and help someone else caught in their own cycle of torment. There is hope. There is freedom – For me, I found it in Him. When nothing else worked, He did. He touched me. He changed me. He turned the light of His love on. The darkness left. The fear went. Now I live with tremendous joy and gratitude.

Posted in child abuse, depression, fear, lonliness, mental health, self-esteem, violence | 2 Comments »

Overcoming Hatred

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 1, 2009

“Hatred can be overcome only by love.” Mahatma Ghandi

For years I walked around with so much hate and anger in me. I hated what my parents did to me. I hated the way they shamed me, beat me, made me feel less than human. And I hated the system that claimed they could help me. They were like my parents,- shaming, punishing, bullying.

I was arrested for drug possession. My social worker convinced the judge to let me do the time on a locked pysch ward instead of prison. Being on that ward,- that place of misery pushed me further into myself and broke me even more. Their methods of forcing me to conform were brutal. The chemical and physical restrains took away any shred of dignity I may have had. My brain became dull from the medications, the fight in me subdued, but the hatred grew. Hatred for them, for me, and for everyone who had hurt me.

One time they strapped me to a bed by my arms and legs for some minor infraction. They kept me there for two days like a chained animal, allowing me up only to go to the washroom. At mealtimes, they wouldn’t untie my arms. A staff came in to feed me. Humiliated; I refused to eat. I hated them. I despised them. My anger grew. I wanted to hurt them, punish them in some way like they were doing to me.

Instead, I cut into my flesh, trying to rip myself apart, desperate to pull out the bad, the part of me everyone kept telling me was horrible and wrong. Scars formed on my body, but I didn’t care, because they were already in my heart and soul and mind.

Hatred and anger became a way of life. It drove me. It fueled the fight in me. I turned on myself with a vengeance. My arms were full of bruises and marks from biting myself and cutting my skin open. The blood oozing out was my salvation, the thing that released the building tension inside me. My blood, a proof of life, that I was still alive.

Blood? That’s what finally turned my life around. The blood. His blood. The blood He shed for me so I wouldn’t have to hurt myself anymore. Like me, He too was beaten, shamed, ridiculed. He never opened his mouth. He never fought back. That amazed me. How could He not? They laughed at Him, mocked Him, and He said nothing, nothing except, “Father, forgive them….”

Hearing that, my anger began to subside. Thoughts of revenge slowly became thoughts of forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive, to let go of the brutality of what some people did – but to not forgive is worse.

I want my life to reflect His love. He loved me when I couldn’t love myself. He loved me when I was wild, out of control and bent on self-destruction. I don’t fully get how He did that, but I am so grateful for the gentleness of His love that broke the chains that kept me stuck.

Posted in anger, child abuse, christian, cutting, faith, God, hatred, healing, Jesus, mental health, rage, rape, recovery, self-injury, shame | 10 Comments »

Friends

Posted by A Write to my Voice on April 26, 2009

“If I don’t have friends, I ain’t got nothing.” Billi Holiday

I’m overwhelmed. Tonight my friend, Debbie called. Her voice in a panic. Begged me to come over and to hurry. I went. I wasn’t prepared for the surprise party she had thrown for me. Even my sister and her husband drove the eight hours to come. They all chipped in and bought me the mountain bike I wanted. It had all the bells and whistles.

I wanted to run. I wanted to hide. I didn’t want the attention. I didn’t want the focus on me. I, who have spent a lifetime hiding, not wanting to be seen. Here were about thirty of my friends focusing on me. My first thought – I don’t deserve this.

Later that night, after everyone left, Debbie told me, ‘I would do anything for you. God brought me into your life because He wants to heal you completely.’

I met Debbie online. In a writers critique group. She read an excerpt of my book. I didn’t tell her my real name. She emailed me and said she lives twenty minutes away. She wanted to talk. I panicked. I gave her my number. She called. I told her my real name. She wanted to meet. I couldn’t. She knew too much. We emailed. We talked on the phone. She asked if I would ever meet her. Three months later, we finally met – In the park. Over the next few months she read more of my story. She wanted to know details. I couldn’t talk. I hesitated. My words faltered. I started a sentence, then stopped. She encouraged me. Then begged me to come over to her place. We sat opposite each other, I unable to have her look at me. The shame was too great. She respected my need and talked with her face turned away from me. Over the next few months, we got close. Really close. We talked everyday. I told her things I had never told anyone. Things that happened. Horrible things. She said it made her care about me even more. She said our friendship to her is like David and Jonathon in the Bible.

My daughter told me on the drive home from the party, “Mom, you have some great friends.” I do. I really do. I have been afraid of letting them get too close, afraid they would see the shame, afraid they would know my past and hate me. So I kept them at a distance.

My friends are awesome people. Each one of them. I still don’t know how God did it. Took me out of a lifestyle of hopelessness and misery and brought me into one of love, friendship and family. The Bible says God came to set the captives free. It’s true. He really did.

Posted in child abuse, faith, freedom, friends, God, shame | 9 Comments »