A couple of weeks after I arrived back to the Foundry from visiting my babies, all the participants and staff gathered in the chapel for the announcement of COVID-19. At first, I did not give it much thought. The CFO explained the virus and as we all know now, back then, a lot was unknown. No one at the Foundry had been affected yet; precautions were made because it was spreading like a wildfire all over the United States. Following the original meeting-many followed. Seemed like every day we had a meeting to inform us of new developments and discoveries about the virus that were killing thousands of people. Many developed fears. I honestly did not. I did not fear death or sickness. I had faith in God and whatever shall happen. My ears perked up when announced the participants had a choice to go home during the shut-down. All I visualized was reuniting with my family. I immediately called Eric- who was in Myrtle Beach at the time with the kids. He traveled back and forth from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach to help his mother with the kids. I told him the 'good news!' We made plans for Sonya, my roommate, who had already left to go home to come back and pick me up to meet him and the kids in Fort Payne, Alabama. I left the Foundry on cloud nine. I was about to be reunited with my babies! I had no intentions of relapsing and alcohol or any other drug for that matter was not a fleeting thought in my mind. I felt very strong in my recovery and my relationship with God. As much as I hated what was happening in the world around me-I had been in my own covered bubble at the Foundry where I felt safe and secure. I thanked God for the opportunity to go home and be a mama and wife again.
Sonya picked me up and we headed to meet Eric and the kids at a hotel in Fort Payne. I was so happy when I met them in the hotel lobby where I bent down on my knees hugging all of them so tight. My troubled soul was no longer troubled by the distance anymore from my babies. Relief came. Sonya left and we ordered dinner and watch a movie together. I laid in the bed with one on each side of me and one in the middle of my legs. Like old times. Nothing else mattered around me. As the kids drifted off to sleep, Eric laid in the queen size bed beside us. I quietly got up from the bed and laid with my husband. It had been so long since we had slept together peacefully with nothing but gratitude and sweet desire for one another. We both dozed off to sleep and not long after Bentley woke me up. She wanted me. My heart was full. You do not realize how much you miss the little things until you no longer have them.
The following morning, we woke up and headed back to Atlanta. I began to have anxious thoughts because I had a warrant out for my arrest. Although, I did not think the police would come knocking on my door during a pandemic, the thought still carried weight in my mind. Eric had told me that Gwinnett County had come by several times looking for me. He had been worried too. I advised him not to worry that everything will be okay. When we arrived home, I was ecstatic. I prayed and thought God did not reunite me with my family to have me thrown in jail during a pandemic. I was wrong. Everything was great at first. The newness of missing each other with Eric and I wore off. We were now 'stuck inside' 24/7 with each other with three little ones. I felt suffocated. My anxiety heightened with every passing day. We watched series on Netflix, and you would think I would have been content, but I gradually became very antsy. I went from waking up at 5:30 am with a day full of work and activities to laying around and doing nothing and it drove me crazy. That was the difference between Eric and I... he was content with it, and I was about to crawl out of my skin. I wrote in my journal, watched devotions, listened to my 'Jesus' music', and read my bible. I did my part to stay centered through all the unknown as I watched the news.
About a month later, we decided to go visit my mama in Alabama for Easter. I was happy and content. We went to the lake, road the pontoon boat, ate good food, and all of us were enjoying life! The water is so peaceful for me. I did not have a worry in the world while I was there. The night before we left, which I have already shared in a previous post, I received a message on Facebook from an old friend telling me to stay alert the devil was out to make me fall and so on. I did not think much about it. The next day, we said our goodbyes to my mama and hit the road back to my sin city, Atlanta, Georgia. On the drive back, out of nowhere, I had the most intense craving for alcohol that I had ever had in my life. My mind became fixated on having a drink. I wanted vodka and wanted it now. If you have struggled with addiction, you very well may relate to the overwhelming feeling of the urge I am speaking of. I told Eric I wanted a drink. He looked at me with a confused face and said, "What, Hope? You do not." I said, "Yes, Eric. I am serious. Let's get a few shots of vodka and a bottle of wine. I am feeling like I am about to crawl out of my skin. I am so anxious. I need it to calm my nerves." Eric did not think it was a wise idea, but he wanted to drink. It did not take much to coerce him into to stopping. When we arrived close to home he stopped and went inside a local liquor store. He got us both mini shots of vodka, and our own bottle of wine. He liked the fruity flavor, and I liked the dry, red wine. When he got back in the car, I grabbed one of my mini vodkas and tried to secretly turn it up without the kids seeing. Instant dopamine hit. He opened his and turned it up. We then stopped by Target as I shopped around feeling a false sense of good. We went home and we both continued to drink. We had an amazing first night back drinking. We did not fight, we loved.
If you had been following all the prior blog posts up unto this moment, you are wondering how could I? Right? After all the pain it had caused me and my family. It is pure insanity. The tiger of addiction was out of the cage, and I will learn through more pain, suffering, and God's unfailing love what redemption is. Stay tuned. The warfare continues. And it is ugly.