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The Check-In. Part One.

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Jodie listened to my concerns without judgement of my current situation. She asked how I thought I was going to travel back to Atlanta. I told her I would hitch a ride to the Georgia line. As foolish as I sounded, she gave me choices: She would drop me off at the interstate if that is what I wanted. She would take me back to Atlanta; to only pack up my belongings and come back. She mentioned a rehab center called the Foundry. Or she would take me back to my mama's house or I could stay with her. As we talked, she continued to lift me up. Jodie told me how strong of a woman I was and how I will overcome this. She knew my babies were my life and that I was a good mother. She encouraged me to seek treatment to get back to them. "Hope, if anyone can do this, I know it is you. Stay strong."

I told her she could take me back to my mama's house. I did not want to be around her kids the way I was. I knew I was not functioning as my authentic self. Jodie dropped me off and told me to call if I needed anything. I believe she knew I would not last long back at my mama's. My mama and I were arguing and with my demented state-of-mind all my emotions were more amped up around her. We fed off of each other's chaos. As nightfall approached, I decided I could not handle being around my mama, and I was in an all-consuming state of anxiety and fear. I walked out again. My mama sat on the couch and let me leave. I started walking out of her neighborhood. It was cold and I was not prepared. I literally walked across the street and curled up in fetal position in a ditch. I had chills all over my body and my legs were giving out. My body was shutting down. I did not have enough strength to run. I laid there for a few minutes and decided to walk back to her house and try it again in the morning. The front door was open. I walked in and told her it was too dark and cold that I would try again in the morning. My mama hounded me about all the alcohol hidden in the bedroom and bathroom. "I knew you had to have drunk something because you are acting so damn crazy! Get in there and go to bed." I refused as she continued with unpleasant words about my reality. "You need help Hope! You are out of control." She was tired of my psychotic behavior. I began raging again and walked out the door.

This time I walked further across the street of the neighborhood. There was a house with fenced-in land that connected to woods. I bypassed the fence and walked toward the woods. There I sat wanting to die. My thoughts were intruded by death. I thought, well, I can hide in the woods and not drink any water for a few days and die. The gift of desperation was slowly approaching.

{"Desperation is called a recovery gift because many feel that their drinking and using hasn’t become a desperate situation yet. For those who realize desperate times call for desperate measures, their lives can be saved. Despair is defined as “the complete loss or absence of hope.” Drinking and drug use once gave us hope."}

After contemplating how to die for a few minutes, I walked back to the house. This time my mama had the front door locked. My mama has cameras all around her house. She watched me walking back from the video footage on her phone. Can you imagine? There I was back again in my crazed mental state. She let me back in as I stated I was staying this time. By now, she had called one of her friend's over. She started talking how she was calling the police to have me arrested. My smart mouth, "Really? How do you think you are going to have me arrested. You are aware they will not arrest me for a bench warrant. Remember you already tried! Just to let you know I cannot be arrested if you are allowing me in your house and it is not illegal to be drunk!" I kept stating my rights and told her she would look nuts by calling the police. In her anger, I overheard her tell the police I had stolen...twenty dollars from my younger brother when he was over the day prior. I told her she was a liar! That I did not! and she was making shit up. (I did not steal no money or anything else from my family). She said, "well talk to your brother about it. He is on his way to give a statement." I said, "ya'll are fucking lying and you know it. Hell, if I had stolen money, I promise you I would not be here right now. I would be somewhere else with a fucking vodka bottle in my hand! I am leaving." She began yelling, "no you are not. Your smartass is going to jail where you belong. Stop her from leaving." I walked to the back door connected to the garage to leave as my mama's male friend basically tackled me to do the ground and constrained me on floor hurting me. I began crying and yelled out to my mama for him to stop that he is hurting me. She did not listen until he had me in a choke hold where I could not breathe. She said, "let her go." He released me and I was very shaken up from that event. But I had more problems to deal with.

It felt like moments later that the police knocked on the front door. My mama was erratic while I had calmed down. She told the officer that I had stolen twenty dollars from my brother. That even sounds so stupid! Anyway, who would have thought it would have come to this. (In her defense, she was doing what she thought she had to, to keep me safe.) I told the officer that I did not. He could search me if he wanted. I did not have twenty dollars. He explained how my brother would need to make a statement. As all of this is going on, Jodie and her husband Andy drive up. I asked the officer if I was under arrest or could I leave. He told me I was free to go. I hop into their vehicle cursing my mama. We ride to my Aunt Dianne and Uncle Don's home. I sat in the car as Jodie ran inside for snacks. Aunt Dianne walked outside to my window and encouraged me to stay strong. Jodie and Andy took me to a nearby hotel. We were afraid after my brother's false statement was made there would be a warrant out for my arrest and the first place the officers would come look is their home. They stopped and bought me cigarettes and Benadryl, my requests.

We all laughed as we had to find the humor in the situation! They were sneaking me into a hotel room so the cops nor my mama would find me! Jodie and I were attached at each other's hip until I moved off to college and Andy is like a brother to me! We all grew up together on the same dirt road. They left me in the hotel room. Finally, I had the gift of desperation. I had been running far too long and I knew I had to stop. If I wanted to be a mother to my babies, I had to stop. Back then, I was unable to see how my self-destructive behavior affected everything around me. I lived in my cocoon of my own self-inflicted wounds where I did not see nothing but my own suffering and pain. It was hard enough facing myself. It is why I would so easily have suicidal ideations. Death seemed better if I could not make the pain cease. Hence, the continual cycle of drug use to numb out and temporarily escape.

(I did not have the power to save myself. That is why Jesus died for our sins. I needed Jesus; not my "save me prayers" although, Jesus was right by my side through it all. I needed to give my surrender to God. The only one who could save me from living in my own hell on earth.)

I laid in bed, ate my snacks as I felt totally drained. I swallowed a few Benadryl and prayed to God for help. Early the following morning, Jodie and Andy knocked on the door. Jodie talked about The Foundry Women's ministry located in Bessemer, Alabama. She told me about a person, we both knew, who had struggled and had their life totally restored after graduating the program. It gave me a glimpse of hope. Jodie expressed how I had a bed available if I wanted it. I would need to fill out the application online. The only thing is it is not a detox center. "We can call around and try to get you in a five-day detox center if you need it."

"Give it a try Hope. If you do not like it, you can leave. Nobody can keep you there. I promise you, if you stay strong and go to this program, I will drive you to see your babies. Noone will be able to take them from you. I will do whatever it takes to make sure you get them back. But you have to work on yourself and get help. God is the only one that can save you from this. And you are so strong. I know you will bounce back and get the life you deserve."

I said, "okay. Tell me about this rehab. The ones I have been to are nice. How much is it? and I am not staying a year, maybe three months. I cannot be away from my kids that long. I will never make it." Jodie nicely explained, "Hope, if you do not check into a treatment center you will not have access to your kids. Eric's family will make sure of it. You have to do this. I believe you can and if you give it a try your life will change." "I hate them. Why don't they send their own son to treatment? They would like nothing more than for me to disappear." Jodie said, "You cannot worry about them or Eric. Let it go and focus on your healing so you can be around for them. They need you. We all love you. " As she starts explaining about the cost...I could not believe it. "The entry fee is five-hundred dollars. I will pay it if you go. You work for your room and board." Jodie is trying her best to glamorize this program that was not appealing whatsoever. I responded, "That is cheap. Five-hundred dollars for a year? What is the program? Do they have 12-step work and meetings? Therapy?" "Hope, it is a faith- based program. I think you need to try something different. It has a very high success rate for those who graduate. "

I called a detox center; it was going to be an outrageous amount of money for a week, and I knew my daddy would say, "hell no. You got yourself in this predicament sweetheart, you will have to work through it." I honestly knew I would be fine without it. Sadly, I have many times been on a similar type of binge where I had to detox myself. The hardest part is overcoming my severe anxiety that over-compensates me and the depression that follows. I agreed to go. I was out of options, and I was desperate. The gift had arrived because I had nothing else to lose. There I sat in a hotel room, in my hometown, twelve years after I had left with grief and brokenness that seemed imaginable. My thoughts were, "what in the hell happened to me? How did this become my life? I used to be so well put-together and now I have to fight the demon in my brain to end my own life."

Jodie began the application online where I sat on the bed giving her answers she did not already know. When the question came up of how many drugs I had taken in the past year, she read them out loud. I said, yes to a lot, as she tried to not look in shock. Growing up, I was the sweet, reserved one out of us two. I followed rules, never got in trouble, and never drank or partied. I truly was a "good girl." I was a homebody. Jodie, on the other hand, was very outspoken and engaged in typical teenager behavior. But honestly, we were both very well-known, well-mannered, Christian girls who spent our Sunday and Wednesday nights at church. We come from a good family, and we were raised by Godly principles. She had married her middle-school love (Andy) and they had a beautiful family with three children. I had gone astray. Once I had my own independence, I experienced life with an open-mind and free spirit. I wanted a taste of the world. Well, I got my taste of experiences all right. Some were beautiful, some were demonic. At times, I was very naive to differentiate between the two.

The application was completed. I showered and dressed in some of Jodie's clothes. Mine had dirt all over them from hiding in the ditch and field. Next, we left to sneak in the backdoor to my Aunt Dianne's work for a drug test. I was embarrassed because I saw someone I knew; but on the flip side, I did not care anymore. I tested positive for cocaine and benzodiazepine. After that, we left with Aunt Dianne driving toward Bessemer, Alabama. We made a stop at Walmart to grab some necessities. I had nothing except for the clothes on my back. At checkout, the cashier overheard Jodie asking me which kind of cigarettes I smoked. Well, Lord beholds, Jodie handed her license to the lady, and she would not accept it. I thought Jodie was about to come unglued and she told the cashier, "Really? Okay well I want the cigarettes for myself!" More exchange of words was said. We have laughed about this scenario. Jodie does not smoke! But she meant she was buying me some cigarettes from the petty cashier. I thought, "Oh God, we are going to have to call Andy to come get us all out of jail before this day is over!"

We left to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings and then drove to the Foundry Women's Center. I was very confused as we drove through the ghetto to arrive at a dull-brown building. I was scared and full of anxiety. I thought, "there is no way I will make it thirty days here." I asked, "Is this it?" My Aunt Dianne reminded me that I was right where God had led me to be. I needed to stay and when I thought about leaving think of my babies. "Hope, they need you to fight for them. They need you and miss you. If you cannot do it for yourself, do it for them. This place will help you love yourself. God loves you and he is fighting alongside of you. You are not alone. We are here for you and if you need anything you can call us."

I was met at the front door by a bubbly country- girl who acted way to happy for me to be there. I was stoned-faced as I walked to a small office to complete paperwork and was greeted by the women's supervisor Norma. I asked about the program and the look on my face said it all. Aunt Dianne, "you can do it. This is going to be good for you." I was not pleased with what I was being told. "We are a faith-based facility; we have church, bible study, and you work at a thrift store during the day with classes early in the morning and at night. I asked about AA meetings and working the 12-steps. Norma implied, "nope. we do not do that here. We study the bible and believe in God. You do not have to believe in God, but you are required to go to church and attend the classes."

I finished the paperwork and asked if I was protected by HIPPA? Her response was priceless. "I do not know about HIPPA and all that, but I know we have Jesus." I thought, "Oh my God. I do not think I can do this. They do not believe in meetings and the 12-step program. How in the hell is this going to help my addiction?" At that moment, it did not matter how I felt, or what "I" thought I needed. I knew one thing: I wanted to change my life or die. I could not live like I had been any longer. I was WILLING. I stepped outside to call my daddy. He was happy I decided to check-in. "This is the best thing for you Jill. It is one year out of your life to nip this in the bud so you can have a life. You can do it. In hindsight, baby girl a year isn't nothing compared to all the years you have ahead of you. You are young and the kids are young so get it right so you can be around to raise them. Addiction has held you back for a few years now. It is time for you to stay strong and change the course of your life."

I agreed as tears ran down my face. I was about to embark on a new journey. A journey that God himself navigated together for the betterment of my own good. I was lost as I walked throughout this "prison" looking facility. I thank God for his handywork in my life. I wholeheartedly believe all my detours had led me right where God wanted me. I believe in divine timing, divine encounters, and divine warfare in the heavens. While the devil had me roaming the streets for more pain, God intervened. My angels were at work. I was divinely guided to a place where God had me slow down and experience his presence. No book, class, therapy, or steps are comparable to the presence of God.

I had no idea what was about to come.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

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