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Plans To Prosper

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Plans To Prosper

My name is Linda and I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and I humbly struggle with many of life"s hurts, hang-ups and habits; alcohol and drugs being the main culprits.
I was born Linda Shea Miller here in Lexington to Mr. and Mrs. Gene Ray Miller on September 14, 1964. I was raised on a quiet, family oriented street on the East side with 3 older sisters and an older brother. My father worked hard as a truck driver for Hostess Cupcakes and eventually became a driver for LexTran, after he recovered from back surgery, and from where he would eventually retire. Anyway, when I was about 5 or 6, my father became ill due to a lot of back problems and eventually had to quit Hostess because of multiple surgeries. My mother LaVerne took on the role of sole provider then and was gone quite often due to working 3 jobs. I don"t have a lot of memories of my mother due to that fact. I know and believe I was loved, and was nurtured in the Roman Catholic faith. My mother was a devout Catholic and had almost become a nun before she met, fell in love with and married my dad. So was born the Miller clan. I believe that I had an addictive personality at even a very young age and even before I added alcohol or drugs to my dysfunctional behavior. I say this because I can remember stealing $20 out of my mother"s purse when I was about 7 and going down the street to this little mom and pop store where I proceeded to buy $20 worth of candy; not $1, not $5, not even $10 – I had to spend the whole $20 even having to ask, “how much do I have left now” as I keep throwing candy up on the counter. And for some of us here tonight, we know how much candy $20 bought 40 years ago, and for those of you who don"t, that"s A LOT of candy. (And a lot of cavities). So there was that, and not to mention the fact that I almost burnt our house down when I was about 6. (Startin to get the picture?)
So anyway, I don"t remember much more than that and barely have memories of my mother passing away at the age of 8. She was 39 and died of a cerebral hemorrhage or aneurism on May 17, 1973. It was sudden and unforeseen. Here today, gone tomorrow; and so was the world as I knew it. Not only did I lose my mother, but I lost my dad, my family and the God I was beginning to know, because we never went back to church again, the one thing my mother held sacred. It was God, children and husband; that was her life and in that order. I think my Dad stayed gone a lot because he couldn"t face us kids after she died. He couldn"t provide for us the things she did; love, comfort, support, strength, guidance… and God. He was good at providing a roof, food, paying the bills and loving my mother, and when she died, she took his will to really live and love away.
Life went on though, and shortly afterward he remarried on the intentions of planting a mother back in our lives and then killing himself; but for whatever reasons –thank God - he didn"t and he divorced her three weeks after they married. So he began staying out all night again, maybe not seeing him for 2-3 days at a time (why my sisters didn"t stick around to raise us is beyond me, but later on I heard they figured it would give Dad that many less mouths to feed; but they had all married off and left after his divorce from whom I will call “the suicide wife;).
So anyway, it"s now about a year and a half later and my sisters have all married and moved out. My brother was all but non-existent. He hung out with friends and didn"t want his baby sister hanging around. So there I was almost 10 years old and playing house, with a real house mine you, and all alone. I would play Elvis records, dance, sing, and fantasize about having someone watching me. I guess in a sense I created my own company, I didn"t want to be alone; I wanted to believe someone was noticing me. I started dressing older and tougher. I was doing okay in school still, because it brought me praise and validation that I mattered to someone, even if it was only my teachers. But I lived in my head mostly, and in my fantasies and distorted thoughts.
My Dad eventually started bringing another woman around and this one was 20 years younger then him, and only 5 years older than my oldest sister. But she seemed to be good for my Dad and put life back into his eyes. He was home more which in one sense made me happy, but in another, just more resentful. I had become accustomed to doing what I wanted and not being told what to do. Eventually my Dad and her got married and she became this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the beginning she kept her coldness and aloofness hidden from everyone except for me. She treated me with contempt and disdain half the time and indifference the rest. I became fearful of her when all I wanted was for her to love me. She accused me continually for her and my Dad"s arguments, so much that my Dad considered putting me in a group home, and almost did. Things became worse for me as time passed and my only release was to write my feelings and thoughts in a diary, none of which were pleasant because they were all about her. Then one day she found it, read it, confronted me with it in front of her friend, then showed it to my father and I ended up receiving the whipping of my life. This is where I learned even more how to feel with my head and not my heart. For what self-healing I was trying to salvage from the death of my mother was all but lost. Many other incidents of ridicule, shame, brow beating and harassment from my step mother were to be endured but I had learned by the time of their first divorce how to live quite well in my head and keep my feelings nicely locked away. After all, I had a heart that to me was only betraying me, breaking me, and hurting me. But how was I to survive much more without an escape, because even my head became too crowded and I refused to write anymore. So I began experimenting with liquor around the age of 13. Boy did that do the trick. My new best friend. When I drank I felt not so alone and it allowed me to be more social. So in the span of a couple three years or a little more, I went from junior high making A"s and B"s to high school making D"s and F"s, and this was around the time my Dad and stepmother remarried. (And she thought I had been trying to break her and my father up last time? well, she hadn"t seen nothing yet because that is exactly what happened.) Once again I don"t have a lot of memory around this time but apparently she was getting in the way of my newfound friend, and the alcohol gave me a new sense of worth and a lot of false courage. After the divorce my Dad returned to his old routine of staying gone and I found a new one. I started running the streets and learned quickly how to steal, lie and cheat to get what I needed. My Dad, on the nights he decided to come home, would sometimes find my brother and I in the garage playing ; with our friends, all the while scurrying to hide our liquor bottles and pot when we would hear him pulling up, but mostly he wouldn"t find us at home at all; which would get ME grounded. (There was one year I was grounded 9 months out of the year and even had my bedroom window nailed shut and was threatened with a padlock on the door, with good reason now that I reflect back.) For a few months before I was to turn 17 I ended up losing the rest of my childhood innocence to a 39 year old man whom I thought was Heaven sent, though back then I apparently had a bad sense of direction. By this time my drinking and pot smoking became very regular and my attendance in school very irregular. I had been picked up for shoplifting and was made to sit in juvie overnight since I hadn"t learned my lesson from a few months earlier being made by my father to return some merchandise to another store that I was later banned from. I guess Dad thought my sitting jail for a little while would do the trick; little did either of us know it was just the beginning of many, many, many arrests and jail stays. Around this time as well I was introduced into my next dysfunctional relationship. I ran away with him to a small town in Eastern KY called Hyden. It was there I was to get my first taste of many domest violence situations. I called my Dad to come rescue me after one very particularly bad one and told him I was in Hyden and of course he proceeded to ask me who I was from. Turns out though, he told me, “Ya got yourself there, so get yourself back, which I did. Little did I know though, that while I had been gone, my Dad had had to sell the house that I had grown up in since birth. I had no idea where I was to go. My sisters had their own lives, my brother had his girlfriend and her family, and no one wanted a liar, thief and all out wild child living with them. So my Dad ended up renting me a hotel room at the Days Inn here on Versailles Rd. for two weeks, then handed me $100, said he loved me and told me to take care of myself and to be careful. I was anything but hellip;
This led me to a darker side of life that I had never even heard of much less seen. I was to become a stripper at the age of 17, dancing and hustling for the next 13 years for a living, when in reality for; because it took everything that I thought made me human away from me. It was here I thought I was having all my needs met, alcohol, drugs, friends, money, clothes, shelter … love, even if it was the wrong kind. I was introduced to and witnessed many horrible and humbling things while living this lifestyle; I became a devoted IV drug user, prostituting myself to support my addiction, and an expert at thievery and lying to myself. Over the next 13 years, I was to travel to many states, work in many strip clubs, go to jail many, many times, seek help through many treatment centers, halfway houses, detoxes, programs and churches. I was to marry, divorce, birth 3 children, marry again, become a widow; then lose and give up those three children, attempt suicide more than half a dozen times; was abused mentally, physically, and emotionally by more men than I care to count, and all the while spiraling further down to where I knew my life was nothing but sin and sorrow, and Satan it seemed was my only bed fellow. I felt nothing and didn"t even know nor question how I kept breathing in and out.
After I had given my third child up for adoption when he was born in September of "94, I was living in North Carolina. Shortly after, I met a man (imagine that) whom I thought could make everything better, give me back all I had lost and even things I never had. So I gave up my place and moved into his house on the mountain. I thought I had finally found love and had even become domesticated like any other wild animal you would bring in from off the streets. I had given all of my bad habits up except for drinking of course. Needless to say, it was a dysfunctional relationship, but nevertheless it seemed normal compared to what I had come from. In February of 1996 we had Phillip Preston Lietch the II, Phils first child, my fourth. Then again in January 1998 we had another a child, our daughter Lindsey Ellen. I was 33 and decided it was time to have my tubes tied (bout time huh?). Throughout Phil and I"s 12 years together we lived apart many times due to his infidelities, though I was not without my revenge. I finally realized this sick, dysfunctional relationship was probably destroying any chance for our children to grow up and lead healthy, functional relationships themselves. This is when I decided to earnestly try to give my life to God and ask Him for his help again. So I publicly rededicated my life by Baptism, again (I"ve been dunked more times than a donut), but I had never felt so proud or so much like a shining star in the eyes of my children. So Phil and I ended up getting back together and renting a new beautiful 4-bedroom home on 2 acres, and things couldn"t have been more perfect. Things were good!
But that was short lived because Satan was waiting. And I don"t even know when I let him in or by which window or door he came by, but he blew in like a raging storm. Cocaine was back in my life full force; smoking it, shooting it, snorting it, cooking it help; locking myself away for days on end, or just staying gone; treating my children like my dad had treated me. Things were out of control! Phil and I were fighting more than ever, mainly about my whereabouts and my non-parenting skills. I decided to move out and let Phil keep the children. I was being beaten yet again by Satan and feeling every blow and wanted to spare my children if I could. But they were not to be spared. Because just a short while after I left them asleep with there father in the early the morning hours, I got a phone call that I knew would forever change their little lives. I was told by a Jackson County Detective I needed to come and get my 8 year old little girl, because, ya see she had woken up next to her Daddy later that morning; not knowing anything was wrong, getting up to play with her dolls until she became hungry and tried to wake him up to fix her some breakfast. But she couldn"t wake him up no matter how loud she yelled or how hard she shook him; scared and in tears she ran down the long driveway and got help. But it was too late; he had already been gone a few hours, passing shortly after putting our 10 year old son on the bus to school that morning. He had somehow managed to O D on my prescription pain pills that I had sold him those early morning hours before I had left. This happened on March 6th, 2006, and by June of that same year I had also managed to lose my children to the state, then I lost my freedom and went to prison in the following June of 2007, and on September 5, 2008 was allowed a final "good-bye" visit with my now 10 and 12 year old son and daughter, which was to be the last time I saw or spoke to them. And from that time until June of 2012, I punished myself in every way possible, short of blowing my brains out, for losing the only two children I had left and for not being able to save them or myself. Not long afterward I was placed in a psych ward for attempted suicide, then arrested for a DUI in Tennessee, then for one in North Carolina, then a possessions charge in Georgia, and a couple other charges, and that was all just in 2009. Nearing the end of "09, I had bought a ticket home because my Dad was sick and everyone knew it would be his last Christmas. But on December 23, 2009, the day I was going to leave Georgia, I was arrested for possession. My Dad bailed me out on his credit card but the bondsman would not let me leave so seeing my Dad before he died was not in the cards. He passed away on January 13, 2010 while I was busy getting high 500 miles away, medicating my guilt over missing Christmas. After I told the bondsman my Dad had died he let me leave and I managed to make it home for the funeral on January 15th. I was met with anger and disgust dripping from the eyes of my siblings, which I couldn"t have blamed them for. I decided to try and straighten out my life again by going back to college, for the 5th time, though I always managed to self-sabotage after a semester or two, letting my addictions, co-dependent tendency"s and low self-worth defeat me. And this time wasn"t any different. After my 1st semester in Forensic Psychology (I dont know), I ended up smoking up my school loan, stealing $3,000 from my on again/off again abusive boyfriend, and catching a bus back to Georgia. (Oh yeah, I moved him back in with me after starting school. That"s that self-sabotage I mentioned.) Smoked that up in less than three days after getting back to Georgia and was off and running once again for a few months. My last use of cocaine was September 12, 2011 when I caught a bus from Georgia to Tennessee to move back in with my abusive boyfriend. And he welcomed me with open arms and an open beer. I thought I would be okay just sticking to alcohol. So for the next 8 and a half months I withdrew from everything and everyone I knew. My only joy came from my laptop and my alcohol. On May 26, 2012 my on again/off again companion broke my hand in one of our arguments over how I never came out of my room. I never went to the hospital and ended up falling in an even deeper depression. I, my friends, was as spiritually bankrupt as one person could be without being six feet under. I was lost, tired, hopeless and without wants, hopes or dreams of ever being or having anything better in my life. I began fantasizing and planning ways that I would die, and that if I did, who would be there or even care. I thought about my children I had given up and lost, husbands I had lost, crimes I had committed, family I had hurt, but mostly how I felt about myself and life as a whole; and that"s exactly what it was ; a hole; a big, deep, black ; I wanted to die though inside I already felt dead. I was a walking, talking, breathing corpse, and had been told as much. I pleaded and prayed with God again and again to please let me feel something, anything; and He did; the desire to live. Life"s basic instinct…and one I knew well; survival. I called the bus station in secret and made my reservation. I was leaving, and I knew I was leaving for good this time. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got here, but I was being driven by something greater than I… and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was God. He was doing for me what I COULD NOT and WOULD NOT do for myself! I got home and went into the Salvation Army a few days later on June 8, 2012, though just slightly drunk. So I woke up the next morning on the floor of that lobby and grateful for it, with a new attitude and renewed hope: Jeremiah 29:11, ;For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope; So I began making a change with the help of God, whom I knew I had finally surrendered to. I never had had a problem being able to admit that my life was unmanageable, I mean hey; that was just my life, an unmanageable mess, but surrending?, that I knew I had never completely done, until now.
So I started finding numbers and making what phone calls I could that Saturday morning to everyone and anyone I thought could help my situation; housing, NA/AA meetings, treatment centers, getting Dr"s appointments, and who I couldn"t reach I made it my priority to retry first thing Monday morning. I went to the ER though to start treatment on healing my hand and then went to work on healing my hurts. So I joined a few other women from the Salvation Army on a van ride the following weekend to Sunday morning services here at Hope Springs. I felt like I had really come home that Sunday morning on June 17, 2012. I had been through these doors one other time back in June or July of 2010, the summer following the death of my father. Unfortunately, I was with my abuser and we were just looking for a hot meal; though I was secretly hoping to hear some good news or find a miracle, but neither happened, nor did I manage to taste the food that I ate, or hear anything being said. But on my return visit when I came back through those doors, I found my miracle and my good news. I started attending CR right away and going to the women"s share groups, all of them.
I started talking to God more, trying hard to be still so I could hear when and if God spoke to me. I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing and doing it to the best of my ability and understanding. And my situation started to improve quickly. Just after two weeks, I got accepted into Ruth"s House, a faith-based transitional house for women and was able to leave the Salvation Army. I continued my Sunday worships, attended Friday night Celebrate Recovery, and even joined a Wednesday night Step Study for women through CR. I was staying clean and sober one day at a time. My thoughts and actions began to be clearer and with purpose, though there were many days when I struggled, but not so much with wanting to drink or use but with self-will: Nehemiah 9:17,They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them; I felt myself being drawn back to the insanity in my head: Jeremiah 7:24, they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and forward.
This is when I decided to REALLY (with Full Knowledge of what it meant this time) to turn my life and my will over to God and rededicate my life, loyalty and faith to the One and Only Higher Power – Jesus Christ. And now upon awakening (and thats exactly what it has been), I thank God for allowing me another day to grow, and ask Him to show me His will for me and the strength and wisdom to carry it out.

I know as long as I continue to go to my AA/NA support groups where I learn to live through working and living the 12 steps daily and continue to do the next right thing (which my HP teaches me), I will make it another 24 hours clean and sober, one day at a time.

On February 5th, 2013, I will celebrate 8 months of sobriety. Today I know I am worthy of God"s love. Today I feel God"s love when I don"t get in the way. Today I am grateful. Today I want to be a light that shines God"s Glory. Today I have hope as in Corinthians 13:13 says,; And now these three things remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.; And I love each and every one of you and pray I have touched just one of you that may read this, but not by my testimony but by God"s living testimony. For in Mark 5:19 Jesus says, Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you; And he has my friends, he has, as well as sent me home. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me, and may God bless all of you today and everyday.


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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Comments

1. Anonymous
How are you currently doing?
2. LindaM
Thank you for your comments. I got my 1 year token on June 8th, 2013. By the Grace of God.
3. Claire Kelly
I am so grateful for your continued recovery and understand the faith and love that continues to guide you and keep you strong. God bless and congratulations on 8 months of clean living and clearer thinking.
4. Linda Cheek MD
Having Christ in your life is the first step. But something else is important medically. Something most people don't know about. Toxicity. A toxic lifestyle, started with sugar, puts a person in a luetic miasm (homeopathy lingo) where addiction is prevalent. To make fighting the addiction easier, it would help to cleanse the toxicity and get out of the luetic miasm. Find a homeopathic physician to help you. And stay away from sugar as well.