This story is being told by Angela. We are grateful she is sharing it with all of us. This is strength. This is hope. Carry on.
For those who don’t know me, my name is Angela C. I was born on my cousin’s birthday on December 24th, in Milwaukee, WI. I was 23 days late (and my mom says to this day I’m still late for things). Sorry mom 😉
We Moved A Lot
Growing up I remember moving a lot. From a few different places in Wisconsin to New Jersey to Ireland. Also a month in Munich, Germany and a few different places in Texas. When I was young I hated moving and hated trying to make new friends. But I am grateful now because it taught me to be more flexible and open-minded to changes because you never know what God has planned for you and it’s always a better plan than what I had in mind.
Newborn To A Few Months Old:
My biological dad is David. I’ve never met him, he gave up his rights to me when I was a baby. He was/is an addict and alcoholic. He has always been in and out of jail. The first time I ever saw his picture I found him on the Wisconsin sex offender registry. I grew up without a father, now I realize my heavenly father is always there for me and has always wanted me. During my addiction days and in rehab I used genetics as an excuse and blamed everyone else for my problem. Now I know I am an adult and I make my own decisions and I do have a choice. I was baptized Catholic. My mom had a lot of people in her life that always wanted to take me to church even though she was an atheist. She still let them thankfully. I grew up knowing of God but not yet knowing God and all he could do and how to build a relationship with him. I also attended a few Catholic schools so I learned about God there.
Few Months Old To 4 Years Old:
Lucas became my adoptive father and I was given his last name as my maiden name. When I was 4 years old, it was found out that Lucas was molesting me. I was told that he and his family kidnapped me. They told me my mom was dead and my nana and papa didn’t love me. Which was confusing because when my nana and papa were allowed to talk to me every now and then, my nana and papa would tell me every time on the phone, every chance they got that they loved me and they were coming to get me and they would see me soon. I remember when the police came and got me back.
4 Years Old To 7 Years Old:
Jason was the best guy/dad figure my mom was ever with. He lived in country and on a hobby farm. Those were some of my best childhood memories (other than the kids from Mangold Ave, in Milwaukee, WI)
9 Years Old To 15 Years Old:
Jacob raped me from the time I was 9 years old to 15 years old. We moved to Ireland where he was from originally when I was 10. We only moved because a social worker in Wisconsin convinced my family that I was lying but she was wrong. I saw many amazing things in Europe. A lot of experiences were tainted by everything Jacob was doing. We moved back to Plano, TX when I was 15. I told a counselor at school and wound up in foster care, in 3 homes, and in and out of mental institutions because the foster parents get more money if you’re on psychotropic drugs. I was finally allowed to live with my nana and papa in Wisconsin right after my 16th birthday. I then went home to Plano to live with my mom again the next summer. At this point in my life I definitely believed in God but was angry and hurt and felt abandoned, “Like why didn’t you help me??” When the truth is I just couldn’t see or fully understand how he was working until looking back on it all later in life.
16 Years Old:
Levi and I met when we were 16 and in high school. We got pregnant with twins and I miscarried them. We partied a lot together after that, typical high school partying. So we thought. When we turned 18 we got an apartment on our own, got married, and he joined the army. While he was at basic training, it was first time I ever reached out to a celebrate recovery group. I began recognizing I might have problem with partying too hard. Before I could get help we moved to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and had our son Tanner there. While we lived there we found a great church and I was in charge of the toddler class. I also helped with the babies as well as I often watched a lot of our friend’s children. I loved and missed that and God was really letting me fulfill a purpose then I felt love again and worthy. But then Levi got a dishonorable discharge from the military; we moved home to Dallas, TX and in with my mom and aunt. We had a friend who had a fiancée named Carla. She and I became close friends especially when she was dealing with her fiancées deployment. We all hung out and partied, drinking, and occasionally going to a club to party and do ecstasy. Well I found out over time that Levi and Carla were having an affair. Levi and I divorced. We had joint custody of Tanner and I was main custodial parent in the beginning. I wound up trying to work my regular job as well as any other job I could including dancing and escorting, not my proudest moments, to pay all the bills. I was too proud to ask for help at the time. I would party on the weekends when I didn’t have Tanner. It started off as drinking, then ecstasy, and then I met someone who showed me smoking meth and I did that for a while. When my lease was up on my apartment I moved back in with my mom and aunt. Eventually I was partying more, leaving him at home with my family, which I feel bad for but I knew I was doing wrong and didn’t want to expose him to that world. I had a few boyfriends, one of which showed me IV drugs. After that I couldn’t get the same feeling from smoking and I had to have IV drugs. And trying anything that I could. I even went so far as to run drugs and sell them from Plano to Bedford among other places just to get my cut and my share. I had a problem saying no and wanting to prove something to everyone and myself. Always searching for a way to fit in and never caring what the price I paid both financially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Deep Into My Addiction:
I met Shane through some mutual friends in 2012. We got busted together and this is when I got my first drug possession charge. Shane and I got arrested together at a hotel. When I was in jail my mom told me that she would bail me out if I went to rehab. At first I hung up but then called back and agreed. My mom brought Tanner to visit me twice a week for 3 weeks. During the third week my ex took Tanner and never brought him back. He then served me with a restraining order against my then 3 year old child. I pushed on and completed my rehabilitation. I was 7 weeks into my outpatient treatment when I relapsed. I went to meet someone that wanted to have a few drinks and hang out. I trusted them, I barely took a few drinks of the alcohol and I felt so sick I knew something was wrong. While Shane was in jail she had someone drug me at the hotel. I found out later that someone who was very jealous that Shane and I were together. I was raped and taken to a house that I didn’t know where exactly I was. I only know I was there for a few days and prayed for God to intervene. I started getting well and I was able to fight him off me. I got my phone back and called a friend and they found me. When Shane got out I told him what had happened. He found out from other people he knew on the street that the woman he had known and been friends with for a few years had set that up to happen to me. That the mix given to me was heroin and GHB. I don’t remember a lot but I remember feeling paralyzed and numb and terrified more than ever before. Feeling like no one will believe me I was in a hotel drinking with people I knew where addicts. I felt stupid, like I put myself in that situation and I could have avoided it. I shouldn’t have been there but they shouldn’t have done that to me. I was lost in a very dark world. You would think I would want help at that point and see I was an addict. My life was crazy and out of control but the crazy part is I continued to use drugs and live a fast, fast, dangerous life. I wanted to block out everything that happened. I felt like a failure and I knew that I couldn’t pass my final UA for outpatient because of what just happened. Shane got out of jail and we got back together. I tried very hard on my own to get and stay clean but the longest I could do it on my own was 2 weeks. It’s not that I didn’t want Tanner back, I literally could not give up the drugs. I am an addict. So time went by living hotel to hotel if we had the money or we stayed with other people that were addicts. Sometimes we stayed out all night if we had nowhere to go. I escorted for money to eat, live on, and use towards our addiction. Among other schemes and scams. We got arrested again in September 2012 and I wound up getting bailed out by a friend with my own money. I was put on probation for these charges. In February 2013 I never went to the probation meetings as I continued to use. They thankfully never revoked my probation. God had his hand over the situation because he knew what was coming next and I didn’t.
My Bottom and My Blessing
Shane and I found out in April 2013 that I was pregnant. I happened to get a really bad UTI during my addiction. We went to the hospital to check on the baby and I and I then found out I had been using for 3 months and I knew I had to stop. I slowed down a lot but I still smoked every now and then and very rarely used IV drugs. I had overwhelming guilt and eventually Shane and one other lady around us refused to give me drugs anymore they told me no and Shane helped me through withdrawals. I stopped just in time at 4 1/2 months pregnant to have my daughter not be born with drugs in her system. I eventually wound up with a felony warrant out for my arrest. Shane and I got pulled over a week later and were taken to jail again. That was my bottom, I was pregnant and going to jail. I had to call my mom and tell her and I had no choice but to plea to probation and move home again and do everything right this time. While I was there waiting to get out I read an amazing book in jail that changed my perspective called Brokenness by Lon Solomon. It taught me that God can use me especially with my flaws and brokenness. No matter how broken I felt that God is the only one who can take all my brokenness and use it for a great and amazing purpose. Anything that evil meant for bad he will turn for my good. And this time when I went to church in jail and it clicked and meant something. I literally only had me, my unborn, and God. Life knocked me onto my knees and in a good position to pray. I got out to find out I literally lost everything (Tanners baby box among many, many material things) but I was alive and I was being given a chance to make it. God trusted me enough with another one of his children and I was going to get to be a mom again and the material things can and have been replaced. My kids and my walk with Christ are what is irreplaceable. I started from nothing and my family has been amazing to help get me on my feet again. God blesses both my family and Shane’s (Naomi’s dad’s side) and they bless Naomi and me.
My Recovery, My Faith, and My Family
When I got out I found an amazing NA group and an awesome sponsor and they help a lot but I still felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing. My relationship with Christ. I had been running so long I was so tired and now I was home and all his. It is the biggest relief to know that I can stop playing God and that when I stop doing things my way and acting without prayer then things work out better than I could have ever imagine. When I came home I found out that my once Atheist mother had found a church, thanks to some amazing friends of hers and people that are pretty much family (Scott and Clarissa). They had given her the best advice ever to take her human hands off of me and treat me like a sister in Christ. Let me tell you it worked and God brought me home. My mom started bringing me to Kingdom Life and I felt like I belonged. I felt loved and accepted for who I was. I kept going and my faith and hope have been restored and I know God strengthens me all the time. Eventually Shane got out and we went to church with his mom too. He got to see Naomi be born. Naomi Grace H. was born November 4th at 3:33pm. Grace is her middle name because we felt like God sent us to her as our saving Grace. She was born healthy and no drugs in her system. Amen. She is a healthy, smart, and wonderful, happy child. I couldn’t imagine life without her now that she’s here. And he (Shane) was around until end of March 2014, Naomi was about 4 or 5 months old and he went back on a probation revocation. The truth is he struggled with his addiction again in the last few months. God needed to take control of the situation and I had to learn to let him because it was too much when I felt like I was trying to fix it all. I had to let it go, to get relief and focus on God, myself, my recovery, and Naomi. I was clouded by things when I was focused on “what I want and I want it now” mentality but now that I put things back in God’s hands I have become more open-minded and I feel like the picture is becoming clearer to me on God’s purpose for my life and how I can help others and live out God’s plans and will.
Trying To Find Tanner
After the last time I saw Tanner when I was in rehab and he was 3. I didn’t see Tanner again until he was almost 6. We had no idea where he was most of the time. Later found out they had moved from her parents’ house in Allen, TX to out near Abilene where Levi’s dad and stepmom, who also have multiple drug convictions live. They then moved him to Godley, TX all without letting me know or the courts. I went to Tanner’s school once and they had no idea who I was, as Carla was listed as mother on his school forms. And I found out he didn’t pass kindergarten. I have done everything required by me to see him, 6 months straight of hair follicles and UA’s. My ex-husband, Levi and his wife, Carla allowed me and my family to have visits with Tanner only in public places but it is a blessing for anytime at all. And Carla makes Tanner call me Angie and her mom. After I was no longer required to submit hair follicles, Levi and Carla decided to not allow me anymore visits because they personally felt they wanted me to always have to get hair follicles to see him so it has been another year since I have seen Tanner. I have not talked to Tanner since March of this year 2015. I call often between 6-8 pm like I am supposed to but I never get any communication back. I again don’t know where Tanner is living. I have more peace about the whole situation now more than ever. I do not let the chaos get the better of me, faith is believing in things yet unseen and I have huge faith in Tanner coming home. Because I believe in God showing me things when the time is right and he works in amazing ways.
Why I Am Sharing Now?
Need I mention that Friday, Aug 7th Tanner will be 7, and it is no coincidence that last week I was going to give my testimony but Naomi got very sick. And that now it works out for me to share during a hard week in mine and my family’s life and that this 7 is a holy number. What gives me even more peace and assurance though is the fact that we just moved and the neighborhood right up the road from us is called Tanners Mill and the entrance road to it is St. Peter. God is faithful. And I know there is a God because I know he has had his hand over me. I will never say I was a victim, I believe I am a survivor and that God has a great purpose for me because he put it in my heart a few years ago and the burning to help others only gets stronger as time goes on. I know God wants me to help others with similar struggles. I know I am to help set up programs, not sure where or how, but I know when time is right God will make it happen. God doesn’t want me to be ashamed and silent he wants me to speak out use my testimony to reach out and others from where I once was into where I am now. “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Be not afraid I go before you always come follow me and I will give you rest.
I Don’t Lose Faith
I have been through this whole rough time with having Naomi and fighting for Tanner, all my probation requirements, Naomi’s had some really sick moments. We had 2 of our family dogs pass away in the same year. Shane also went to jail and after a year and a half, but we thought he was going to get out and he got denied parole and he has to serve another 6 months to a year. Through it all my faith is strong and I still have not picked up to use so I know that I can and will make it with God first and my program and support. I have a little over 2 years clean and all glory is God’s because I never could do it on my own will. So I would like to say thank you to God for everything I do have and for what is in store for me.