Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Asheley Woodruff
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR000101B
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues
00:03 related to addictive behavior.
00:04 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:06 may be too candid for younger children.
00:14 Welcome back.
00:16 Um, so you know, we were talking about before the break about,
00:18 you know, these kids growing up in these really crazy homes.
00:22 And when we become adults
00:24 we have all of this behavior that we just don't understand.
00:27 They desperate need to be normal,
00:29 not knowing how to be kind of in social settings
00:32 and we look fabulous, but we just don't know anything.
00:35 You know, what I-- And so it's really a kind of a crazy thing
00:38 because either we're going to go into recovery and heal
00:42 and literally look at all those issues
00:45 or we're going to just learn
00:47 how to mask it and walk through life.
00:49 And always being somewhat disconnected from ourselves
00:52 and using our addictions to give us comfort.
00:55 And so, you know, I want to say, Asheley, welcome to the program.
00:59 And I know that you understand a lot of what I just said.
01:04 Not only do you work with folks like that,
01:05 but you've been through it.
01:07 So tell us a little bit about yourself and--
01:11 and I'd like to hear everything from child,
01:13 I guess, I like all the stuff.
01:15 Okay, all right.
01:16 Well, I was born in Georgia,
01:19 which is a good old conservative state and,
01:22 but to a single mom who got pregnant out of wedlock
01:25 and she was kind of run out of the church for that.
01:31 And so she didn't--
01:32 'Cause at one time that was a big deal.
01:34 Yeah, it was a big deal at that time.
01:36 And, you know, she came from a very respectable family that,
01:39 you know, had a reputation
01:41 and here she was kind of breaking the social norm.
01:44 And my grandparents, God bless them.
01:47 They said, "You know, we don't care,
01:49 you know, we want to take care of you."
01:51 And so they took care of her while she was pregnant.
01:54 And my father, my biological father
01:58 kind of had the attitude of, "Well, I don't want any kids,
02:01 I've never had kids,
02:03 and I don't intend to be a dad now."
02:04 So you're on your own type of thing.
02:06 So he just left. He just left.
02:07 And so what I love about your grand--your grandparents
02:10 just because even for the church it's like,
02:12 nobody knew what to do with that, so they usually just said,
02:14 "You know, we're not gonna deal with that."
02:16 And even nowadays, we are a little bit more loving
02:20 'cause nobody wants a teen who are pregnant.
02:22 I mean, you know, 'cause all of the problems that come with that
02:24 and that's a harder life.
02:27 But I think the church right now is more accepting.
02:29 And so at that point, where your grandparents had
02:32 and God bless them as that you're still my daughter
02:35 and I love you, and we'll take care of you.
02:37 Yeah, and my grandmother says she got over the,
02:40 you know, the fear of like,
02:42 "Oh, you know, what's gonna happen with this kid?
02:44 What kind of life is this baby gonna have?
02:46 And start praying going, God let this child be healthy.
02:49 You know, she got passed and said,
02:50 "No, I've got to pray that this kid comes out healthy."
02:52 'Cause she's already got everything stacked against her.
02:55 So I was born, and my mom lived with my grandparents
03:00 and started turning her life around and it had been kind of,
03:03 I would say kind of wishy-washy.
03:05 She didn't really know what she was doing with her life.
03:08 And she decided she was gonna be a nurse
03:09 and applied to nursing school
03:11 and got into nursing school out in California.
03:13 Soon I was 18 months she moved out to California
03:16 and moved in with my great-grandmother,
03:18 so now grandmother's mother.
03:20 And so she started attending nursing school
03:22 and I would live with my great-grandmother
03:24 who would take care of me during the day.
03:26 And then she had this Chinese chest,
03:28 it's like, antique Chinese chest,
03:29 it's over a hundred years old
03:31 and I'd stand on it to look out the window
03:33 to see my mother coming up the road from school.
03:36 And just wait for her. And just wait for her.
03:37 And that was what I remember is
03:39 I don't have any idea what we did the rest of the day,
03:41 but I remember getting up on that chest,
03:42 look out the window and there were some construction going by,
03:46 so I'd count the cement trucks, kind of,
03:48 you know, I couldn't count, but I would count the cement trucks
03:50 and I knew that at a certain point in the day
03:52 my mom was gonna come home and I see her coming up the hill.
03:55 And so my early childhood was a lot of that,
04:00 just waiting for my mom to come home 'cause she was in school
04:03 and eventually my mother's parents
04:05 moved out to California also and we moved back in with them.
04:09 And so the first I would say, six years of my life
04:13 it was a lot of moving in with my grandparents
04:15 and then moving out of my grandparent's place
04:17 'cause my mom would want to try to see
04:19 if she could make it on her own for a while
04:20 and then it would just be too much
04:22 and so she moved back in with my grandparents.
04:25 So even though you were surrounded by people
04:27 that loved you, it still was that--still wasn't very stable
04:31 and it's like I don't know where I'm gonna be tonight
04:33 or where we're gonna live or what's gonna happen.
04:35 It was really weird for me
04:38 because it was like I knew I had this loving family,
04:41 but there was always somebody gone.
04:43 And if I was living with my mom by myself,
04:45 I was over out at a babysitters.
04:47 So as I never had my mother to myself
04:50 and it was like there is always
04:51 this part of me that was missing.
04:53 So when we moved back in with my grandparents again
04:57 it was just kind of just for a sense of relief
04:59 because, okay, now everything is stable
05:01 and it's gonna be, you know, this way.
05:02 And my grandmother is there
05:04 and then my mother comes home from nursing
05:06 and so we're all good.
05:08 And then-- I can trust this maybe.
05:09 Yeah, this is gonna-- this is gonna work.
05:11 And I started attending school
05:14 and I didn't realize that the stigma of being like
05:18 the fatherless child still is attached to me.
05:22 And so I would go to school
05:24 and the teachers would kind of treat me different,
05:28 but I didn't really know why.
05:29 And I didn't know what was different about me,
05:33 so I just kind of shrink in.
05:35 I became really shy.
05:36 And I can remember I was in class one day
05:39 and the teacher shuffled the tables around
05:41 and I was the one who had the odd table out
05:44 and she said, "Well, just go put your table
05:46 with whatever group of tables you want."
05:48 So I started to move my desk
05:50 and one of the girls piped up and said,
05:51 "Ashley, I will be your best friend,
05:52 if you promise not to sit with us." Oh.
05:55 And I was just kind of like I was stunned and it was like--
05:58 Think I don't know what that means.
05:59 Well, no, I knew what it meant.
06:01 It meant that she didn't want me. Yeah.
06:03 And I'm seeing they're going I'm not wanted here.
06:07 And so I went just pushed my table over to any older group
06:10 and I'd just got in my head that
06:13 there was something wrong with me that people didn't want me.
06:17 And then when I was seven,
06:19 I--my mother decided she wanted to try being a single mom again
06:23 and so she moved us all the way out to New York City. And so--
06:26 Away from grandparents, away from everything.
06:29 So, you know, and she hyped it up as this big adventure
06:32 and I was the kind of kid.
06:33 I was like, "Okay, mom, where you want to go?
06:35 Let's--what we're gonna do today type of thing
06:36 'cause we would always take off to new trips and stuff."
06:39 And she is like, "Well, we're gonna go to New York."
06:42 And I said, "Okay."
06:43 You know, and so we stopped
06:45 at all these neat places along the away,
06:46 Mount Rushmore and we stopped at the Grand Canyon,
06:49 and I freaked out because my mother
06:51 being my mom had to go
06:52 up to the edges of the Grand Canyon take photos
06:55 and I'm just in my head positive.
06:57 She's gonna fall over the side
06:58 and I'm gonna loose my mother, and I'm freaking out.
07:01 And she goes, "I will never ever
07:03 be able to go to the Grand Canyon again."
07:04 And I'm like, "No." You were so traumatized.
07:08 But, you know, for this little kid that says,
07:10 you know what, you were in my mind,
07:13 you were what and I need you. Yeah.
07:15 And you can't leave me.
07:16 Yeah, it was just-- it terrified me
07:18 that I'd be without her. Yeah.
07:19 So we get to New York, and I'm put into public school,
07:24 which I hadn't been in
07:25 and I'd been in a private school before that
07:27 and I was put into public school
07:29 and the teacher just I don't know what her issue was,
07:31 but she hated my guts.
07:32 I mean, literally I've heard of,
07:34 you know, teachers hating students
07:35 but this is, you know, she would look at me and she'd go,
07:38 "You're so stupid, you can't do anything right."
07:40 And she said, "Go use the dictionary
07:42 since you can't figure out what the definition of a word means."
07:45 And I'm like, "Well, how do I use a dictionary?
07:47 I'd never been around the dictionary.
07:50 It wasn't something that I flipped open naturally."
07:52 And she goes, "You're too stupid
07:54 to even know how to use the dictionary." Wow. And--
07:56 And for an outrace kid. Yeah.
07:59 And that's what we were talking about earlier
08:01 is that we then try to make sense or try to figure it out
08:04 or we're not gonna ask for help anymore.
08:06 I mean, all of those things start to happen. Yeah.
08:08 And then we look stupid 'cause we don't know.
08:10 I need to ask you for help and yet I'm not going to.
08:13 Yeah, so I kind of closed in.
08:14 I just--I kind of caved in.
08:16 I was like there is something.
08:17 You know, I was like I didn't think I was stupid,
08:19 but it was like you hate me what did I do wrong. Right.
08:22 And so this just kind of kept going all the way through school
08:28 and I got to fourth grade and the teachers would be like,
08:33 "You're so stupid. You're so stupid."
08:34 And yet I would take my CTY test
08:38 and I get the scores back
08:39 and my scores were off the charts.
08:41 Like, they would put me at 99 percentile because they said,
08:43 "Well, we don't have a score for where you landed."
08:45 And I'm like, "Okay."
08:48 So obviously I'm not stupid,
08:50 but yet I've got my teachers turning around going,
08:53 you were the stupidest thing we've ever seen.
08:55 And like I forgot to bring-- I think it was my flute--
08:59 I forgot to bring my flute over quarter thing for music one time
09:03 and the teacher is looking at me
09:05 and she goes, "I can't believe you forgot your flute.
09:06 How could you be so stupid to forget your flute?"
09:09 And I'm just like, "Well, I just didn't."
09:12 She goes, "Well, how do you expect
09:13 to get into college that way?"
09:15 And I looked at her I'm like, "Really?"
09:18 I'm in fourth grade and you're telling me,
09:20 I'm not gonna get into college
09:22 because I forgot my recorder today.
09:24 Okay, you're just--
09:25 forget it, I don't care what you think anymore.
09:28 But, you know, just to stop right there and,
09:31 you know, kind of probably where I'm gonna go with this
09:33 is that at one point with the child that's been injured
09:37 is that realization and that kind of rebellion,
09:40 and that kind of, you know, almost sarcasm in our mind,
09:43 at least if we don't say it,
09:45 at least we're thinking it in our mind, is that not right.
09:47 That makes no sense.
09:49 And so you're saying about fourth grade.
09:51 You start to realize that. You know what?
09:54 That's crazy. It was.
09:55 It just--I could not wrap my head around,
09:57 having me for getting my recorder for one day,
09:59 it was gonna bar me from college.
10:01 It just didn't make sense to me.
10:03 And about that time too my mom had gotten married,
10:06 so to my step-dad who adopted me
10:09 and they got pregnant right after that,
10:11 so we had this really chaotic household,
10:14 at least from my perspective, it was chaotic.
10:16 Where I've got a brand new dad who I don't really know.
10:20 I think they dated about three months before they got married.
10:23 And then I have a brand new baby sister
10:25 who I just loved to death, I mean, she was like my doll,
10:28 I got to play with her.
10:30 And then my parents were fighting all the time
10:32 because they were trying to figure out
10:34 how to make a marriage work.
10:35 And they didn't really have the skills for that,
10:38 and so they were figuring out verbally
10:41 and so I'm sitting here and looking at the world's going,
10:43 what the heck happen? Right.
10:45 And there is a lot of anger building up inside me,
10:48 especially towards to my step-dad
10:49 'cause I saw him as like the problem.
10:52 He'd come in and everything just fell apart.
10:54 I mean, just I'd never been around violence before
10:57 and he was a violent man.
10:59 And like I forgot to do my math homework one day
11:02 and he thought I lied about it, and it wasn't that I lied,
11:05 I just literally forgot about it
11:07 and I had these stacks of shelves
11:09 in my room with all my toys and games,
11:10 and he just took them and tipped them over.
11:12 Just throw them over and he said,
11:13 "That's what you get for being a liar."
11:16 And he said, "You're gonna clean this up,
11:18 that's your punishment."
11:19 And I was on the floor sobbing
11:21 'cause it was probably like 7 or 8 O'clock
11:23 and it was bedtime and it took me
11:24 till I think 10:30 that night to get it cleaned up.
11:27 And it was just that was--
11:30 my world was I didn't know if I was gonna make him angry
11:33 or if I was doing something wrong or,
11:36 you know, how did I-- how do I make it work?
11:39 And I felt like I was always messing it up. Right.
11:42 And so, did you find anything like we talked about the kid
11:45 that find some way to comfort themselves,
11:48 some way to were-- yeah. Yeah.
11:49 For me, it was books.
11:50 I took it because I turned in big time.
11:52 And I was not allowed to be angry.
11:55 I was never allowed to be the angry one.
11:57 So I just turned it all in
11:58 and I started reading these books and--
12:00 You escaped into. I escaped into fiction.
12:02 I think a lot of kids do that.
12:04 So what kind of books did you grab?
12:06 For me, it was Nancy Drew,
12:08 she was just kind of the epitome of what I thought was perfect.
12:11 She was 18, she was beautiful, she was smart,
12:14 she flew planes, she spoke three languages, I think.
12:17 And it was just one of those things where I looked at her
12:19 and I went that's what I want to be,
12:22 but I knew couldn't do it 'cause I'm sitting there going,
12:24 well, how did she do that,
12:25 you know, by the time she was 18? What pressure.
12:28 I mean, you know what I mean,
12:29 it's like all of the stuffs that were happening around you,
12:31 trying to live up to everybody else
12:33 and then you find something
12:34 that you absolutely cannot live up to. Yeah.
12:36 And it was just I started,
12:39 you know, I hated her because she was perfect,
12:40 but at the same time I wanted to be her.
12:43 And that kind of became who it was?
12:45 It was like, for me, I was the person,
12:47 I wanted to be somebody perfect,
12:49 but I also hated the perfect people,
12:51 because they had everything I didn't have.
12:53 Well, at least that's what I felt like.
12:55 That's what it felt like.
12:56 Because I know you and you're pretty cool.
12:59 But, you know, that was what it felt like at the time.
13:01 And so I know for you through the years that you ended up
13:06 actually even hitting a time where you felt depressed
13:09 and you were going into some of that kind of stuff.
13:11 Was it a result of not being able to live up
13:15 and that the chaos at home, do you think?
13:17 It was kind of a mixture because for me,
13:19 I think I can pinpoint it back to I was 11
13:21 when I hit my first depressive spell.
13:23 And it was I had my little sister
13:25 and there was my mom and my dad and it seemed like,
13:28 they were the family unit and I was just the extra.
13:31 Right, I may be your best friend
13:33 if you don't come and sit with us. Right.
13:35 And my parents didn't know what to do with me
13:38 when school would let out in the summer.
13:39 So my sister went off to a babysitter a lot of the time,
13:42 but they weren't gonna pay for me to go to be babysitter,
13:44 so they shipped me out
13:46 to live with my grandparents during the summers.
13:48 And I loved my grandparents.
13:50 So I thought, you know, hey this is cool I get to go,
13:53 you know, be with my grandparents.
13:54 I didn't really think about it.
13:56 But when I got to my grandparents,
13:57 I had this really stable environment.
13:59 And my grandmother just doted on me.
14:01 I mean, we spent summers painting, drawing,
14:04 planting marigolds, I mean, we did stuff.
14:08 You know, I got one on one time with grandma and grandpa.
14:11 And then they would take me to church every weekend.
14:13 And so I was still connected in with the church
14:16 even though I wasn't in the church.
14:19 And in my head I was getting everything
14:21 like God was wanting me to have
14:24 that I was gonna need in the future
14:25 from those weekends that I was out at church.
14:28 And then summer would end and I'd have to go back to New York.
14:31 And I knew what was waiting for me when I got back
14:33 and I would just ball the whole 5 hour flight to home or
14:36 whatever, you know, it was. And--
14:40 It's got to be hard to get it as sense or taste of belonging
14:44 and being loved and then walking away from that again.
14:47 Yeah, and I just kind of got it in my head that,
14:50 that was my life, that it was always gonna be there some
14:54 New York and then out with my grandparents
14:57 and I was never gonna be kind of a stable thing,
15:00 I was never gonna have the home environment
15:03 that I thought I wanted and--
15:06 That you need it.
15:07 That I--yeah, that I actually need it, you know.
15:09 And I just adapted to what was there
15:13 and the volatility of my dad's anger problems and,
15:19 you know, whatever was going on in the house
15:21 and I just kind of went with that.
15:23 And then my little brother was born a couple of years later
15:27 and it just kind of pushed me out even further
15:29 on that feeling of that's their family and I'm just the extra.
15:34 So I had this opportunity
15:37 to go to high school out with my grandparents
15:40 and I started and I went, sure why not?
15:44 I've got nothing here that I want to stick around for
15:47 may be I'll find what I'm wanting there
15:49 because I'm going to a private school
15:51 and that's with kids who were gonna be like me who,
15:53 you know, go to church and who understand who Jesus is
15:56 and because the kids I hung out with
15:59 didn't have that background at all.
16:00 'Cause in New York, you were in public school?
16:02 Right, 'cause I'm in the public school
16:03 and I still knew who God was,
16:06 I knew who Jesus was
16:07 and the Sabbath was still Sabbath to me
16:09 and I knew all of that, but nobody else did.
16:12 And so I was really excluded on that
16:15 and even though I wasn't attending church.
16:17 I thought "Hey, if I go to private school
16:19 and I'm with the kids who think the way I think
16:21 and do the things I do, that'll fix everything.
16:24 And I went out to my grandparents again
16:27 for the summer and I went to camp
16:30 and they had pastor who was doing one of those
16:32 altar calls type of thing at the end of the camp.
16:35 And I just sat there and I went,
16:36 I've got to go up there I've got to go up there,
16:38 that's what I want to be a part of,
16:40 and I couldn't get up out of my chair.
16:42 I felt like somebody was sitting on me.
16:43 And I'm sitting there going,
16:45 "God, I know this is what I need to do,
16:46 help me get out of this chair."
16:48 And then a moment I have this feeling like,
16:50 if you don't get up now,
16:52 you're never gonna be able to get up and go.
16:53 And so I stood up
16:54 and it felt like I had lead weights tied to me
16:56 as I was standing up, and I walked and I kid you not,
16:59 it was like somebody might have manacled my feet,
17:01 I could barely take steps.
17:03 And I got up to the altar and I'm like, "This is what I want.
17:05 I want to have God in my life
17:08 and I want to feel like I belong to somebody."
17:11 Amen. And--
17:13 That's such a powerful for a kid that has all of that stuff,
17:17 does anybody loved me.
17:19 For God through the Holy Spirit to break through to your heart
17:21 and say stand up, I love you. Yeah.
17:24 To me, I wish that everybody could get a sense
17:27 of how amazing that moment was for you. It was.
17:29 It was just-- it was so powerful.
17:31 And I wanted to just keep going, I didn't wanted to stop,
17:34 and then I got back to the cabin
17:35 and I was like, we're done, okay.
17:38 And I'm like, "Really?" That's it, go on--
17:40 Does anybody gonna come talk to me? I know.
17:42 And I wanted somebody who can talk to me, so God--
17:44 I really want to turn around.
17:46 You know what I mean?
17:47 Almost to the world and say never do that to a kid
17:50 'cause I don't think we realize
17:52 and in recovery I see this all the time is,
17:54 as we see these injured individuals
17:57 that finally have hope enough to stand up.
17:59 And we don't realize the next step
18:01 and the next step is somebody has got to touch them,
18:04 somebody has got to say, "You know what? Good decision."
18:07 And God loves you and that follow up is critical. Yeah.
18:10 But that didn't happened.
18:12 And I'm glad in a sense that we're gonna cover that
18:15 that didn't happen because your life continues to spiral down,
18:19 even though you had that moment.
18:21 Yeah, it just got worse actually,
18:22 that I might have been like what they call
18:24 mountain top experience
18:25 because for me, that was like the high point
18:27 and then I just kind of roll down the hill after that
18:29 and it just got worse and worse.
18:31 And I started at academy. And I'm from--
18:33 I'm gonna let you go on, but I want to tell you, I'm sorry.
18:36 All right, go ahead.
18:38 So I started at academy, and I'm from New York City,
18:41 so I'm pretty rough around the edges at this point.
18:43 I've had to, you know, fight my way to having a place
18:47 where I can defend myself
18:48 if somebody is gonna come and attack me and I just really--
18:50 You had everything, but the plan. Yeah.
18:54 And I just didn't really know what the social norms were
18:58 and I didn't get it and I started feeling that ostracism,
19:02 and so I started hating the kids because,
19:05 you know, they were pulling away from something
19:07 they didn't recognize and so I turned around
19:09 and hated them back for pulling away from me 'cause I'm like,
19:12 "You're supposed to be my kind of people.
19:13 What's going on here?"
19:15 And there was one guy who, you know, was nice to me
19:19 and we started dating
19:20 and I got really hooked into that relationship
19:22 'cause finally I had somebody who's paying attention to me
19:25 and who is telling me that they love me and--
19:27 And I felt like I belong.
19:28 Yeah, and I felt like I belong.
19:30 And so I just put everything on to that relationship,
19:32 and I allowed it to progress to the point
19:35 where it was sexual, and I was 14 years old.
19:38 And I had no idea what that was gonna do to me.
19:41 And eventually we broke up because it was just,
19:44 you know, it was just too much of intimate thing
19:47 and it was just too hard to, you know, maintain that at--
19:50 And you were so needy.
19:51 And I was so needy, so needy, and I drove him away
19:54 and it's not his fault, but it was just--
19:56 But and the reason I say that is that most people come in
19:59 and they judge your behavior and this is just a bad kid
20:01 and I just want to say, no way. No.
20:03 So needy and everything was stacked up
20:05 to make then another wrong decision. Right.
20:08 And I just didn't know how to handle that--
20:12 not rejection, it wasn't necessarily rejection,
20:14 but having that emptiness again--
20:16 I'm alone again. I'm alone again.
20:18 And I've been taking some muscle relaxants for pain,
20:22 legitimate, you know, this is from a doctor I can take this,
20:25 but there was 215 of these pills in a bottle.
20:28 And I just sat there around, I can't deal with this anymore,
20:32 I'm tired of being alone and so I took the whole bottle.
20:34 And there would have been-- I've been taking them slowly,
20:39 so I'm gonna guess there is probably
20:40 185 pills left in that bottle and I took the whole--
20:43 whole lot in one go.
20:45 And my grandmother to this day I don't know what I did to her.
20:51 She came in and she found the bottle empty
20:53 and she asked me and she goes, "Did you take these?"
20:54 And I said, "Yeah, I took them."
20:57 And the next thing I know I'm being run off to the ER
20:59 because, you know, I've taken I don't know how many hundred,
21:02 you know, painkillers
21:04 and they're pumping my stomach and they're looking like,
21:06 "Well, why did you do something so stupid?"
21:08 And I'm looking at the nurse going,
21:10 "Really, do you have any idea?"
21:14 It's like, "Why would you ask me that question?
21:16 Why do you think I took them?" Right.
21:17 And but, you know,
21:19 and then well, this is what I think the devil is so strategic
21:22 because he uses the same words. Yeah.
21:24 You know, the same word
21:25 that you've heard all your whole your life is you're a stupid.
21:27 Why did you do something so stupid?
21:29 And so for you,
21:31 that's just like somebody just slamming you again. Yeah.
21:34 And so, you know, and I guess when I hear that
21:37 I just want to say that
21:39 somebody's got to say the right thing,
21:41 you know, as definitely as Christians,
21:43 but as adults as at sometimes we got to say the right thing
21:46 that this kid took it for reason.
21:49 Yeah, I wasn't-- I wasn't kind of showing off,
21:51 I wasn't, you know-- Trying to get attention.
21:54 May be I was trying to get attention,
21:55 but not it was at the same time it was a real intense pain
21:58 and I was trying to get rid of that pain.
22:00 So they stuck me in the psychiatric ward
22:02 with kids who were in there for anger management problems,
22:05 prostitution and drug addiction,
22:07 and I'm in there for suicide attempt.
22:09 And they're like, we're gonna have group therapy
22:11 and so we do group therapy and it's all about
22:13 why you're not gonna drink alcohol.
22:15 And I'm going, "Oh, why?" I don't drink.
22:19 I'm like, "Wait a minute. I don't--I don't do that."
22:21 And it's like well, how does this help?
22:23 I didn't--I didn't understand that.
22:25 It didn't make any sense to me why it was helping.
22:28 And I had no respect for the staff at that point
22:32 'cause they would come in and they're like,
22:33 all you're gonna go do this group therapy thing?
22:35 And it had nothing to do it what my issues were.
22:39 And finally they got me into see the psychiatrist,
22:42 and the psychiatrist sits there and he's got his notepad
22:46 and I'm sitting on the couch, you know, across the room
22:49 and he does one of these things, and he goes,
22:51 "Okay, tell me how your week has been."
22:53 And I'm like, "It's been bad.
22:58 You know, what do you think?"
23:00 Until you will see this here your life stop, leave me.
23:04 You know, 'cause I think that you've got all that
23:06 rebellion and that anger and that stuff
23:08 and to have somebody to really look at a pad more than you.
23:11 Yeah. He never looks at me.
23:12 There is no--yeah, there's no way.
23:14 And that's another thing is that
23:16 there is no way you're gonna open up.
23:17 And I can't even--my heart just breaks when you say that.
23:20 It just--it was one of those things
23:22 where I sat there and I went, you want me to tell you
23:23 how my week has been.
23:25 What do you think it's been like?
23:26 You know, no, it's been great.
23:28 Actually, you know, everybody is welcome me back to school,
23:30 they don't think I'm a freak, my boyfriend's taken me back,
23:32 it's great, you know, kind of like, "Really?"
23:36 And, you know, they put me on antidepressants and just,
23:39 you know, for teenager that's like giving them dynamite.
23:42 You know, and I was on antidepressants.
23:44 I went up and I went down and I'm all over the place.
23:46 And sometimes suicide and even homicidal stuff is exaggerated.
23:50 And I got more suicidal for that too.
23:53 I was one of those people I had that reaction.
23:55 I would just come up real high and then I crash real low
23:58 and the kids at school would pull even further away
24:00 'cause now I'm really a freak.
24:02 They don't know how you're gonna be any given time.
24:04 And so they would make fun of me in the hallways and stuff
24:06 and I'd just, I sat there and I went,
24:08 "You guys are all awful, I can't stand you.
24:10 You have no value at all in my life."
24:13 And I went through three years of that academy
24:16 and then my parents would finally say--
24:20 they would call up one day and say,
24:22 "Oh, we're gonna buy house.
24:24 Okay, well, next year we're gonna buy house. Okay."
24:28 Well, my junior, they finally did buy the house
24:30 and they said, "We'd like you to move home."
24:32 And I said, "Sure, I will do anything
24:34 I can to get away from this because I'm so tired of this."
24:36 I don't fit. Yeah, I don't fit.
24:38 They don't want to be friends with me.
24:40 The youth pastor won't even talk with me
24:42 and have a serious conversation with me.
24:44 I said, "I can't handle this anymore."
24:46 What's really--what's really tough in the situation you have,
24:49 and tell me if this is true for you
24:51 or sometimes we can't stand ourselves?
24:53 You know, I know that I'm all over the board
24:55 and I know that I don't fit in
24:56 and I know that I don't know how to talk
24:58 and I know that was stupid for me to say,
25:00 and yet I don't feel like I have any control.
25:03 My emotional junk is following me.
25:07 It's like tied to me. Yeah. And I did things wrong.
25:10 I know I did, but I just didn't know how to do them right
25:13 and I didn't have anybody showing me how to do them right.
25:16 My grandparents were busy,
25:17 struggling with trying do raise me.
25:19 You know, here I'm this volatile teenager
25:21 and I've got, you know, issues all over the map
25:24 and I'm grabbing onto whatever is there as a lifeline,
25:27 just going please somebody save me.
25:29 Whatever comforts you? Right.
25:30 And I go home to New York in the summers
25:33 and I'll be back in that volatile world of my home.
25:36 And so I would just go out to any party
25:38 'cause there's parties in New York City
25:41 that a teenager can get into.
25:43 And they'll hand you alcohol, they'll hand you drugs then,
25:46 you know, and the backrooms and, you know, sleep with you
25:49 because, you know, hey, why not you're there?
25:52 So now that we talked about
25:53 during the first part of the program is that
25:55 when you take something or find something
25:57 that for even a moment gives you comfort
26:00 how addicting that becomes.
26:02 It was very addictive. Yeah.
26:03 And for me, it was going to guys and finding that love for,
26:06 even if it was just for 15 minutes,
26:08 it was something that I felt that was--
26:10 I just want to cry for you 'cause, you know,
26:11 I know so many kids that, you know,
26:14 for them to make a statement
26:16 even if it's just for 15 minutes, my heart breaks.
26:18 And I just want to say is, man, we got to wake up to that.
26:22 We do. And it's I don't think I'm the only one.
26:26 And I had friends who just took it even further,
26:29 they got into prostitution, they got into gangs.
26:32 You know, my friends that I was in,
26:34 we took it to kind of the occult level.
26:36 We got into vampirism, which means
26:38 that if in order for me to show that I trust you,
26:42 I have to let you hurt me.
26:44 So I'm gonna let you cut me open and let me bleed.
26:47 And I'm gonna bleed for you
26:49 and that's how I'm gonna prove that I trust you.
26:51 And that you're okay-- And people don't realize that
26:53 that is not an uncommon thing, yeah.
26:56 No, it's not, you know, cutting on yourself
26:58 'cause you're in pain, it's like,
27:00 I'm gonna take this trust level up a notch
27:02 'cause I need to trust somebody that much.
27:04 Yeah, go ahead.
27:05 So, yeah, and then you take it,
27:08 you know, from just the trust level into the sexual nature
27:11 and the whole thing just become so ridiculously demonic.
27:14 I mean, it is, it really truly is.
27:17 And it just distorts your idea of what love is,
27:20 relationship is supposed to be like and, you know,
27:23 what trust is supposed to feel like,
27:25 and you don't feel like, you can trust anybody
27:27 'cause even the people you trust are
27:28 literally they're hurting you.
27:30 So I moved back with my parents
27:34 and got in with another boyfriend
27:37 and I'm, you know, it was pretty bad.
27:40 And being able to say when you would say,
27:42 I moved back and I got in with another boyfriend
27:44 is at that point in your life,
27:46 I don't know how to stand on my own?
27:47 No. I have never done it.
27:49 And if somebody even said,
27:51 "You know, stand up, just be yourself."
27:54 You're like, what does that mean?
27:56 I had no idea.
27:57 And for me, I thought, you know,
27:58 if I move back to with my parents
28:00 maybe I could start over 'cause my mom was like,
28:02 "Well, you can always start over."
28:04 And I totally believe that you can truly always start over,
28:07 but at that point I maybe started over 10 or 15 times.
28:11 And I didn't know what that meant anymore.
28:13 So I know, you know,
28:16 that we are like on a time limit,
28:19 just doing a program like this.
28:20 So I got to say, you know, what happened?
28:23 What started this kind of? How did you turn this around?
28:27 How did God come in?
28:29 'Cause I want to just grab you
28:30 and just rescue you like, "Stop, don't do--"
28:33 Don't do anymore. Don't do anymore.
28:35 Well, that boyfriend I'd gone down to visit him in New York
28:38 and he had gotten pretty tired of me at that point,
28:42 and so he was like, "Well, how can I miss you
28:44 if you're never gone type of thing."
28:46 Was what he told me? And it's a same message.
28:48 The devil is so strategic.
28:50 If you don't sit here, I will love you.
28:52 You know, the message in your life it's like,
28:54 it's just the same.
28:56 And, you know, for people in recovery,
28:58 I would love you to start listening to the message
29:00 'cause a devil doesn't change that much--
29:02 It doesn't, it's maybe a work here or work there.
29:04 Yeah. And I was so broken.
29:06 I walked out to there is a bridge near the mall
29:09 where I'd been and I stood on the bridge and it was--
29:13 I don't know how far above the water is,
29:15 but it's one of the New York City bridges
29:16 and I was gonna jump off.
29:18 Right then in there I had decided
29:20 and I started arguing with God.
29:22 Of all the things I'm arguing with God about
29:24 why I'm gonna do this.
29:26 And I'm telling Him, "God, it's not you, it's me really."
29:29 Yeah, I don't want You to feel bad about this.
29:32 It's not your fault that I'm gonna commit suicide.
29:34 You didn't do anything. This is all me.
29:35 I just can't make it work anymore.
29:38 And I heard God in my head going don't--don't do it.
29:43 And I'm like, "You don't understand."
29:45 I can't do it anymore. I'm tired.
29:48 And I said, "God, I need a different life."
29:50 And He goes, "If you don't do it I'll give you a different life."
29:54 And I'm sooner going, "Well, what if I got to loose really?"
29:59 You know, and I go, "Okay, God, You're gonna have to put--
30:02 You're gonna have to fix everything
30:03 'cause I have just completely messed it up at this point."
30:06 And so I turned around, walked off the bridge
30:10 which I have to explain.
30:12 The bridge I was on nobody else was on it.
30:14 There were no cars passing by. There were no people walking by.
30:16 If I'd jumped, nobody would have been able to stop me.
30:19 And so I turned around and I walked off
30:21 and I still had two more low points
30:25 because I got pregnant twice after that,
30:27 and I had two abortions.
30:29 And I really came this close to committing suicide
30:33 after those because it was just-- I was like, "That's it.
30:35 I've screwed it up. I'm beyond fixing."
30:38 Even, you know, and to me were there are lot of people
30:40 don't realize even when you step into the, you know,
30:42 well, now I've hand an abortion is not only have I hurt myself,
30:46 but I have hurt someone else, I have murdered my own child,
30:49 and it almost seems like there is no light
30:53 at the--there's-- I can't.
30:55 I'm not redeemable. I'm not, yeah.
30:57 I've got--I got that that I've gone too far.
31:00 And God kept working with me, and kept working with me,
31:02 and kept working with me,
31:04 and I'd sit in the shower and pour my heart out to God
31:07 and He's like, "I'm gonna fix it.
31:09 I'm gonna fix it." Yeah.
31:10 And so that counseling thing
31:13 that I had with that psychiatrist,
31:14 I remember looking at him and thinking you're so awful.
31:17 Nobody should have to have a psychiatrist like you.
31:19 So I spent-- from the time
31:21 I was 14 until the time I completed college
31:23 and working in psychiatric clinics
31:26 to get experience and I took a bachelors degree in psychology
31:29 and I went and--right after that
31:31 I got my master's degree in clinical psych.
31:33 'cause I said, "Nobody should ever have to have
31:35 a counselor that does not care."
31:37 Yeah, that does not even look at them.
31:39 And so I started doing my internship
31:43 and I worked with kids and I saw these kids who--
31:46 they might coming from loving families,
31:47 it doesn't mean that their parents don't love them,
31:49 but they're still floundering.
31:51 And I'm like, "These are kids that we need to be reach out."
31:53 And I totally understood, I totally got
31:55 where they were coming from and I can look at them and go,
31:57 "Yeah, I get that.
31:59 I get where you're at because I've been there."
32:01 Right. I understand, and--
32:03 Now what's really interesting to me,
32:05 Asheley, is that I really believe that probably
32:07 during even your education
32:09 that God did incredible healing in your life.
32:11 There was--I think it was, but it was so subtle,
32:14 I didn't know when it was happening
32:16 because now I can sit there
32:17 and look at all of them and I go,
32:19 "That's over there. That's not me anymore."
32:22 To me, is the counselor who wants to work
32:24 and help feel--help people feel better about themselves
32:28 and find a way to get pass that pain
32:31 and to have relationships.
32:33 When did you feel like? You know what?
32:36 I think I'm in my own skin and I like it 'cause I know--
32:41 I'm still getting there. Good. But, you know what?
32:43 'Cause I've--you know, you and I have had lunch before
32:46 and I sense that about you is that God is allowing you,
32:50 you know, through the count and through what you do,
32:52 but he is allowing you to be in your own skin
32:54 and actually liking it.
32:56 So the healing even though it's been subtle,
32:58 it has been relentless.
33:00 It has been.
33:01 It's--it took me getting married and having three children.
33:05 In my head, this is probably going to sound weird,
33:07 but I look at them as replacing the two that I aborted,
33:11 but they are my life.
33:14 And everything I do-- my work, I do it for God.
33:18 And I can tell, He is there, He talks back to me,
33:20 I have that conversation and it's like,
33:23 I screwed up as my life might be going for a moment.
33:26 I know that, "Hey, he's gonna pull me through."
33:28 And now when I have those moments of depression
33:30 'cause they still hit, it's not gonna go away.
33:33 I don't have depression for two weeks anymore at a time.
33:35 Now it's maybe I have a day
33:37 and I know who my support group is,
33:39 I know who my friends are that I can go to and go.
33:42 I'm--you got to help me.
33:43 I'm like totally spiraling out here and they go,
33:46 "We're here with you. It's okay."
33:48 And it's just awesome to have that, and to know
33:50 that my husband loves me for everything
33:53 and he knows everything about me.
33:54 Right. And he loves me anyway.
33:55 Your friends love you. Yeah, my friends love me.
33:58 You know, it's like, I sit there and I go I have
34:00 everything now that I wanted so much growing up.
34:03 Except for the plane. Except for the plane.
34:06 But, you know, even-- You know, I have to say that,
34:08 you know, in all of our recovery
34:10 we do really wanted to happen overnight
34:12 and God says, "You got to trust me.
34:14 As you surrender to me, as you really make
34:17 the commitment like on the bridge,
34:18 you made a commitment to live,
34:20 as you make that commitment I am going to--
34:22 you may not even see the changes,
34:24 but I'm gonna make changes in your life."
34:26 And so what I think is hysterical about
34:28 where He is taking you right now,
34:30 is that we go to the same church.
34:32 Yeah. I love you.
34:34 You know, I watch you with your kids, and your family.
34:36 And at one point, we needed someone
34:39 to work with their adolescence.
34:41 Yes. Oh, my goodness.
34:43 I have to explain I did not want to work
34:45 with adolescents because I had been one
34:47 and I see here going, "Why would I do this to myself?"
34:51 And I had a foreign exchange student living with us
34:54 and she said, "Well,
34:55 I don't know why I go to church."
34:57 And I sat there and I went, it clicked,
34:59 you know, it's like God was saying, "That's it.
35:00 That's why you've got to go do this."
35:02 And I went, "Kids don't know.
35:05 They don't have that personal relationship with Jesus."
35:08 And if we don't help them develop that,
35:11 it doesn't matter what we teach
35:12 them about going to church or how to live.
35:15 If they don't have that relationship,
35:16 they're gonna end up floundering just like I did.
35:18 Right, in not all kids, but you're talking about,
35:20 you know, lot of kids go, they don't know
35:22 why they're going, they're not connecting with each other.
35:24 And your heart said, "Oh, I remember that.
35:26 I know how that feels." Yes.
35:28 And you've got to have something there to pull them in.
35:32 And I love 'cause at that moment,
35:33 you knew you had to say yes.
35:35 I was like, "Yeah, sort of like you're going really, God,
35:37 you knew I didn't want to work with adolescents."
35:39 And now I need to go around help find the youth program
35:41 and we've been running it.
35:42 And I'm having the best time in my life.
35:44 The kids that I worked with,
35:46 you know, they are just some of the most awesome kids--
35:49 With issues-- And they do.
35:51 They all have--they all have their issues even if it's,
35:53 you know, time management some of them are doing really great
35:56 and they just have time management issues for school.
35:58 Other kids, you know, their world might
36:00 as well just be completely upside down.
36:02 They don't know what house
36:04 they're gonna live in this weekend,
36:05 you know, they don't know what's happening,
36:07 and they're just going, "What do we do?
36:10 How do we make this work?"
36:12 And so to me, it's--can you explain
36:16 how God not only reaches in our life
36:18 'cause I loved the way He reached in your life
36:20 even on that bridge and all through your education,
36:24 but then how does He wake up that passion and,
36:26 you know, that that's--that's
36:28 what He anointed me for, that's what this gift is for.
36:31 It was kind of like, I sat there and I went,
36:32 when I'm arguing back with God,
36:34 it's probably something I'm supposed to do.
36:38 And the more I've started working with the kids
36:40 and seeing what they needed, the more I sat there I went,
36:43 "Hey, I know how to fix that because I've been there,
36:47 I've had that peace missing, so I know how to fill that in."
36:51 And we started making relationships with the kids
36:54 and they know that they can come to us whenever.
36:58 I've got-- I've got
36:59 what I call a 24-hours cell phone service.
37:01 You can call me up anytime of the day
37:02 and I will talk with you.
37:04 I've had kids call me up in the middle of the night--
37:06 And, you know, what really interesting?
37:08 I've got to say for somebody that will think, you know,
37:10 that sounds a little bit codependent or whatever.
37:12 Some of the kids that we have are literally in blended
37:16 families, mothers an addict, dealing with that kind of stuff.
37:20 And so what you and your husband
37:21 decided is to behave-- let these kids have access
37:25 to their youth directors at the church.
37:29 And so, you know, even though it may sound.
37:33 I mean, there is little bit of be careful with that.
37:36 You guys are careful with that. We are very careful with it.
37:38 And part of that thing to is I'm a--since I'm a counselor,
37:40 I'm a licensed counselor now, especially in the city of Idaho.
37:44 It's very--I have to be very careful with my boundaries.
37:48 So the kids know that the girls come to me.
37:52 The boys go to my husband Brad,
37:55 and we have a very strict boundary on here's
37:58 what we're gonna do and here's when we can do it,
38:00 but if you are in crisis don't-- you know, not call me,
38:03 call me 'cause if you're-- if you're not point of,
38:06 you know, downing the bottle's pills.
38:07 I'd rather have you on the phone with me
38:09 because I can call the emergency services--
38:11 And we're your church?
38:13 Yeah, I'm part of your church family,
38:15 and it's like, I want to be there for you
38:16 and not make you feel like,
38:18 you have nobody that you can turn so.
38:20 So now the next thing which I think is funny.
38:22 So the next thing is you and your husband decide
38:29 that maybe the church is in our conference,
38:33 so it's like I love the way God does that,
38:35 it's like okay so now our youth group is running really well.
38:37 Yeah. Yeah.
38:39 Kids are feeling comfortable coming to Christ,
38:42 literally having a stronger relationship
38:45 and being able to just settle in who they are spiritually,
38:48 having a connection with the body, I mean,
38:51 you know, when they walk around,
38:53 they really look at everybody as family now,
38:55 so all of that is being developed really well.
38:57 And then God tells you well,
38:59 what about the other churches in the conference.
39:00 It was, He didn't just tell me later.
39:02 It was like I got the whole thing in one whammy.
39:05 It was just we're gonna do all of it at one time
39:07 and the first thing was to fix the church that you're in.
39:10 So we started working on the program.
39:12 And then I sat there and I went, well,
39:13 why is our church here and there is another church over here
39:16 and there is like another church over here
39:18 and we're not talking and I had and idea
39:20 who my conference leaders, you know,
39:23 who they were and how I suppose to utilize
39:25 those resources and God's like, I would love to see happen.
39:30 And He is telling me, this kind of like inside of my head
39:33 type of thing is we need to get
39:35 the churches working together, you know--
39:37 Especially with our youth, yeah. With our youth.
39:39 And so now we're working there,
39:41 I've been meeting with some of the other church leaders
39:43 and youth leaders specifically.
39:45 And we're looking at how do we bring
39:46 the youth together for big events
39:48 to just get that support system going.
39:51 And it doesn't mean that we're gonna do everything that way,
39:53 I mean, we still have our own little church events,
39:56 but now we're taking it to the conference level,
39:57 so that the kids see that they have
39:59 this whole network that is out there.
40:01 And, you know, what I love is that,
40:04 because of where you're wounded and that says,
40:08 you are stepping into the church
40:10 and healing that wound for the church,
40:13 because God healed it for you.
40:15 And that's where I think that recovery and spirituality
40:19 and who got is it's just brilliant.
40:21 I think, you know, I want to kiss, God on the face,
40:23 I just think you're brilliant that He just takes
40:25 everything about who we are and blesses us.
40:29 I would like to open it up.
40:31 We don't have a much time, but open it up
40:33 for a few questions before we close.
40:36 And so I know that, you know,
40:38 you guys have been just hearing this testimony
40:41 and this incredible journey
40:43 and so I was wondering if anyone had a question for Asheley.
40:48 I've one. So Brad.
40:50 Asheley, I just want to say, thank you so much,
40:52 for sharing us someone who I've seen in my church
40:54 I had no idea and just God bless you.
40:57 My question to you,
40:59 and Cheri and I are actually are parents of a child
41:02 who took a bottle of pills once.
41:05 And I want to, you know, having to go with her
41:07 to a psych facility which for a few hours and stuff.
41:10 Can you, talk just a little bit of more about
41:13 like teen suicidal just say even in Idaho?
41:17 Teen suicide it's a big problem like
41:20 I know the statistics kind of change every year
41:23 and what the rate is, but I think what I saw this last time
41:26 was that Idaho ranks number third in the nation for suicide.
41:29 I think Washington and Alaska were head of us.
41:33 So it's a real issue and what it is a lack of kids
41:37 feeling like they have somebody they can go to
41:40 talk about their problems and the pain just builds up.
41:43 And so they're only out.
41:45 It seems to them is that they feel is to commit suicide,
41:49 because everything else, you know,
41:51 it might look perfect from the outside,
41:53 but what's going on inside is not perfect
41:56 and so that's tends to be what I think happens is that,
42:01 you know, they feel like I've got nobody
42:02 I can talk to about this, nobody is gonna understand.
42:05 I don't want to go to mom and dad,
42:07 'cause mom and dad will wholly freak out which,
42:09 you know, we do, we do freak out,
42:10 because something is wrong with our kid and we want to fix it.
42:13 But they don't feel like they have somebody safe that--
42:15 And even so when they do go to somebody and there are times
42:18 when people say,"Oh, you shouldn't feel that way."
42:20 Instead of allowing them to feel.
42:23 We have one more question, Melody,
42:25 I know that you had a question.
42:27 Yes, Asheley, I think you're remarkable lady,
42:29 but I want you to expand
42:30 a little bit more on that vampirism.
42:32 I've never heard of that before.
42:34 Okay, vampirism for those who don't know it's technically
42:38 it's a sexual fetish which does not make it in addiction,
42:41 but it can also become an addiction and what it is,
42:44 is you literally you cut on your skin anywhere,
42:48 you know, it can be here, it can be on your arm
42:51 and you allow somebody else to drink your blood.
42:53 And the idea is that it's a form of trust building
42:58 if you're taking on that level,
43:00 if you're taking it on the relationship level,
43:01 it's a form of trust where I'm trusting you to hurt me,
43:05 but not cut me so bad
43:07 that I will bleed to death type of thing.
43:09 And it's a very--I don't even know how to put it nicely.
43:14 It's just a very distorted view
43:16 of what a relationship is supposed to be like,
43:19 what trust and love are supposed to be--
43:21 And you have, you have books and movies
43:24 all about kind of the vampires and romantic, suspense
43:30 and really seductive thing
43:33 and so that has kind of blood into
43:35 how people want to be looked at.
43:37 I want to be other worldly.
43:39 I don't want to be in my own skin.
43:41 And when you don't like being in your own skin
43:43 and you've been wounded for that long to have some escape
43:46 whether it was like what you did with books.
43:48 And I did with Nancy Drew
43:49 or I'm gonna become the walking dead.
43:52 I'm gonna become a vampire, it really does build up
43:56 its own society and there is it's huge.
43:58 It is huge, there are clubs, there are underground societies.
44:02 There are, you know, it's own world.
44:04 It's huge.
44:06 You know, we're gonna go ahead and break
44:08 and I--even want to come back and close this,
44:10 but I'd like you to join me,
44:12 'cause I know that you have a few more things to say,
44:14 you know, we could do another program altogether,
44:16 but few more things to say
44:18 and then I want you to talk to someone out there
44:20 that maybe is feeling alone,
44:22 standing on a bridge even in there own head.
44:24 So we'll be right back.
44:26 Thank you, for staying with us this long, but don't go away.