My name is Tina, and I would like to share my story of some things that happened in my life to bring me where I am today…
It was a hot summer day and it also was my 8th birthday. I was in my new red shorts and a top to match. I was playing all day with my brothers and sister. We had cake and ice cream, and I was happy until it was time to go to bed. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom when my uncle came in and sexually abused me. When my mother walked through the front door she screamed at him and then picked me up from the floor, asking me what happened. The next day I got up and went into the bathroom; there was blood everywhere. When I asked mom what happened, she said don’t worry, and then two policemen came in the house. They asked me if I would forgive my uncle for what he did to me and I said “no.” That memory was one of the horrors of my childhood life in 1964.
On January 1, 1971, I went to Otter Lake, Michigan, to live with my dad’s brother and his wife and their two boys. It was New Year’s. I was supposed to watch the boys while my aunt and uncle worked. I fell asleep and was awakened by my uncle rubbing me. On this night I was raped again. When my aunt got up I told her that I wanted to go home because I was homesick. Later that day my dad came and got me.
This, however, was not the end of my childhood hell; I was raped again when I was sixteen. I started to withdraw from everyone; I hated myself and everyone around me. As I got older, my life continued its screwed up journey. My three husbands physically and emotionally abused me. I became a mess after I had three daughters; I raised them myself doing the best that I could. They were taken from me two times by the State of Michigan. I became angry with life, and I hated myself more and more. I began to drink because I didn’t care anymore and no one gave a crap about me.
I tried to get help, but it wasn’t the right help. I lost jobs, went through two divorces, and buried my third husband after he died of a massive heart attack. My life was going nowhere, I tried a few times to commit suicide, but obviously never succeeded in that either. I became an angry woman; I was kicked out of several homes and had nothing of my own.
Things finally started to turn around for me in July 2006. I ended up moving to Cadillac with my daughter’s father-in-law. I met him at my daughter’s home on Christmas and again on the day of my youngest daughter’s wedding in June, and I fell for him. He is the kindest and sweetest hearted person that I have ever met. For the first time I felt like someone actually cared about me and wanted me and he’s treated me with respect as a human and no one has ever been that way toward me and I couldn’t ask for a better man. Clay is a great man and he is well loved by me. He introduced me to a place called Club Cadillac, where I soon found my niche and became a member. They taught me a lot, and helped me to get the help that I need. Now I have people who care for my recovery. I thank them all including the members and staff at Club Cadillac. They have been great with me in my horrible moments.
I’m taking my medications, and for the first time I have great plans for my future. Recovery is now something that is very real to me, and with my new start in life I can work to become the best Tina that I could ever dream to be.