Your Stories

This website isn’t just all about me. Well, actually, it is. Let’s not kid ourselves. BUT- I want very much to hear your own stories, whether they are similar to mine or completely different. I have a few blogs I follow religiously, because they inspire me and make me laugh. The common theme between us all is the heartache we experience over one thing or another. Friends that have lost children, can’t have children, aren’t married, don’t want to be married, physical illness, mental illness, tragedy…we are all united in that one same pain between the lines. We can’t control it all, and we kill ourselves trying, until we bend or break and then pick up the pieces and try to make sense of the madness. If you can find the courage (and p.s. I’m still terrified of going public with this), please share your story with us.

Email to and I will post on this page. I honor your courage, and validate your pain. Here, there is no judgment or shame. Only honesty and emotional freedom. Welcome…

Karen’s Story

I want to tell my story to maybe help others and for myself.

I was introduced to Alcoholism at an early age. My dad is an alcoholic. I came from a dysfunctional family. And a long line of sick, controlling codependent women. All the time growing up I don’t even think I realized how screwed up my family was. I guess its cause its all I knew. I did not realize that a lot of my codependent, controlling behavior that I have done as an adult I also was doing as a child. I was my moms best friend., which is not always a bad thing but I now know that I took the place of the husband. I was the one who would comfort my mom. I was there to talk and had to grow up fast. I remember going to a few al-anon meetings with my mom. Knowing of adult problems that I should not have had to know about. I am in no way saying my mom was a bad mother, she did the best that she knew how to. I have a younger brother. It was always him and my dad against me and my mom. I hated my dad. I missed most of 4th and 5th grade to stay home and take care of my mom , who was so depressed she could not even get out of bed. I hated him for the way he treated us all. Hiding his drinking. The sick way he would talk when he was drunk. I would find where he hid his beer and lay it out on the kitchen table with a note asking him why he could not stop. I lost friends because my family was known for cops always being there, and for having a drunk dad and a helpless mother and a druggie brother. I found that the only friends that would accept homes like that are kids who used, partied, and slept around. But they accepted me and I could be around them and not have worries, and to escape from my problems. I myself had no self esteem.

I always felt love from my mother, she taught me love and how to show love, but for some reason the bad outweighed the good. Still did not love myself. I often looked to what ever boy would show me affection. I turned 18 and moved in with a guy, later married, had two daughters, found out I had an eye disease that could someday cause total blindness, and then got divorced. In all that time pushing my self further and further away from my parents and brother, caring and hoping that somehow they would be ok.

My parents then divorced. My brother was in and out of the court system. My mom moved in with me and my girls. I was still having the same behavior: looking for acceptance, love, and affection.

I met my husband, Tony in 2000. I always felt so comfortable with him. Felt as if we had known each other forever. I knew he drank. He moved in. Did not take long to know that he drank often and smoked pot. I myself would join him, thinking if you can’t beat them you may as well join them. I was so in love with him that I accepted whatever he did, but still obviously not loving me. We were married 1 year later. I wanted a better life for us all.

I have always prayed with my girls, and through everything have always believed in Heavenly Father. I think I just always felt I was too far from getting to where “they” say we should be, to be able to deserve good things. I became so sure that someday the Tony who had such a big heart and would do anything for anyone and cared more than anyone I ever saw would come out and life would be great. I never trusted, never let my guard down, and was always searching for evidence. Evidence of what I really did not know: affairs, drugs, anything. I needed to see to believe. I remember the first time I found cocaine in his pants pocket. he was in the shower, pants on the floor, me searching.. yelling, “what is this?” and him telling me it was speed. I didn’t know anything about these drugs. Found out later that he had had an drug problem. He had been in rehabs before, and he actually convinced me to give him his stuff back, how dumb was I. He promised to never do it again and I believed him. It was not the first time this promise would be told to me, said he loved us enough to not do it again.

His drinking was always everyday, his drug use sometimes, I guess. This hell went on and on. There were times when things were good, and I would just soak it in. The bad times were really bad. I would beg and plead, “Please stop, why are you doing this? If you love us then stop.”

He was in and out of jobs, no money, moving, taking the kids and running to my moms. The insane behavior. For years I hid, always covering for him, making excuses, not letting anyone too close in fear they may see the hell we were really living. He was always gone or when he was home he was always sleeping for days. Still trying to live as if we were “normal.” I was so consumed with him, where he was, what is he doing, when will he be home, is he dead, is he hurt.

Calling the police hoping that getting him in trouble would make it stop .. telling everyone I was fine. Worrying that every move I made may be wrong, may make him mad, not sleeping cause he was not there, or because he was but I was yelling at him: shaming, blaming, telling him that I would rather he die than to put us through this hell. Why? just STOP!

I would always search the car, his wallet, looking for drugs. I knew he was using but had to see it to use it against him . The kids even knew, they are not stupid, they heard to much. I was allowing him to control my every move, every thought, every feeling. I want him to be the way I wanted him- not sick. We could have so much. I even once in awhile would think things were good. Sometimes hee would have a good job, and things seemed ok. Then it would start again… or did it ever stop. How many times do we have to start over. .

2007 it got really bad. He was never home. He would come home late high on coke. He had lost a lot of weight, and even came home beat up one time. He missed a lot of work. In may of 2007 he got payed on one Friday and just never came home at all. I would call motels and find him and he would just hang up. I was broken. The hurt I felt was more than I could bear. All I could think was, why, how, what did I do. How could he just completely shut me out and push me away without giving it a second thought? I loved him so much and I knew he loved us, because I had seen it, I had felt it. I just could not give up on him, something told me do not give up on him.

I found him a week later at a motel. I went to the door and he would not answer. I went to the front desk, told them my husband was dead in there, demanded they open the door. They told me to leave so I called the police. They went to the door, talked to him, came back to me and told me to leave. He had told them we were just fighting. WHAT he was doing, in there with who knows who, doing crack and who knows what else- and you’re telling me to leave? I was told to leave or I would be arrested. I was sick. I was crushed beyond repair. I had no idea what to do. I had no money, no food, nothing. That Sunday I went to my bishop. I sat in his office and let it out, all of it, no holding back, crying hysterically. My bishop I am sure has never seen anything like this. He did not know what to say or what to do. He was worried about me and the kids, that was his primary concern. I said help Tony. Go get him, help him, he needs help. The bishop said “well have him call me  if he says yes then ok!!”

I waited for another week. Tony called, crying and begging to come home, he was out of drugs and money. With everything I had I said no, you need help. He said if you let me come home I will get help I promise. Words with no meaning. He had been living in the car. He came home and we went to the hospital, begging them to put him in detox. He had to be there. I was not going to be leaving with him. They took him. I stayed that night in the ER.. They said if we had waited just one more day and he would have been dead. He spent 3 days there.. in the meantime I was searching for a residential rehab. I found Renaissance Ranch. The day he was let out of detox he went straight to the Ranch.

That night was the first night I got to sleep, real sleep. Not having to worry where he was and if he was ok. I was so sad for him. Seeing him so beat down, tired- he had nothing left. The first week we could not talk. I remember a counselor calling me asking me how I was, and for the first time I thought, “how am I? I don’t know.” I Never thought about me. He is the one with the problem, help him and we will all be great. I had no idea.

I started to go to Al-anon and Family Group therapy at the Ranch. There and then is where I truly started to learn. I had so much to work on, and still do. Visiting Tony in the Ranch was amazing. He looked like I had never seen him before. He had light and hope. The spirit in the Ranch is strong and Tony was filled with it. This was new and so different for all of us. Tony had a lot to work through: years of all kinds of abuse, pain and hurt that he had never dealt with and was using to not feel this pain. He was there working hard. I was home trying to hold all that was lost together.

Sometimes, feeling huge resentment that it was me still alone and being a mother trying to make it. I was afraid of what I should and should not tell Tony while he was there, I didn’t want to upset him about things that I was dealing with out in the “real world.” I knew that in time he would be home and have to face those same “life” things and I was scared as to how he would handle life now clean and sober. I was happy that he was getting help. I know that I did contribute to his disease, and that he truly is sick. I had not treated him like a sick person but like he had a choice. I shamed, blamed, and manipulated. I, too, am sick. I was sick long before I met Tony. This person that I have been writing about, is not Tony himself, Tony the kind and gentle man- it is his disease.

Tony got out of the Ranch July 31, 2007. It was great to have him home, and I wanted to completely fall on him and let him take over in every way, as a husband, father, and friend. But I soon realized that he could not be. He was home, he was there, and he was a husband, a father, a friend- but his recovery had to come first, which pissed me off. Look how well he was! This is what  I have waited for and now he is always gone to meetings or with people in recovery. I had a resentment that I was the one who got the bad selfish Tony and they all got the great Tony. I was till always looking at him and not at myself. I found that if I had been working my own recovery program I would not have been bothered by this but so, so grateful. This is how we have to live. It is a way of life. Recovery, God and Family.

Tony graduated from the Ranch in November 2007. We are and will always be so grateful to the ranch for saving all of us.

This was only the beginning. Tony has been clean and sober now for 2 years and 3 months. We have had lots of trials, but through it all he has stayed clean and sober. We both work our own recovery programs. We go to our own meetings. Recovery is work and it is hard. This is for life. Looking honestly at myself and all my faults, things I regret- is hard. I am only beginning to work on my stuff. I go to meetings for me.

Today, I love myself, I have friends, I make my own decisions. Tony’s feelings and actions are not mine. We are two separate people who are learning who they really are. We are best friends. We talk about everything. The change in both of us has not always been accepted at first by each other, because it is new and and different. I, myself, know how easy it is to fall back into old behavior, and my recovery is not always strong. I know that today I am ok. I can’t say if he will ever use again but I do know that I have the tools to deal with it differently. We are not alone. Staying connected for me is so important. It is very easy to get caught up in “life ” and forget the most important: you. By working on me I can be a better mother, wife and friend. I have my own relationship with my higher power. I know he is always there he always was. He was just waiting for me to reach out and feel his love for me. I am learning to trust my own feelings and promptings. I know that we are all here for a reason. I know that who we meet along our journey is for a reason, what we go through is for a reason. I know that we are all much stronger than we will ever know.

I do not hide addiction from my kids. It is there and it is all around us. Our family is very close. We are honest and our trials have brought us together. Everyday is not always what we want it be. If we did not have dark, rainy days then how would we know the bright wonderful ones. There is hope.

Karen Summerhays

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