mental illness

‘You catch this baby, or I will.’ My son’s father fainted. He woke up, saw our newborn, then left to smoke. He returned smelling of cheap beer and cigarettes.’

“‘I’m taking our son,’ he said. It was snowing and he was wasted. ‘He will not take my child like this.’ My grandmother walked in from church. ‘Take my son and lock yourself in your room!,’ I screamed. He got in his car and sped off, fish-tailing down the snow-covered road. Hours later, he returned.”

‘Are you ok tonight?’ I was in the grocery store trying to pretend everything was OK, but it wasn’t. I was bawling my eyes out. ‘This isn’t a forever feeling.’ I’m so grateful to you.’

“I was afraid to leave my house without my husband. ‘I know this is hard for you,’ he would say. ‘Can you tell yourself that you’re safe?’ ‘No,’ I would respond. I reached out as a bit of a last-ditch effort, right there in the grocery store, tears running down my face. The response was incredible. Those women saved me.”

‘Calm down, it’s not like you’re gonna see the guy you robbed.’ Well guess what. I walked up to the church, and guess whose face I saw? The man I had just robbed. He was the greeter.’

“I couldn’t get out. I was terrified. I walked up to him with tears in my eyes, and he gave me a hug. ‘You are in the right place,’ he told me. ‘When I was your age, I was doing the same thing.’ I had no idea he was in recovery. That I was the first time I believed there was hope for me.”

‘The guy who brought me to the party passed out. I should have left him, but I’m a loyal person. I fell asleep and was awoken by a man’s body on top of mine. I couldn’t move and yelled for help.’

“I remember telling my mom, ‘I would die if something happened to you.’ She always reassured me, ‘I’m not going anywhere Erica.’ I whole-heartedly believed she would live forever. Then she started complaining of severe headaches. Selfishly, I thought, ‘Well if God took my Grannie, he can’t take my mom too.'”

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