I don't usually tell people the beginnings of my story.  Mostly because the happenings from the last couple of years has been enough to keep me going for a couple hours! However, today I’ll try and share my FULL story.

My parents ended their marriage when I was about one and I primarily lived with my mom visiting my dad every other weekend.  I obviously don't remember it, but I know that it must have been an adjustment for a one year old.  Being separated from one of your primary caregivers for days at a time and the confusion of going back and forth to different house holds/environments.

Between 0-2 is a tender age when the subconscious is completely open (and it stays open for most of our childhood) and we are completely vulnerable to limiting or limitless ideas and beliefs.  I'm pretty sure that the idea of being separated from those I love got implanted during this time and the continuation of the erratic parenting schedule kept it sinking deeper and deeper into my little baby mind.

When I was 5 I was sexually abused by an older child at day care. It hasn’t been until the last couple of years that I actually acknowledged that this event(s) had much effect on me. I never told anyone until I got married to Charlie. I honestly thought that it “didn’t count” because it wasn’t necessarily an “adult” that did it and especially because it was a girl. I’ve come to find that this experience has probably played a roll in the challenges I’ve had with my body and sexuality (which I’ll talk more about in a minute).

Fast forward several years and just before my 8th birthday, my four sisters and I were ultimately taken from our mom and divided into different homes.  We all had different fathers and they won full custody of us.  My mom lost her parental rights (and couldn't contact us until we turned 18) and we sisters went to our respective dad to be cared for, all in different cities.

Independent of the circumstances surrounding the reasons for this happening, I’m sure the results of being separated from half my family left another deep impression of being separated from those I love.

When I went to live with my dad full time, I’m pretty sure I was in full blown Attachment Disorder mode (though I didn’t learn of it till I was 21) not to mention what ever else was going on with being sexually abused. Given my history and the history of another family member, let’s just say we didn’t get a long very well and little t trauma salt and peppered our relationship throughout the years causing even more mental fractures.

The beliefs I absorbed from my childhood experiences and caretakers manifested throughout my young adult years in the forms of bulimia, feeling disconnected from my family and peers, almost marrying an ex convict, and an almost attempted suicide. Somehow I was able to keep it *mostly* together, at least until I was about to turn 26.

By this time I was married and had my first child. I decided it was time to be more vocal and firm in addressing my concerns about my family member,as it continued to be ongoing. I was met with more resistance then I had ever experienced before in my life.

At the same time, I had just discovered that Charlie had relapsed back into addiction and my whole world got turned upside down. You can read more about my experience here.

A fire rose up in my belly and I knew that if I was going to be true to myself and what I wanted for my life, marriage, and family, I had to learn everything I could about addiction and abuse recovery. There was no way I could turn my back and pretend it was all a bad dream. We started reading articles, books, and attending 12 step meetings (SA: Sexaholics Anonymous and ARP: Addiction Recovery Program).  We found rowboatsandmarble.org  The A B C's of pornography helped us see that if we got to the root of addiction-unresolved emotional traumas-we could eliminate the distraction-lust-therefore, wipe out needing to "act out"-pornography (in any form).

We were a couple on a mission!  We found a therapist through addorecovery.org for Charlie and I registered for bloomforwomen.com.  I learned about betrayal trauma and we both started trauma therapy (EMDR and Neurofeedback therapy are amazing).

During the next several years I learned about boundaries, vision, intention, and other amazing and vital tools for sustaining recovery. We took some amazing programs and had a coach/mentor that changed our life and saved our marriage a couple times.

Even with all the amazing things happening in our souls and in our marriage, things with my family fell more and more apart. It felt like Russian roulette in speaking my truth. The more I spoke about my experiences and feelings, the more push back I got from those closest to me. But the more I shared with the world about addiction, betrayal and abuse, the more healed I felt. In the end, I lost most of my immediate and extended family, but I finally started to find myself.

Recovery has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and continues to be), but I wouldn’t trade any one of my experiences. Every tear, raging midnight drive, or desperate prayer has been like a fire from the bowels of hell who’s only purpose has been to help me discover, forge and refine the precious jewels of my soul. They shine brighter and twinkle more brilliantly for me to enjoy and share.

Through it all, I have learned how to reclaim and recover my own divine power within and to see the wholeness that is all ready me. I will be forever grateful for my experiences of abuse and betrayal; they’ve been the means for me to receive my most precious gifts and lessons in this life.

~Brooke