At the age of 12 my parents divorced, and that started my journey into dysfunction. I was an unruly teenager, who no one could control. I never went to school, began using alcohol and drugs and partied on a regular basis.
At this point of my life, I had figured out that lying, manipulating and having a loud voice got me what I wanted. My marriage turned violent, the more drugs that we consumed the crazier things got. I quickly learned how to verbally strike back. I eventually left him.
My life didn’t get any better, I continued using and partying. I was now a full-blown alcoholic and meth addict, who was verbally and psychologically abusive to the people around me.
On May 13, 2003 I had a moment of clarity. In despair I prayed, “God get me out of all this. I don’t want to die this way.” I found my way back to God and started working forward to a better life for me and my children. Life did get better.
In 2004, I married a man and we started a business, and had our boys. It was a fairy tale, to the outside world. At home it was a different story. I knew about physical abuse, and about verbal but I had no idea what I lived with was considered abuse. I thought it was me. I thought I was just crazy. He had me believing that all our problems came from my issues.
I found out he was cheating and I chose to slap him, scream, curse and use my car to scare him. I was arrested for menacing. Two weeks before this, I found myself praying for God to do whatever it took to turn me into the woman He intended for me to be. I just didn’t realize that this arrest was part of the plan.
I was ordered to attend ARMS Virtue program. I was not happy about that this. I thought it was some court ordered class of nonsense. I tried everything to get out of it. I was resistant, closed minded and was only going to do this because I had no choice.
During the intake, I still remember saying, “I don’t belong here, I did what I did because of what my husband did.”
Several weeks into it, I started to really work the program. I saw abusive patterns in me and also in my husband. I realized I wasn’t crazy. I started to notice how poorly I was treating others, including my family.
I had to get honest and really look at me. I had to be accountable on a daily basis to my behaviors and reactions to people and situations. I had to start looking at my past pain and feelings of rejection, abandonment, and not feeling important.
I remember the lesson on effects of past relationships and how we can sometime repeat dysfunctional patterns we’ve learn. I realized that the change would have to begin with me. I had to show my daughter how she should be treated and show my sons how to treat a woman. At this point I dove more into the program and starting applying it to every area of my life. I began to recognize my warning signs, which helped me to stop and choose to handle myself differently.
Coming to the ARMS Virtue program has all been part of God’s plan. I know there’s still work to do but I am on the right path. Today I’m thankful for what I gained from ARMS. I have people that love me and tell me the truth. I like my life today.