Finding My Peace: Rb's Story

Posted May 21, 2017

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Summary

Rb shares her painful story that ultimately leads to finding her peace.

Oh God… Oh God… Oh God… What is wrong with me? There is something in my throat and I can’t seem to move. I struggle to open my eyes and finally I see a white ceiling and yellow walls, like they have in institutions, and there is even a long curtain next to the bed I’m in, just like in an institution. No… No… No… they locked me up. I can’t lift my head—it feels like it’s going to explode. I manage to lift my arm and there is an I.V. in it, and I hear beeping. That’s when I realize I am in a hospital. How did I get here? Oh my God. Where is my daughter? Is she OK? I start crying and realize I finally did it. I messed up so bad and there is no one who can help me. What do I do now? —July 20, 1991

Background story

As I lie in that hospital bed waiting for the doctor, I thought about all the chances I had to get things right and never grabbed ahold of any of them. I was in and out of detox five or six times. I tried getting sober with my mom—she made it and I did not.

This wasn’t the first time I was in trouble. I got kicked out of high school, private school, and left home at 16. I was pregnant by 17, and had a baby boy at 18. Somewhere in all that mess, drinking became important to block out bad thoughts while cutting myself helped with the rest. The ritual would help alleviate the craziness in my head, then I would drink some more. 

I spent a winter living in someone’s car at night and hanging around a park during the day. I got into fights and didn’t care. At age 22, I met a nice guy and we moved in together right away. I became pregnant immediately and had a beautiful baby girl by the age of 23. I went into rehab when she was 2, and stayed sober in a halfway house for about nine months. I found trouble when I got out and lost custody of my daughter—but I was doing better. I had gotten a job and had my own apartment. I bought a new vehicle and had a motorcycle.

In 1988, I met another guy that I thought was going to be The One. Three years later—after he had broken many bones and fractured my skull twice—I had moved several times to get away from him. But in the end, I went back to him.

The day that changed everything: July 20, 1991

During the early afternoon, I had been drinking by the community pool and my daughter was with me. We headed back to my apartment so I could get the refill of vodka I needed to make my daughter lunch. While we were upstairs he came through the door. He was in a bad mood. He had found out that I had been moving my stuff out of the storage in the basement and putting it at my daughter’s father’s house. He went ballistic. I told my daughter to grab her towel and head for my car. As she got to the door, he grabbed her and threw her down the stairs. Then, he started going down the stairs after her.

We ended up in the courtyard of the complex and I was screaming for my daughter to run.  “Go call the police, just get away.”

I held onto him and while we were struggling my daughter got away. I don’t remember much after that. The next thing I knew I was halfway in the bushes with no top on, trying to get up and a cop was telling me to stay still. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get to my feet. I remember hearing one cop say, “Her back looks like a bulldozer ran over it.” Then, I woke up in the hospital.

That was the day my life changed: Lying there waiting for the doctor to come in and tell me what was wrong. His first words were, “There is an 80 percent chance you will never walk again.” He kept talking but I really didn’t hear anything else. I had a body cast which covered me from my neck to my tailbone, that would stay on for at least the next six months. That’s when I realized the heavy feeling on my body and why I didn’t really feel my feet—I was paralyzed from the waist down. When the doctor left the room, I broke down and cried, wondering what I was going to do with my life.

Finding peace

I’m not a religious person but I have always felt there was something out there that watched over me. Like a guardian angel that was more powerful than I was. It was that guardian angel that I thought about and said, “OK, I’ve lost my legs now, you need to show me how to live.” It was at that point that I realized I could not do this on my own. I totally surrendered. I began the sober journey with the help of the nurses in the hospital, which I walked out of nine days after surgery. I had help from my mom, the halfway house, and from people in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) community.

I went back to school and got my GED, then an associate’s degree in science at 34-years-old, and at 45-years-old, a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. I moved south to be with my mom when she got sick, and was there when she passed. I also was able to be with my dad when he got sick, even though we had a shaky relationship.

I lived through Hurricane Katrina, was married and then divorced, and moved from Mississippi to Georgia to Virginia then on to Massachusetts, and now I’m in Connecticut. I adopted a rescue dog who had been beat up and spit out like I had been. He reminded me of me, and I wanted to help him the way I was helped. We spent 14 and a half years together. He was there for the second college degree, the passing of my mom and dad, the marriage and divorce, and all my moves. He was one of the best things about being sober and healthy.

Learning to love and trust

Why is it so important that I had my dog all this time? Prior to being sober, I didn’t have a relationship with anything or anyone for any length of time. I spent those wonderful years learning from a great animal about non-conditional love, how to play, how to relax, and finally, how to trust.

I now have a great job, but more importantly, a wonderful community of support. I am working hard in a personal relationship, stay in touch with family, have great outings with my daughter, and have two new dogs that have adopted me. I know that as long as I stay true to myself and my program things will be OK. I have to work at it and realize not all days are sunshine and candy. I have rough days, crying days, and angry days, but none of them take away from the great days I enjoy now.

By Rb Jones, Administrative Assistant III, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Rb shares her painful story that ultimately leads to finding her peace.

Oh God… Oh God… Oh God… What is wrong with me? There is something in my throat and I can’t seem to move. I struggle to open my eyes and finally I see a white ceiling and yellow walls, like they have in institutions, and there is even a long curtain next to the bed I’m in, just like in an institution. No… No… No… they locked me up. I can’t lift my head—it feels like it’s going to explode. I manage to lift my arm and there is an I.V. in it, and I hear beeping. That’s when I realize I am in a hospital. How did I get here? Oh my God. Where is my daughter? Is she OK? I start crying and realize I finally did it. I messed up so bad and there is no one who can help me. What do I do now? —July 20, 1991

Background story

As I lie in that hospital bed waiting for the doctor, I thought about all the chances I had to get things right and never grabbed ahold of any of them. I was in and out of detox five or six times. I tried getting sober with my mom—she made it and I did not.

This wasn’t the first time I was in trouble. I got kicked out of high school, private school, and left home at 16. I was pregnant by 17, and had a baby boy at 18. Somewhere in all that mess, drinking became important to block out bad thoughts while cutting myself helped with the rest. The ritual would help alleviate the craziness in my head, then I would drink some more. 

I spent a winter living in someone’s car at night and hanging around a park during the day. I got into fights and didn’t care. At age 22, I met a nice guy and we moved in together right away. I became pregnant immediately and had a beautiful baby girl by the age of 23. I went into rehab when she was 2, and stayed sober in a halfway house for about nine months. I found trouble when I got out and lost custody of my daughter—but I was doing better. I had gotten a job and had my own apartment. I bought a new vehicle and had a motorcycle.

In 1988, I met another guy that I thought was going to be The One. Three years later—after he had broken many bones and fractured my skull twice—I had moved several times to get away from him. But in the end, I went back to him.

The day that changed everything: July 20, 1991

During the early afternoon, I had been drinking by the community pool and my daughter was with me. We headed back to my apartment so I could get the refill of vodka I needed to make my daughter lunch. While we were upstairs he came through the door. He was in a bad mood. He had found out that I had been moving my stuff out of the storage in the basement and putting it at my daughter’s father’s house. He went ballistic. I told my daughter to grab her towel and head for my car. As she got to the door, he grabbed her and threw her down the stairs. Then, he started going down the stairs after her.

We ended up in the courtyard of the complex and I was screaming for my daughter to run.  “Go call the police, just get away.”

I held onto him and while we were struggling my daughter got away. I don’t remember much after that. The next thing I knew I was halfway in the bushes with no top on, trying to get up and a cop was telling me to stay still. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get to my feet. I remember hearing one cop say, “Her back looks like a bulldozer ran over it.” Then, I woke up in the hospital.

That was the day my life changed: Lying there waiting for the doctor to come in and tell me what was wrong. His first words were, “There is an 80 percent chance you will never walk again.” He kept talking but I really didn’t hear anything else. I had a body cast which covered me from my neck to my tailbone, that would stay on for at least the next six months. That’s when I realized the heavy feeling on my body and why I didn’t really feel my feet—I was paralyzed from the waist down. When the doctor left the room, I broke down and cried, wondering what I was going to do with my life.

Finding peace

I’m not a religious person but I have always felt there was something out there that watched over me. Like a guardian angel that was more powerful than I was. It was that guardian angel that I thought about and said, “OK, I’ve lost my legs now, you need to show me how to live.” It was at that point that I realized I could not do this on my own. I totally surrendered. I began the sober journey with the help of the nurses in the hospital, which I walked out of nine days after surgery. I had help from my mom, the halfway house, and from people in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) community.

I went back to school and got my GED, then an associate’s degree in science at 34-years-old, and at 45-years-old, a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. I moved south to be with my mom when she got sick, and was there when she passed. I also was able to be with my dad when he got sick, even though we had a shaky relationship.

I lived through Hurricane Katrina, was married and then divorced, and moved from Mississippi to Georgia to Virginia then on to Massachusetts, and now I’m in Connecticut. I adopted a rescue dog who had been beat up and spit out like I had been. He reminded me of me, and I wanted to help him the way I was helped. We spent 14 and a half years together. He was there for the second college degree, the passing of my mom and dad, the marriage and divorce, and all my moves. He was one of the best things about being sober and healthy.

Learning to love and trust

Why is it so important that I had my dog all this time? Prior to being sober, I didn’t have a relationship with anything or anyone for any length of time. I spent those wonderful years learning from a great animal about non-conditional love, how to play, how to relax, and finally, how to trust.

I now have a great job, but more importantly, a wonderful community of support. I am working hard in a personal relationship, stay in touch with family, have great outings with my daughter, and have two new dogs that have adopted me. I know that as long as I stay true to myself and my program things will be OK. I have to work at it and realize not all days are sunshine and candy. I have rough days, crying days, and angry days, but none of them take away from the great days I enjoy now.

By Rb Jones, Administrative Assistant III, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Rb shares her painful story that ultimately leads to finding her peace.

Oh God… Oh God… Oh God… What is wrong with me? There is something in my throat and I can’t seem to move. I struggle to open my eyes and finally I see a white ceiling and yellow walls, like they have in institutions, and there is even a long curtain next to the bed I’m in, just like in an institution. No… No… No… they locked me up. I can’t lift my head—it feels like it’s going to explode. I manage to lift my arm and there is an I.V. in it, and I hear beeping. That’s when I realize I am in a hospital. How did I get here? Oh my God. Where is my daughter? Is she OK? I start crying and realize I finally did it. I messed up so bad and there is no one who can help me. What do I do now? —July 20, 1991

Background story

As I lie in that hospital bed waiting for the doctor, I thought about all the chances I had to get things right and never grabbed ahold of any of them. I was in and out of detox five or six times. I tried getting sober with my mom—she made it and I did not.

This wasn’t the first time I was in trouble. I got kicked out of high school, private school, and left home at 16. I was pregnant by 17, and had a baby boy at 18. Somewhere in all that mess, drinking became important to block out bad thoughts while cutting myself helped with the rest. The ritual would help alleviate the craziness in my head, then I would drink some more. 

I spent a winter living in someone’s car at night and hanging around a park during the day. I got into fights and didn’t care. At age 22, I met a nice guy and we moved in together right away. I became pregnant immediately and had a beautiful baby girl by the age of 23. I went into rehab when she was 2, and stayed sober in a halfway house for about nine months. I found trouble when I got out and lost custody of my daughter—but I was doing better. I had gotten a job and had my own apartment. I bought a new vehicle and had a motorcycle.

In 1988, I met another guy that I thought was going to be The One. Three years later—after he had broken many bones and fractured my skull twice—I had moved several times to get away from him. But in the end, I went back to him.

The day that changed everything: July 20, 1991

During the early afternoon, I had been drinking by the community pool and my daughter was with me. We headed back to my apartment so I could get the refill of vodka I needed to make my daughter lunch. While we were upstairs he came through the door. He was in a bad mood. He had found out that I had been moving my stuff out of the storage in the basement and putting it at my daughter’s father’s house. He went ballistic. I told my daughter to grab her towel and head for my car. As she got to the door, he grabbed her and threw her down the stairs. Then, he started going down the stairs after her.

We ended up in the courtyard of the complex and I was screaming for my daughter to run.  “Go call the police, just get away.”

I held onto him and while we were struggling my daughter got away. I don’t remember much after that. The next thing I knew I was halfway in the bushes with no top on, trying to get up and a cop was telling me to stay still. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get to my feet. I remember hearing one cop say, “Her back looks like a bulldozer ran over it.” Then, I woke up in the hospital.

That was the day my life changed: Lying there waiting for the doctor to come in and tell me what was wrong. His first words were, “There is an 80 percent chance you will never walk again.” He kept talking but I really didn’t hear anything else. I had a body cast which covered me from my neck to my tailbone, that would stay on for at least the next six months. That’s when I realized the heavy feeling on my body and why I didn’t really feel my feet—I was paralyzed from the waist down. When the doctor left the room, I broke down and cried, wondering what I was going to do with my life.

Finding peace

I’m not a religious person but I have always felt there was something out there that watched over me. Like a guardian angel that was more powerful than I was. It was that guardian angel that I thought about and said, “OK, I’ve lost my legs now, you need to show me how to live.” It was at that point that I realized I could not do this on my own. I totally surrendered. I began the sober journey with the help of the nurses in the hospital, which I walked out of nine days after surgery. I had help from my mom, the halfway house, and from people in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) community.

I went back to school and got my GED, then an associate’s degree in science at 34-years-old, and at 45-years-old, a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. I moved south to be with my mom when she got sick, and was there when she passed. I also was able to be with my dad when he got sick, even though we had a shaky relationship.

I lived through Hurricane Katrina, was married and then divorced, and moved from Mississippi to Georgia to Virginia then on to Massachusetts, and now I’m in Connecticut. I adopted a rescue dog who had been beat up and spit out like I had been. He reminded me of me, and I wanted to help him the way I was helped. We spent 14 and a half years together. He was there for the second college degree, the passing of my mom and dad, the marriage and divorce, and all my moves. He was one of the best things about being sober and healthy.

Learning to love and trust

Why is it so important that I had my dog all this time? Prior to being sober, I didn’t have a relationship with anything or anyone for any length of time. I spent those wonderful years learning from a great animal about non-conditional love, how to play, how to relax, and finally, how to trust.

I now have a great job, but more importantly, a wonderful community of support. I am working hard in a personal relationship, stay in touch with family, have great outings with my daughter, and have two new dogs that have adopted me. I know that as long as I stay true to myself and my program things will be OK. I have to work at it and realize not all days are sunshine and candy. I have rough days, crying days, and angry days, but none of them take away from the great days I enjoy now.

By Rb Jones, Administrative Assistant III, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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