October 17, 2011

BOSTB: Untold Stories

This week the prompt for Mrs. T's  Blog Outside the Box is to talk about "Untold Stories" where you write about something personal, something about your life, your testimonial, etc. This one has been a pretty challenging post to write, as it is about a difficult time in my life that wasn't that long ago. It is also kind of long. I am also linking up with Jami from Call Me Blessed below for tomorrow's "Encourage Tuesday".

Before working at Dell, I had been in the restaurant industry for years. By 18 years old working at a local Sports Bar/Entertainment Center, I was already a shift leader, a certified trainer, and had 2 raises. I was adored by every manager, and was known for always being extremely bubbly, fun to work with, and hard working. Also started dating this cute guy....

Living on my own with friends, I grew into a lifestyle that I wasn't proud of. At the time though, I loved it. I've always been semi insecure with my weight (I literally fluxuate sizes every year...) and was always trying to find ways to slim down. I'm pretty sure everyone struggles with this issue in some way. 

Working 13 hour shifts definitely helped in the slimming, after high school I gradually got skinnier. Mostly everyone in the restaurant industry was older than me and was into drinking, cigs, and even some drug use. It wasn't until I was about 19 I started getting into the fake id thing, going out with them, and participating in all of these events. I was totally enjoying having fun, partying, staying up all night, and it got worse. I started losing more weight - and that made me want this lifestyle more.

at the flea market with my little sister and dad
 I didn't care what else was going on in my life, I wasn't depressed, I wasn't careful, and I didn't realize that what I was doing hurt others, like my parents. I still feel so guilty to this day for getting wrapped up in these habits because these just happened to be the last few years of my dad's life. What did he think of me? I'll tell you what he thought of me:
No matter what, I could roll up to his apartment at 6am after a full night of partying and he would not even ask any questions, he would set up the bed for me to sleep in and tuck me in, and he offered me food - he did realize that I was losing weight but never asked questions. He barely made $12.50 an hour at his job, but always offered his credit card to me (when I made more money at my job but would spend it on drugs or alcohol at 19 years old). He was gracious and never once judged me. He was always so proud of me and loved me so much. This today brings me to tears as I feel so guilty for making bad decisions and hurting myself. 

At the time, I was dating Scott and we had both been in this situation. I was a person I didn't like and did not respect. I soon started to feel like every turn I was making was wrong. I couldn't control what I was doing like other people I worked with or friends that did it. The downward spiral began. It wasn't soon after that I chose to quit my job the next summer because of some silly reason. Now I couldn't pay my bills, my mom and family were super worried about me, and I started getting into arguments with my roommate who is my best friend. I was unreliable, and I wasn't the good christian girl friend that I should have been to Scott. Scott and I had a terrible beginning to a relationship. That is one thing that brings us so much closer today.

It makes me sick to my stomach now to see how thin I was two years ago. I had a terrible eating disorder on top of things, I thought I was at my perfect weight: 114lbs at a 5'5" height is not pretty. I modeled, I was excited I could wear a size 1 and 3 so much that I would skip meals all the time. I didn't think it was crazy that my 9 year old little brother at the time could practically carry me. I wasn't myself.

Eventually when I hit rock bottom, no job, no college hours at 19 years old, in love with someone but i can't even take care of myself so why take care of our relationship, looked down upon by my siblings who worried and worried about me - something had to change. I started ruling out everything. I stopped seeing my friends, I broke up with Scott. These were the worst 4 months of my life. It seems like a small amount of time - but the lifestyle itself was between 18-20 years old pretty much. I realized I was so unhappy and still insecure but now because everyone made comments about me being so skinny!

I left town. I called my friends from Dallas that I had been best friends with since middle school, and I drove up there one night at 4am and stayed with them. We had so much fun, they never said anything about me or what I had done - I don't think they even knew (but they did realize my weight loss was dramatic). We drank, ate a lot, and enjoyed each other's company so much.

I don't know what it was about that weekend away, but I never touched a drug since then. I realized they loved me for me, didn't matter how big or small I was, or what I had done in the past, but for me. I came back to town with a fresh mind, and started trying to find a job. I started praying again. I realized I had forgotten about my God and my faith. I feel that weekend God had brought me to the foundation of who I am and that is with my friends I grew up with in small groups and church. I remembered who I was now.

I got a job working downtown at a high scale bar. I kept to myself for a while as I had ruined a lot of close friendships I had at the time. I ran into Scott a few weeks later. He was still struggling to find a job after he had some troubles as well. This is about a month after breaking up. We were both ready to get life back together. We really built a foundation of friendship at this time as we were working to better ourselves. I started listening to sermons from Shoreline Church in Austin and grew a better relationship with God. I would come over to hang out with him at his apartment he shared with his roommate. Their fridge was always empty and he was struggling to handle bills with being unemployed.

I have that instinct where I'd rather help everyone else before I help myself, so here I am barely making it but I would spend my last penny to make sure they had groceries, and we'd spend many nights just playing cards and watching family guy or seinfield at his house. I helped him make a resume and we sent it to so many places, and he had a job within two weeks. I also started working to mend my relationships with the friends I had hurt.

I feel like as a couple we have grown up together so much, and learned from many mistakes. I am still ashamed today of the time I had wasted in my life making mistakes, but I am glad I learned early on and know now how badly getting into drinking early or doing drugs can have such a negative effect and impact on yours AND others lives. I wish I had that time back with my dad. I am truly grateful though that I had already turned my life around, and was working at Dell full time before he had ever left town.

I am still paying for today what I had done in the past. I got in trouble with the law, I didn't pay off credit cards so I'm fixing my credit, just knowing how I hurt all the people that meant so much to me, and my metabolism is so so hard to get back in line.

I feel like I am telling this story because one- I've never really told anyone the whole thing before, and two - because I have grown so close with many of you and reading blogs every day has truly helped me shape who I am as a person, and is so motivating. I am so encouraged by the Lord, and see him working many miracles through me as I read your testimonials on your own posts.

I hope my post in some way helps someone who struggles with any battles with addictions or just a past experience that has haunted them. Mine is definitely one I am not proud of, but I am so proud and grateful of how fast I learned and how quickly I realized how much I care about my family/friends and how much they care about me. I've grown so close to Scott over the years and also my siblings/mom.

If anything, I feel like this is an experience I can share or know later on the road if one of my children ever comes to have a problem with peer pressure or drug abuse. Has anyone else ever had a problem with this?

Thank you for reading this super long story.
I was really nervous about posting it. 


Ashley @ LaLuce said...

we having even more in common than we originally thought... love you!

Mallorie Owens said...

Way to be so brave and share your past. I love getting to know you better and I know that you will help others that read this! Thank you so much for sharing :)

Ruthie Hart said...

Amanda I adore you!! This is huge to open up about and I can see why you had some drawbacks about writing. But...you did it beautifully! Sometimes writing stuff down is so comforting and relieving, like a heavy weight off of your shoulders. I love that you will admit to being at rock bottom and that you have restored your faith in God (maybe people deny God at such hard times but you sought Him, and He listened). I am so glad you have found your voice in blogland, the love and support is unbelievable! You are so strong, thank you for sharing your story!!! xoxo and always praying for you.

Jen said...

thanks for sharing your story :) you're very brave, and it's amazing that you were able to turn yourself around so quickly. My mom is an addict and it took years and years and years. Don't feel bad about it, it truly is bigger than us. <3 xoxoxo

Kassie said...

Thanks for sharing this. I can relate some. I definitely was a person who did wrong things..things that got me nowhere. I tried some drugs. I drank. I cut myself. I got into bad relationships. I hurt not only myself, but lots of people! I still pay for it too... its hard, but God brought me through it! Even though those things were hard for me, I know that there is a reason fo it and so I find myself thankful (most of the time)!

Courtney said...

Courageous post!! A great testimony and I too, am happy to have gotten to know you better through this.

Ashley said...

I just found your blog today in the link up and am so glad that I did! While I didn't go through the same things that you did, I can still somewhat relate. I, too , went through a bad phase in my life. Thanks for being so brave and sharing it!


Megan said...

This is such a brave and beautiful post!!! So proud of you for writing this and getting things together! We all make mistakes, but it is about realizing that they are mistakes and moving on!!

Kristy said...

This is SUCH a beautiful post!!! We ALL have things in our life that we are not proud of, but I have learned to think of it as a part of our journey. We wouldn't be who and where we are today if we didn't go through the things that we've gone through!!! I have been going through the same struggle about just how much of "me" and "my story" to put out there, on my blog. This post just proves that sharing these parts of "ourselves" helps bring us together and strengthen our bonds!!! Thank you SO much for sharing your story!!! XOXO

Courtney B said...

Wow! Thank you SO much for being so open about your past. This post will truly change lives, Amanda!
I can't imagine how difficult life was for you during this time but sometimes we have to learn the hard way. And this will help you relate with people so much more. Thank you for being so brave and posting this!
Oh and it sounds like you have a great family, especially your sweet dad :)

Jami said...

So brave of you to open up like this. You never know who you may help with this. Most of us have things in our past that were difficult. I have learned through God's grace to let go of the guilt. He knows me inside and out and loves me anyway. How wonderful! Thanks for linking up.