In all honesty, it is easy to judge addicts. But there are stories behind each face. And once these stories are heard, it becomes harder to judge.
This is the story of a woman who was in a long-term relationship with an addict. The writer will remain anonymous but explains, "I feel it paints a good picture of why many women choose to get involved with addicted men or prostitution or drug use. It’s about abuse. It’s the damage that is caused from a very young age." Names have been changed.
Photo by Colleen Burer
Shh, as long as you’re quiet, the monsters won’t hurt you.
I laid perfectly still, slowed my breathing so not to bring attention to myself and prayed. Momma was gone, and someone was banging on the door. I was so scared, I hid under the blankets.
Probably quite a sight to see, this 6 year old girl hiding from sounds in the night.
Again—bang, bang, bang. My heart pounded, and my body grew weak. “Momma, I’m so scared. Where are you?”
Momma worked nights as a dancer and had left hours ago. Bang, bang, bang. Louder this time. “Please Jesus, make it go away,” I prayed as hard as I could, shivering in fear. I felt alone, scared and had no idea how to save myself.
I heard voices outside. Men’s voices, going from window to window. I continued to hide. Click, rattle, shake, jiggle. They were trying to open the windows. “Oh momma, please come home.”
My heart was pounding, and I was sure they could hear it outside. But soon, it was quiet. Shh, don’t move. They might still be there.
Momma came home sometime early in the morning. I hadn’t slept. I shivered all night in fear that the mysterious men would come back.
“Good morning,” she said as I got up and poured myself a bowl of cereal. She was on the phone, so I didn’t disturb her. I just listened. She talked as if I wasn’t there.
She knew who the men were last night, but she didn’t know I had been awake. She told her friend she had to find someone to stay at night and had a good idea who might work.
In came Glenda a few weeks later—fun, vivacious and full of life. She was now our roommate. I liked her, and I wasn’t alone anymore.
Glenda had a husband who was to join us as soon as he got out of prison. When that day came, my life turned dark. He would touch me. He would do things. Even at 6 years old, I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t tell.
You see, even before I finished my sixth year of life, evil lies had begun to bury themselves deep within my soul, deep within my heart.
You can’t trust anyone. You can only depend on yourself. Men want only one thing, and you only have control if they want you.
Throughout the next few years, I endured momma’s abuse and neglect as her lifestyle began to change. Men came and went, drugs began to take control, and momma stopped caring all together.
Soon, the State was my parent and the Foster system my home. I remember the pain, the loneliness, and especially the hard lessons. More and more, I disconnected and built walls.
In and out of the judicial system for running away from the foster homes, they would lock me up. But no one touched me there. I was fed, clothed, had clean showers and went to school. And they call this punishment?
I would purposely get in trouble just to get caught. The place they call Juvenile Hall was the best place I had ever been.
But soon the system stopped locking me up for these small things, and I had to learn the streets.
“Hey Mister, can you spare some change?” The look in the stranger’s eyes was pure disgust.
Now 15 years old, I was begging and sleeping on benches or in doorways, eating when I could. I didn’t know Jesus, but I would still call out to Him.
The streets were cruel. Forced to do what was necessary, I survived. But now, I feel I am not even worthy of God’s love. I am truly lost.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” -Luke 19:10
I didn’t know the promises. I didn’t understand. Why would God love me? I am the worst of the worst, the lowest of low.
Unfulfilled—that’s what I was. Pieces of my heart lost, and aching for belonging…and for love. Giving of myself freely just to survive.
Watch for our next blog to read the rest of the story.
Shame is the emotion most widely expressed by those who have suffered abuse as children and adults. As the author said, they often feel, "Why would God love me?" We want them to know, he does. He absolutely does.