By Barbra Miller
Women on the Way Recovery Center
Barbra, a grateful believer who struggles with Alcohol, meth and no self worth. There was no love of Jesus or mention of him
in the home I grew up in or any practice of faith that I am aware of. I went to Catholic Church until my first
communion. All I remember from that is being in confession saying the same prayers over and over and a punishing GOD. My entire childhood was spent with a knot in my stomach, always afraid, never wanting to go home unless MOM
was there. My dad was not an alcoholic just a very angry man. He never spoke to me unless
berating or belittling me or slapping me around. My brother always got the worst of the physical abuse. It was
very difficult for me to witness it but too scared to do anything about it. My mom was a liquor distributor so
we had a full blown bar in our family room. My parents were social drinkers. By the age of 10 I was drinking
regularly and smoking cigarettes. Around this time I now know that God was calling me because I would go to church
with friends, but I just could not accept the love of my Heavenly Father, when my earthly father hated me (I also hated him).
At the age of 12 I began smoking marijuana and by 15 I was drinking, smoking pot, taking pills and having sex.
I started drinking and drugging to escape and calm my nerves. When I was 19 I was introduced to CRANK
as it was called in those days. I LOVED THAT STUFF. I could drink and drink and not black out. I
was a functioning addict for many years. I had my LVN license at age 19 and was working at Fairmont Hospital.
I used or drank or both on a daily basis, but I went to work every day until the day my mom died. I was 24 years old
at this time. I did not handle her death well at all. I became suicidal and despondent and I could
not stay sober long enough to work. I was pregnant at this time also, so I got married two weeks after the funeral.
At 5 months pregnant I miscarried, just two months after losing my mom. I really lost it then. I told my husband to
get me out of California or I would end up in the psych ward. I married a man just like dear old DAD; he thought
he could slap me around whenever I would not shut up. My husband had done as I requested and we moved to Illinois
where he was raised and his family lived. Once we were settled, I started working again. THANK GOD
we were unable to find much CRANK out there. I slowed down on my drinking and got pregnant. One
day before my son was born; he tried to beat me up, I got away and when he calmed down, I packed up my clothes and my dog
and left him. I drove myself and the dog to NC where my brother was living and where my mom’s family lived. My
brother was a full blown alcoholic by this time. I stayed clean and sober while pregnant and my son Zachary was born in NC.
I ended up going back with my husband by the time he was a few months old. My husband and I were on again
off again but even so I got pregnant again. My husband eventually went to prison for armed robbery. He got out
of prison on my daughter Tasha’s 2nd birthday and he was not present for the birth of either of our children.
My brother eventually moved in with me for about a year and the drinking got worse every day.
At this point, I started smoking pot again and drinking on occasion. I thought that I didn’t have
a problem but my brother had a BIG problem. I kept trying to get him to go to AA or therapy or anything that would help him.
He kept refusing and then one day I came home from work with the kids and my house was full of smoke. He was
passed out on the living room floor and there was a pan on the stove with six inch flames shooting from it. This
episode was the last straw because he also was hiding bottles of whiskey and twice I found my son with a bottle trying to
get it open. At this point I could take no more, I loved my brother but I had to think of my children so I threw him out of
the house. This was difficult because I knew he had nowhere to go. During this time,
I had bought a house but a year later was out of work and my car blew up. I was in financial straits so I moved
back to California. It was like I had never left, the drinking and drugging was worse than ever. I got in an
accident while drunk and the kids were in the back of my Toyota pick-up in the camper shell. By the Grace of
God, they did not get critically injured. I went to jail and they went to foster care. I quit drinking at this
point. It took me almost two years to get the kids back.
While the kids were still in foster care and my brother was living in Florida, I received a call from
my sister in law saying my brother was in the hospital again and the doctor said he had about 48 hours to live. My
dad bought airline tickets for me, himself and my step mother. When we got there the doctor said all his organs were shutting
down due to the liver failure. They needed to put in a shunt for dialysis and for his heart. My
brother refused, he said he was too tired and done fighting. My brother begged me to stay and take care of him until his death
but I couldn’t because of my CPS case. When I left to go home I knew I would never see him again. He lived
3 weeks more and died. I was no longer drinking but had to have something to numb the pain and take away all
my guilt so I used meth and continued for about another two years.
I know God was with me when I tried to commit suicide in 2004. The kids and I were
living in a motor home. I had gotten in to an intense argument with my daughter about her drinking and my son
walked in on it, he spouted off at me and took my daughter and left. I had a prescription of Soma from a back injury. I was
going to one or two of them and go to sleep, you know shut the mind down, but when I swallowed those two, the voice in my
head said, you know sleep is good it is real good, it would be great to just go to sleep forever, the kids would be so much
better off without me. I could not stop taking the pills, I took all 87 pills. This was where I saw the hand
of God. My kids are 15 and 16 and typically they would take off for many hours or even days but this time they came back within
two hours. My son tried to wake me and I was cold, he said I mumbled “you guys will be ok now, better without
me”. He then found the empty pill bottle and called 911. All I can remember was waking up
at the hospital with black vomit all over and going to John George for a couple of days. I wanted to talk to
the kids to tell them how sorry I was but had no way to reach them. This still did not stop my addiction; it
took 3 more years of wanting to die for me to turn to God.
As soon as I turned to God he relieved me of the obsession to use meth and
the desire to end my life. Proverbs 3: 5-6 was what I believed “Trust in the Lord with all
your heart, do not depend on your own understanding, seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take”.
This path led me to Women on the Way Recovery Center (WOTW). I had to walk through a lot of pain, shame, and
guilt but He gave me the strength to do it clean and sober (Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield). I
thank God for bringing me to WOTW where I learned more about God and how to deepen my relationship with Him. I
stayed at WOTW for 10 months before going out on my own again. I now live in a studio with my daughter. Thank
you Jesus; He never gave up on me. I have a close relationship with my son now. Before going to WOTW, he could
not stand to look at me. I now work at Women on the Way as the Office Manager. I am blessed to see GOD work in the lives of other women as broken as I was. God’s
path also led me to Celebrate Recovery, where I can share about his love and hand in my life. Celebrate Recovery keeps me
accountable and I can ask anyone at anytime for prayer and an encouraging word. Working the 12 steps has helped
me unload a lot of baggage that God does not want me to carry (Matthew 11:30 says “My yoke is easy and my burden is
light”). He wants me to lay it at his feet. I am far from were I want to be but better than I was. I try
to work my steps daily, and make amends as soon as I mistreat someone or my flesh wants to be dishonest. I want
to give back what was given so I am now in Leadership training at Celebrate Recovery. I still struggle at times with thoughts
that I am not worthy of GOD’s love and kindness or the love of all the people he has placed around me. When this happens,
I meditate on a reading someone gave me called MY CHILD.