I would like to share my personal life experience with people out there.
First of all I have been on my healing journey since August 14, 1994. At our last party of many parties, we had a big fight and I had to get medical attention. My husband was taken directly to jail for assault. During that last party in my house something very touching happened that time. I believe my people remember that. My spouse had attempted suicide; the police found him hanging by the neck in the garage. I was very emotional when I was told. I remember thinking why does he want to end his life? It affected his family, the community and me. This incident really made me think about life, how precious it is. I was alone at home, I remember feeling very ashamed, not wanting to see or talk to anyone. I kept the blinds down. Then one day there was a knock at the door and this young man was talking to me through the door and he was telling me “come on, I know you’re in there, open the door, everybody heard what happened.” I opened the door and spoke to him. He asked if it was true of what my husband tried to do to himself, I told him, ”yes, it’s true.” He said a few words to me and he encouraged me to stop hiding. Just by his visit it made me think differently, it made me face reality. I honestly think this was when I thought about going to treatment with or without my husband. I had to learn to accept what happened that people knew about it, and that I was determined to make a change in my life. My husband’s suicide attempt was a cry for help, which at that time I didn’t know.
It was through the treatment program that I realized a lot of things about myself. I had to open up about my past: what happened to me as a child, as a young woman, as an adult, everything had to come out to achieve sobriety. I was living with so much pain and denial, that it was no wonder I was so angry all the time. As a child I was hurt physically by being hit, slapped, strapped; emotionally by being yelled at, constantly reminding me I was trouble; sexually, by playing mother and father, somebody touching my private part during a party at our house. Can you imagine how scary that was? I told someone that I was being abused sexually. I was not taken seriously and that made me feel unimportant. It caused me to close myself up; my feelings towards anything didn’t matter. I really don’t remember how long this went on, but I started to feel it was normal to be touched by people older than me. I remember at 12 or 13, I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, I rebelled towards my parents because I felt unloved. They spent their weekends drinking, even if we went camping. I didn’t listen to them; I guess I felt why should I listen when nobody listens to me. The only time my parents would talk to me was when I did something wrong. They did not do anything to correct me but just hit me. It caused me to act worse. I kept so much to myself that at an early age I started drinking, sniffing, and smoking up, to ease my pain. I was also involved with a guy at the age of 14, I honestly thought that this guy really cared and loved me, when his cousins found out about us they rejected me because I was a “tent city girl.” At that time, I could say now that I was looking for love in the wrong way. It ended because of the decision he took. I was experiencing rejection all over again, I was a reject from the time I was a fetus that my own parents put me up for adoption. Life at home was turning pretty bad that I continued to drink with friends and adults who supplied us the booze and drugs, they didn’t care if I was underage. This was when, I experienced that guys and men did take advantage of my body whether I was drunk or passed out. I remember having this weird feeling after I became sober. When I would see the guys that were at that party they wouldn’t want to look directly at me, this was when I knew something happened to me. It became so bad I left home.
I moved to Waskaganish where my biological family lived, I wanted them to love and accept me back into their lives. I felt disappointed when my parents asked where I was going to stay. This time I was confused and felt unwanted. Soon I found friends and continued to party. By this time I was 16 going on 21.1 was hiding everything about my life and acted like life for me was wonderful when inside I was dead, I was hurt enough that I wasn’t going to let anybody else hurt me again. I experienced the exact same situations again: meet a guy, his mother and sisters didn’t like me. I used guys and let them use me. I didn’t care what I did. My spirit was broken when I was a young little girl, I wasn’t innocent anymore. I carried on with my lifestyle of partying and drugging, nobody stopped me from doing these bad things which I thought back then this is life.
I have this special friend who invited and begged me to go with her to a hockey tournament in Val D’or, so we went. I did not go back to Waskaganish until May. I met a guy while I was in Val D’or, and he was very different compared to the guys I came across with, he did not take advantage of me when I was drunk. He wouldn’t let me go when it was time I felt the same. He asked me to go back with him so I did. I couldn’t believe it in my heart that I met someone who loved me. I found it really hard to accept him into my heart, which was always broken. I was really struggling with the hardships in my life but somehow I managed to accept this relationship. I constantly had to remind myself that I was making a new life for myself. He was under the Income Security Program when I went to the bush with him and his mother. At first I found it very strange, I remember my first time I went to their camp, I was looking out the window and thought ”I am actually in the bush.” I was still keeping a lot to myself and was waiting for the right time to tell him about my past, but I kept thinking if I tell him he might break up with me. We did drink during our relationship and we were able to control our drinking. It was after we got married in 1987, and during the first 5 years that our drinking got heavier each year. Do you know why? Today, I realize that it was because that we weren’t open to each other about our own past, we carried too much pain and didn’t know how to deal with our personal problems. We abused alcohol; we actually thought that it was the way out. Drinking was fun in the beginning, but it became so controlling in our marriage. It came to a point where we would have arguments and straight to the bottle, thinking our problems were solved. What would happen was when we were drunk we would talk about it and always ended up in a fight. We weren’t able to communicate when we were sober; we were starting to drift apart. Our problems were piling up because we still didn’t deal with our childhood pasts. I felt so much anger that I started to abuse my husband verbally and physically. I didn’t know my anger was fighting me inside and I became afraid that I would hurt him bad. When he fought me I would press charges on him. It happened many times after that because I often provoked him to fight me knowing that I could press charges. How many women out there take advantage of that?
We got tired of living the way we were. He would go to jail and we would say we wouldn’t take another drink again, but two weeks later we are at it again. It seemed we couldn’t learn, because we were always blaming each other. It was a cycle.
Today, after we went to treatment, I still face obstacles. Life isn’t perfect and I can honestly say I do get angry at times, but my anger is not as strong as it was. I can openly discuss issues without having to take a drink. Having a supportive spouse also makes a difference because we both wanted that change, and our marriage is different. I was given time, space, trust and most of all power to do what I want to do to be happy in life. It did take a lot of discipline and commitment to change my life. It also takes positive discussion meaning opening my wounds in order to start the healing process, understanding my family dynamics from my past, and to honestly take a good look at myself and to stop blaming other people for my deepest inner problems. I had to also to take away the denial I had and learn acceptance, to accept what happened to me and to go on living my life, but to live it right this time. I had the opportunity to approach one of my perpetrators and it was a moving experience for me, because he did not deny what he did to me, he apologized and asked for forgiveness from me. I believe that my parents may have not dealt with their own issues and passed down their pain to me. It takes a lot of courage for me to share my story with you. My hope for you is that someday you would begin your Healing Process. It is difficult and challenging but the best part of it all is that you will see a different view towards life. I would like to thank my husband for his unconditional love and support, also to my coworkers at work for their support and encouragements.
I hope that my story helps you, supports and encourages you to also take the step forward and go on that journey… HEALING JOURNEY.