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Help Me. Part Nine.

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

I walked to my friend's home. The front door was unlocked as I made my way through the house to the backdoor where everyone was located outside on the patio drinking wine and beer. There were always friends over at their home. Their home was one of my favorite hangouts when I lived in Montgomery. They were like family to me. I usually stopped by to see them when I drove through Montgomery heading home to my mama's house in Clanton. They were an older couple who everyone loved and enjoyed hanging out with. During the Summer, in my early 20s, I drank by their pool all the time with Grammie. The utter shock on their faces when they saw me was priceless. The questions began as my friend asked me where I had been and why I ran off when she was trying to help me at the bank. "Hope, you cannot stay here. I have been on the phone with your mom. Everyone has been worried about you and Grammie said you stole his money. He is upset with you; and upset that you told your mom about him getting high with you. Your mom told me to call the police if you came back around. When did you start stealing? I cannot trust you here. What happened to you? You were just here a few months ago with your kids and were fine." I pour a glass of red wine and began to explain how I ran off, had been with a stranger I met at the Waffle House doing cocaine while trying to get a ride back to Atlanta. Pure confusion ensued as I tell them an off-the-wall story that unfortunately was true. I ask her, "call Grammie please. I feel so bad about what I did. I need to talk to him. I am not in my right mind." She called him and handed me the phone. He did not answer.

I continued to talk and explain that all I need is a ride to Georgia. I wanted to go home. My friend, "I did not realize you were deep into addiction like this Hope. You need to get help. What happened to you in Atlanta?" I tried explaining to the best of my ability, how screwed up my marriage had been with Eric, and I had turned to alcohol. There again, they knew I had trouble in my marriage, and had left and gone my own way from the last time I had stopped by. What they did not know was that my dysfunctional marriage may have contributed but it was unmistakable that I had issues. And as much as I wanted to blame it on Eric and my current circumstances I could not anymore. Everyone who encountered me in that state-of-mind watched me battle the fight that was going on inside of me. It was incredibly sad for them and discomfiting for me.

In the meantime, my mama was called, and she told them to call the police. I am unsure what her thinking was behind "locking me up." I assume it was... if I was not going to listen to anyone, to keep me safe, I needed to go to jail. She advised my friends I had a warrant out in Georgia. She wanted the officers to run my name so I would be arrested.

{A little advice: If a loved one is struggling with addiction...jail is not the answer. You see, the addict will be released from jail and will resort back to old behaviors of numbing themselves. The drugs are an escape. The drugs are a symptom to an internal battle. The drugs keep an addict numb to the pain and he/she will automatically return to the substance(s) that will ease the disturbance within themselves. It is a spiritual problem that will only get better by a spiritual solution...God. That is why in AA you lean on a power greater than oneself (your higher power) whatever you understand or choose it to be. I lean on Jesus. Some in recovery, live and breathe daily meetings, and follow the Big Book as a guide for recovery. I do not look down upon AA or NA. I have found the principles to be accurate and when abiding by the program you set yourself up for success. I am a huge fan of participating in whatever program works best for you; as long as you have God number one, he will guide you and like Paul said," No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13.

In saying that, I have worked the 12-steps, was faithful to my meetings and found myself miserably sober. I worked hard to "do the right thing" and at the end of the day I would pray to God to help me. I wanted to be saved from myself. On the outside, I appeared to be on track, happy, and living a great life. On the inside, I was anxious, sad, and angry that I could not seem to find peace. Have you been there? I am pretty sure we all can relate to the same feelings and frustrations when you have everything going great outwardly but on the inside you feel meaningless. I have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and wore it proudly. What worked for me and continues to work for me is that I have a relationship with God. I do not attend meetings on a regular basis; I would if I felt that it is what I needed and maybe one day I might need meetings again, who knows! As for now, and the past forty-five months; talking to Jesus, worshipping, calling my mentor(sponsor), and having accountability, I have remained free and sober. Have I had struggles? absolutely! Have I wanted to temporarily escape? of course! Have I trusted God with all my heart and leaned on his understanding, even when I wanted my own...YES. Have I had to relinquish my control over to God? Everyday! Have I experienced piercing sadness and grief? Without a doubt. The answers to all my questions, troubles, fears, triumphs, happiness and sobriety have continually led me back to one place: Jesus. On my knees, surrendering to the only one who heals the broken, performs miracles and makes all things good.}

I was sitting, drinking wine while smoking a cigarette, as two officers walked outside. I could not believe they called the police on me. And for what? I thought. They had not kicked me out of their home, yet. I felt total betrayal. I loved them and I could not believe they were acting this way toward me. In my mind, I had not done anything to them personally. My friend was on the phone with my mom on speaker as she was erratically telling an officer to have me arrested. I surprisingly stayed calm. The officer asked to speak to me as I told them I was leaving and walked toward the front door. The officer asked for my ID that I did not have. Then he asked me for my social security number in which I replied, " I do not know it." He responded, "What is your social?" I replied," I cannot seem to remember it." (Obviously, I knew my number) But-I was not about to give the officers access to look me up in their data system. I asked him if he was arresting me or if I was free to leave. He said I was free to leave. Telling my ex-friends, "I do not have jurisdiction if she has a bench warrant in Georgia. If she wants to walk-out she can. She has not committed no crime here." I walked out the door and began walking through the neighborhood. I pulled out the pint vodka bottle I had hidden in my pants and took a big chugg from it. Then, I walked a couple of feet, and laid down on someone's front lawn behind a bush. I watched the officers drive away. I did not want them to find me walking because then they could arrest me for public intoxication. A few minutes later, I reach into my pocket and look at Jim's phone number. I contemplated for a minute if I wanted to call him to pick me up. I was exhausted. I decided it was not a good idea. I tore up the paper and threw it on the road. I continued walking until I could find a phone to use. (In that moment, I was so tired of running. If I did not stop and ask for help, I thought, this is it; I will be found in a ditch somewhere. Thank God, a little light bulb in my high stupor state-of-mind woke me up.) I found myself back at Mcdonalds'. My vision was extremely blurred. I did not have my glasses and at some point, lost my contacts. I walked in and scouted out two young, black girls that worked there. They were on break as they sat at a table laughing and eating a cheeseburger. I had never wanted to be someone else in my life. I walked up and asked one of the girls if I may use her phone to call my Daddy. I told her I was stranded that my boyfriend had left me. Both of the girls were super nice. They offered me a cheeseburger and a drink. I cannot imagine what I looked like, but I am sure it was unpleasant, as I wreaked of alcohol and cigarette smoke. I was on my fifth day without sleep. I was walking around in a drug and alcohol induced unconscious state. One of the girls handed me her phone as the other one went to get food. I called my daddy. Words do not begin to explain the relief I felt by hearing his voice. I told him where I was at and that I needed help. "Daddy, I have nowhere else to go. Will you please come pick me up and help me." He did not cuss at me, ask questions where I had been, and why I lied about being in Atlanta. He was relieved to hear my voice and hear that I was okay. My mama had been keeping him in the "know." So, as soon as she got the phone call I was in Alabama and had lied earlier about my whereabouts she went off and informed him how crazy I was acting. He said he was back in Florida, and I began to cry. "Daddy, I will wait on you to come." The last thing I wanted was to go with my mama. She was trying to have me arrested. He told me, "I will call your mama and talk to her because you need to get off the streets immediately before something bad happens." I told him, "Okay. But make sure she does not call the police. She is nuts." He made the phone call. I called him back for confirmation and then called my mama to let her know where I located. I gave the phone back and told both of the girls how grateful I was. I sat at a booth and inhaled the cheeseburger like someone would steal it from me! I had been functioning from drugs and adrenaline. My body was give-out along with my mental state and empty spirit. Afterwards, I walked outside waiting for my mama. She pulled up in an SUV and was not alone. There sat her, my brother, his girlfriend, and her mom. I gave my mom a huge hug and cried my eyes out. I needed her comfort as she wrapped me in her arms and rocked me like a baby. Finally, I felt safe. I was extremely embarrassed that my baby brother witnessed me in such rare form. Growing up, I was his little momma. I toted him everywhere on my hip and took care of him like he was my baby. We arrived at my mama's house; she wanted me to take a shower. I told her, "No. I need sleep aid, Benadryl, or anything else you have to knock me out." She handed me Benadryl as I pulled the vodka from my pants to shoot it with. If there had only been a fly on the wall..."What in hell are you doing? How in the hell do you have nails, vodka and clothes when your ass does not have money! Give me that shit. You are not drinking that trash in my house. (She grabs the bottle from my hand) Oh my God Hope, what has happened to you? I want my perfect little angel back." I said, "I am going to bed, and she is long gone. I do not know that girl anymore." She walked in the bedroom and leaned over to give me a kiss. "Hopie, you need anything? we are going to get you better so you can see your babies. Mama loves you." I tell her, "I love you and can we not talk about the kids as I began to cry." She walked out. I laid there as my mind raced on one thing; how in the hell am I going to get back to Atlanta now?

Reflecting back is hard at times; but it allows me to access the situations from a different /higher perspective. I think about how daunting it must have been for my parents. Growing up, I was always the responsible, easy-going kid that you never had to worry about. It was the same while I was in college. I was not a great student because I strongly disliked school, but I did what I had to do, worked and was responsible. I was very independent and was not one you were concerned about becoming a junkie or "worthless piece of shit." And there I was at thirty years old wreaking havoc on myself and everyone around me. I had never had a ticket; except a seatbelt ticket, that I received in my late teens. Ten years later, that sweet, wholesome young girl was buried deep underneath all the unhealthy coping mechanisms she had developed along the way. At age twenty-nine, I was charged with my first DUI. When I went unhinged-I did rapidly and full-throttle. You would think that I was ready to surrender, right? I had to gather up more pain as my first sponsor would say. "Hope, I do not know if you are ready. I think you may want to gather up more pain before you are." I did not understand her back then. I do today.

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