A New Chapter: Moving Forward is Bittersweet

A little over 4 years ago I was just getting out of a bad relationship, living in my car in Fossil, OR. My EX boyfriend at the time, was from Arkansas and didn’t have the money to go back, so he lived with my parents and I left town with nothing but my car and clothes. It was worth it to get away from him. It was winter and I was cold, but I figured I would find a place eventually. Plus I could always find a way to get some alcohol, what more did I need?

I started seeing Keyes (my husband now), he would meet me in my car and we would talk for hours. After sleeping outside of the Mercantile (grocery store) for a while I was asked to leave; it was pretty awkward when people would walk by me, as I slept under a blanket in the drivers seat of my car—hungover, and probably a little stinky—OK maybe a lot stinky. I moved my car, and yet again I was asked to move for a second time within days, this time by the sheriff rather than the store owner. Chris Humphreys, asked me how much I was drinking. I didn’t give much of an answer but it was clear I was drinking a lot. He even offered to attend AA with me; but I wasn’t interested. I wouldn’t be interested in quitting for quite some time (I had some mistakes to make first—big mistakes!).

Today my husband and I, and our sweet baby girl are moving into our own apartment. My husband has a good job working as a Peer Support Specialist/Youth Partner. I have been sober for almost 2 years. We, as a family, are doing great. I fancy myself a budding writer, and thankfully my husband has supported me emotionally, financially and physically throughout this journey.

Wow, today is the day. I don’t even know how I got here, it seems like time has gone by so fast. I was just pregnant yesterday wasn’t I? Where did this 6 month old baby come from? It’s like a dream—it just doesn’t feel real. My husband and I lived with my mother, quite symbiotically, for 3 + years. We helped her out as much as possible while she supported us as we improved out situation. Keyes and I started out working odd jobs until finally he was hired at CCS.

To be honest it has been tough but well worth it. Having a newborn, while my husband started his first ‘real’ job and then losing the security of living with my mother—losing that extra support. (She still comes over on occasion and helps when necessary, but it it has been a huge adjustment nonetheless). Plus we have been working on moving all of our stuff and repairing some damage in our new place, ie, replacing the carpet in the bedroom, etc. Uhhg—and the bills! On top of all of that I just started holding meetings for the support group I created. We wouldn’t have time to return to old habits even if we wanted to!

I’m so incredibly proud of my husband for how hard he has worked to make all of this possible. He is absolutely great at his job and his clients love him. He’s truly made a difference which is more that a lot of people can say. He has inspired and supported me though thick and thin. I’ve been in jail, drunk, belligerent and at times I was entirely disrespectful. We have both been in horrible places but somehow we saw potential in one another and held on. Our love carried us through. Fortunately, even with all the extra stress, it’s still not as taxing as drinking and drugs!

There are so many people that have encouraged us despite reputation and history. When I was ready to change they were there. My mom of course, Judy Simmons, has always been there for me and done her best to give me everything I needed from her. Mary Johnson and Victory Wagner are two wonderful ladies that have been there for our family as well, offering everything from protein shakes and healthy food when I was pregnant to loaning us gas money when we were in a pinch. In fact we just paid them back yesterday for loaning us some money.

Another person that I feel deserves special recognition is Joan Field, owner/editor of the local paper, Wheeler County News. She has put blurbs in the paper directing people to my blog and she also hired me to write for her. I’ve already learned a great deal about writing in the little amount of time I’ve worked for her. It was quite a change going from a personal blog, to writing a third-person, unbiased, article. She has been incredibly patient as I’ve evolved as a writer. It felt so good to receive my first check as a writer. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the accomplishment and the feeling of support and kindness. I actually framed what she wrote about me in the paper because it symbolizes and solidifies all of the work I’ve done.

I have mentioned Rebecca Humphreys countless times; I can’t thank her enough. She has impacted both me, and Keyes, in ways that I can’t explain; There are no words. I honestly don’t know where I would be without her counseling. She gives Wonder-Woman a run for her money! Whenever I’m anxious I ask myself, What would Rebecca say? (I’m serious, that wasn’t a WWJD joke). She always reminds me that I’m the one that did the work but I feel that I couldn’t have done it without her influence. I may have quit drinking without her, but things wouldn’t be as amazing as they are today. My husband and I have changed so much in such a short time and I can’t help but recognize her as the culprit.

All of these people have inspired me to strive to be the one that’s there to support someone in need–to lead someone from the depths of their despair to the pinnacle of their success. I want to help someone understand that they can do more than just ‘make-it’. Anyone with will-power can surpass their expectations and live the life they want to live. I’m living proof.

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