By Debra Minneman
I used to smoke pot. Now I am a pot – used by the Master Potter. I am the clay in His hands.
O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
This scripture is appropriate for me and my life today. I am going to tell you a little bit of what brought me here and how I am so favored by God. Because truly – All Glory to God!
THIS IS MY TESTIMONY OF FINISHING WELL
I grew up in a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale. My family moved there from Long Island, NY when I was nine. We were a middle class Jewish family. My parents were quite successful in the Pizza business. They weren’t home very much. I have a younger brother and sister and I had very loving grandparents that I adored. We had a housekeeper; she was at my house every day when I got home from school.
Even though I was a privileged child, I had very low self-esteem and I was lonely. I always had a void in my life. I was privileged materially, but I was deprived spiritually and very confused. I never learned about God and I never opened a Bible. My parents acknowledged the Jewish holiday and we would have Seder once a year. But God was only mentioned in the Seder in Hebrew. It was just a ritual for show. My family lived underneath the Jewish law.
My mother was an alcoholic. She started to come home early in the evenings from work, this is when I was fifteen, and started drinking and doing drugs. My mom would drink Southern Comfort or wine out of little Dixie cups that were hidden all over the house. And when she drank, she did one of two things, she would cry or get mad at me. So on the nights she came home early I went out and got high to escape the pain.
After finishing high school, I left home. I got pregnant at twenty, married the baby’s daddy and had another baby two and a half years later. At this time my husband and I did a lot of cocaine. And I actively used during both of my pregnancies. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that both of my children are healthy today. Needless to say how stressful it is to have two babies at the age of twenty-two, and a mom who was too drunk to help.
Her and my dad divorced and she remarried an alcoholic. At this time, I was a heavy cocaine user. One day while my kids were at daycare, I bought a six-pack of beer, went to a nearby drug facility, sat in the parking lot and drank my beer, then decided to check in for treatment. I stayed in the facility for 90 days while my husband took care of my three year old boy and my one year old baby girl.
We both managed to stay clean for about one year. We stayed married for ten years, but that void was never filled. Our lives and marriage was nothing but infidelity, dysfunction, and chaos. And I went back to another addiction – this time alcohol. We tried the geographic change and moved to Georgia, which ended in divorce after two years. I ended up losing my kids. My ex-husband packed up and moved them back to Florida and I didn’t see them for five years.
My second marriage was done on the rebound. It was more dysfunctional and chaotic than the first marriage. I not only stayed drunk for the next nine years of that marriage, but was also dealing with major anxiety. So I went to the doctor and one wasn’t enough. So I doctor shopped and went to three different doctors, and they all prescribed me Xanax and Ambien. Even that wasn’t enough so I also ordered Xanax online from Taiwan. I took approximately 250 pills a month, and continued to drink!
My marriage became violent and I was constantly in a blackout state and I overdosed twice. As a result, in self-defense against my husband, I had been charged with four violent felonies. I ended up in jail and court ordered treatment by the judge. I was facing fifteen years. I wound up spending time in a Georgia Department of Correction facility for six months and received five years probation and felony charges.
What was it going to take to fill that void that was still there? So – I tried again. I met husband number three and thought that he was what I’d been looking for. I just knew it was. David was a 100% disabled Naval Commander. He was in a wheelchair from a spinal cord injury. When I met him at my court ordered treatment, he was recovering from heroin addiction and had a lot of income. I thought that this relationship was perfect!!! We married when I got out of prison; we had been together for a year and a half. He bought me a new car and he had just been accepted for a $50,000 grant from the VA.
We were building a house when we were involved in a car accident. Both of us had been clean and sober for that year and a half. David was seriously hurt and ended up in ICU with internal bleeding. A pain doctor sent him home with a prescription for pain pills – eighty pills of methadone. He wouldn’t let me dispense them, as a matter of fact, I didn’t even know he had them at that time. We were married for two and a half weeks when this happened. One week later, I woke up one morning and David was dead in the bed. He had overdosed and died during the night on sixty of the eighty pills that he took in that week. I had his funeral on the day we were to go on our honeymoon. Gripped with fear and terror, I was numb – realizing that I had been left alone again…
BIO: Debra Minneman currently lives in Cave Spring and is a 2018 Summa cum laude graduate from Shorter University, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services and Criminal Justice. Debra is a person in long term recovery from a life of drug use and homelessness since April 7, 2012. At that point, she made a decision to dedicate her life to helping others live a productive life of recovery. Ms. Minneman became a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist (C.A.R.E.S.), by the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse in February 2017.
Debra is now a practicing substance abuse counselor. Helping people is Ms. Minneman’s passion, and is using her past lived experience, and current education to inspire hope, love and healing to others who find themselves hopeless. Her vision is to complete the graduate program she attends at Grand Canyon University with a concentration in substance abuse counseling and focus on her new organization entitled SAS – Sober Assisted Services.