In this article, WU World Changer Nancy Cardinal bravely shares her personal testimony of substance abuse and how she found strength through adversity.
I remember my Mother leaving me when I was very young. She left me with my Father, a very abusive man. He would beat me with a belt buckle till he heard no more cries. I would lie in my room for days. Cut, bruised everywhere, learning to hate myself and life.
Trying to get rid of the pain, hate of myself and life, became a daily thing. I remember the first time I tried cocaine, it was the answer to everything. After I did it, I felt the pain leave, and I felt beautiful.
It became a crutch. I wouldn’t get out of bed without some. I moved onto crack and started my slide into hell.
There were years I remained free of it, but when I wasn’t diligent, crack grabbed me by the neck again. It’s grip tighter and tighter, the slide downhill became faster.
I found myself alone for days doing cocaine. I sat in a room by myself, paranoid from the drug. I taped the door and windows closed and listened for the police I thought were climbing the building. The paranoia, the fear, psychosis, occurred every time I did crack, but I found I could not stop.
I was slipping away, dying, but I could not stop. I ended up homeless, at times sleeping under a bridge. I even lived in a crack house for awhile. One night I even thought I was going to die, my heart kept stopping. Hope became a word only for others to enjoy.
Because of the love I was shown by my family and a very special man, I began to see a reason to change. At first, I stopped for them. As I became stronger I acquired the strength to stop for myself. I began to find my power.
Through adversity, I began to see my strength.
I rewrote my past, no longer the victim, but the emerging warrior. My past has changed the way I view the world, but it has also given me power. My name is Dreaming Butterfly Woman and now I know why. I have emerged from the flames and morphed into a beautiful butterfly that has turned a dream into reality. I now know that no matter what your past is and what you have gone through, you can overcome it. You can rewrite who you are. You are not the label people put on you, you are more than that.
From the first day that I had become aware of my power, I have never looked back. I am a warrior woman. I am an empowered woman. I am a fighter.
I now am an active participant in my destiny. To empower others is now my goal in life. I hold out my hand to others, to give hope. When I help others to begin healing, I am also healing myself. My day is complete when I see a smile on another, or a spark in someone’s eye that wasn’t there before.
During my awakening I realized I needed to share my story; to let people know that no matter what you have been through, you can overcome it.
Rewrite yourself, rewrite your story.
I did it. It can be done.
Your possibilities are endless…
– Nancy Cardinal (Samaria)