Our 38th spotlight in the FACES OF HOPE: WE DO RECOVER series will focus on Becky Vandiver’s story, “With God All Things Are Possible.”
My name is Becky Vandiver, and I am a grateful recovering addict. I come from an upper middle class dysfunctional family. My earliest childhood memories are of fighting and abuse. I never felt love or self-worth. I felt different and alone. Alcohol was always available in our home because my mother was an alcoholic and my father didn't know how to deal with her disease. At a young age I learned that food, alcohol, and sex made me feel good and I used these substances regularly. At the age of 17 I met my first husband. He was older, had a regular job, went to church, and didn't drink or use drugs. I thought I was in love. I had never been treated so well. He gave me an ultimatum, it was either him or the drugs. I chose him, and stayed clean for 9 years during which time I had one daughter and two sons. But he had his issues too, and after the birth of my second son, those old feelings started to resurface. I started going to clubs with my sisters and soon became out of control - once again trying to fill the never-ending pit inside of me with sex, drugs, and alcohol. My marriage dissolved. It was during this time that I met my current husband, whom I allowed to control and verbally abuse my children and myself. I became so wrapped up in this cycle that I neglected the emotional needs of my children. Regardless of that, they still tell me that I was a good mother. I was a functional addict in the sense that I always maintained long periods of employment, a clean home, and the kids always had food and necessities. Things carried on like this for about 15 years, with the drug use becoming heavier and the use of more potent drugs. I had tried many times to quit using, but always ended up using against my will. At one time I had been clean for 6 months. But on September 3, 2006 my oldest son died as the result of a motorcycle accident. As soon as the first person that came to the house and said “here this will make you feel better,” I was back to the using and binge drinking. My baby sister, who came from Pittsburgh as soon as she got the call, brought me a bible and some contemporary Christian music - a door to God had been opened in my heart through the story of the gospel. I was able to find some comfort through identification. He knew my pain, and he didn't lose his son, he gave him up for me. Over the next few years I started going to church, praying, and reading my Bible. This God was not the God from my childhood, he didn't want to send me to hell, and he had love and forgiveness for me. Somewhere near the end of March of 2009, I used for the last time and I thought I was having a heart attack. It turned out to be a powerful panic attack brought on by the guilt and shame of once again using against my will. That night out of fear, I decided that I was never going to use again - I was done. Two weeks later my husband came home and told me that he knew where there was a recovery support group meeting and asked if I wanted to go. I couldn't believe it, because he had said that he was going to use until the day he died and he planned on being a very old man. So that's the night my recovery began. We went to a meeting almost every day. I found a sponsor, and started working the steps and on April, 1st of this year, WE celebrated 8 years clean!!! It hasn't been easy, but I turned my will and life over to God, and have an amazing life today. It's not perfect but I have been able to regain my self-esteem, dignity, and respect. Today I love me just the way I am. I don't have everything that I want, but I have everything I need. I got to fall in love with my husband all over again. I have a loving God, a great relationship with my son and daughter, 4 super grandchildren that think I am the best ever, and real friends that love me unconditionally. I also have a challenging, but rewarding career sharing God's love, and my experience, strength, and hope at Karen's Place. I have overcame many obstacles and am confident that I can face anything. With God's help and a strong recovery network I can stay clean and recover. No matter what I don't have to use. I give God the glory for all that I have and all that I have accomplished. GOD GAVE ME MY LIFE, AND MY RECOVERY SUPPORT GROUP SHOWED ME A NEW WAY TO LIVE.
DESCRIBE AHA MOMENT
For me the Aha moment was when I realized that I no longer needed to be validated by any outside sources. That I was good enough for God and he loved me no matter what. That type of perfection is unobtainable. All I need to do is live life to the best of my ability. I may stumble and fall but I can choose to get back up and surrender rather than give up completely.
DESCRIBE THE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS WHILE IN ACTIVE ADDICTION
There were a lot of different emotions involved in my active addiction. Fear being the most prominent. Fear of abandonment, rejection, confrontation, retribution, God, and the devil. Then there was guilt, shame, remorse, self loathing - most of these feelings evolved from compromising any morals that I had at one time held myself to and from the seemingly never ending cycle of using against my will over and over again.
WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE THAT KEEPS YOU GOING WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH?
I have to say remembering that any situation I may find myself in is only temporary. And that no matter what God has things under control. During these 8 years of recovery I have overcome many obstacles with the help of God and my recovery support group. I lost my mother to a very aggressive cancer, and an aneurism. Both which came as a surprise, as she had been mistakenly diagnosed with a stroke. When we finally got the proper diagnosis it was too late to treat the cancer, and the doctors thought it would be best if someone close to her would give her the news. I had to tell her that she was going to die from her illness. That was not an easy thing to do. I didn't one time think about using, not even a cigarette. At two years clean we had been renting a very nice place, and due to circumstances beyond our control we became homeless, jobless, and penniless - putting our trust in God, we survived this also without the use of old habits.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER STRUGGLED WITH ADDICTION TO KNOW?
Most of us never chose to become an addict. It started with one bad choice and then snowballed out of control. Most of us want to stop using long before we actually do, but without a positive loving support system we just didn't have the courage or strength it took to overcome our fear.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Addiction Recovery Care at 606.638.0938 or visit them on the web at www.arccenters.com.
There is hope. There is help.