Celebrating Life in Recovery

Personal Testimony / Grace Pipeline

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Shelley Quinn


Series Code: CLR

Program Code: CLR000107A

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.
00:10 Today I had a cancellation.
00:12 So I had to pull somebody from the hallway
00:14 to do this program and I love her.
00:16 Shelley Quinn is going to be on.
00:18 You guys are gonna love her.
00:19 Come join us.
00:49 Welcome back.
00:51 And as I said in the beginning is that what happens
00:54 when there's a cancellation
00:55 I have no way to know that in advance.
00:58 An emergency came up and I'm thinking okay,
01:01 we have the schedule.
01:03 We have a schedule for the program
01:04 and the show and all that kind of stuff
01:06 and I thought, wait a minute.
01:07 I am at 3ABN.
01:09 There are some incredible men and women of God
01:11 just walking the hallway.
01:13 And so I thought about who would fit best for this season,
01:16 'cause we're talking about the season,
01:17 about how to not only come out of addiction,
01:21 come out of all that kind of stuff
01:22 but how do you allow God to build you up.
01:25 Where do you get your strength from?
01:26 How do you do the transformation?
01:28 How do you change everything?
01:29 And I thought, oh, Shelly.
01:33 And it was really fun, 'cause going up to you and saying,
01:36 "Shelley, you know, I had a cancellation.
01:38 Can you come and just hangout with us for a while?"
01:41 And immediately, absolutely.
01:43 It's my joy to do this.
01:44 Don't know what we're gonna be talking about
01:46 but I'm glad to be here.
01:47 And we wanted--I wanted to have you on the program
01:49 for a long time because I just--I love what you do.
01:52 I love your teachings and the material
01:54 that you put together.
01:55 And so for people that are watching this,
01:58 maybe in a rehab center, in a jail,
02:00 or they have to be somewhere in a desert not to know
02:04 who you are if they are watching 3ABN,
02:05 'cause you have your own program on 3ABN.
02:07 And--but for people that don't know you,
02:10 can we start with your journey?
02:12 Can you kind of walk us through some of that?
02:14 How far back?
02:16 I would say all the way back
02:17 because I know you and I know that,
02:18 you know, some people look at you and say,
02:20 "You know what?
02:22 She probably you know, has always been
02:24 kind of that woman of God and standing tall."
02:26 But you haven't.
02:28 I mean you have struggled and you know
02:29 like--a lot of the guests that we have on the program
02:32 as you know what it feels like to be surrounded
02:34 by dysfunction and trying to stand up.
02:36 And so I would say if you could--
02:40 Just a quick testimony? Yeah.
02:42 Okay, first of all mine pales by comparison.
02:46 I thought I grew up in an extremely
02:47 dysfunctional environment but when I listen to your story
02:51 mine pales by comparison.
02:52 But my parents were divorced when I was 4 years old.
02:56 My father got custody of me.
02:58 My mother got custody of my baby sister
03:00 who was 3 months old.
03:02 And we moved thousand miles away.
03:05 Moved in with my grandparents
03:07 and then my father was a commercial pilot.
03:09 So he ended up leaving and I was left with grandparents.
03:12 My grandmother wanted me, my grandfather didn't. But--
03:15 And you kind of know that as a kid.
03:17 Oh, yeah, you'd really know that as a kid.
03:19 And so here I am, you know,
03:21 about 5 years old at this point
03:22 and just felt like I didn't belong.
03:26 And according to my grandmother,
03:27 letters that my grandmother sent,
03:29 I found out that I cried myself to sleep every night
03:32 for my mother and my baby sister.
03:34 So my father was killed in a plane crash
03:37 when his own plane, it went down when I was six.
03:41 I was reunited with my mother who remarried.
03:44 Reunited as far as going back
03:46 and living with her. Going back.
03:47 I went back to live with my mother
03:49 but I felt a certain estrangement
03:52 from the family and my stepfather didn't want me.
03:57 I was somebody he had not planned on, bargained for.
04:02 So my mother ended up divorcing him
04:04 and then she was single till I was 13.
04:07 She married an alcoholic man.
04:09 He was an engineer. He was very abusive.
04:12 You know, I want to go back to the point
04:13 where you end up going back
04:15 and did you ever have a sense of,
04:19 they really could send me away at any point?
04:20 You'd been--do you know what I mean?
04:22 It's like am I gonna stay here?
04:25 Are you guys gonna keep me?
04:27 I grew up with a great fear of abandonment
04:29 and because of that I was a perfectionist.
04:34 And I tried to do everything perfect.
04:36 I was always performance oriented.
04:38 You know, if I can just do
04:40 more people are gonna love me.
04:41 And they're gonna keep me. Yes.
04:43 And I was a straight A student
04:44 and it was like you don't make a B.
04:46 You know, you wouldn't dare think to make a B.
04:49 It was an interesting thing because
04:52 I think especially when my mother remarried.
04:54 My mom was a neat lady.
04:57 She was different.
04:58 You know, she stayed up till 2 o'clock every night.
05:02 When I was in first grade I got myself off to school
05:05 and I had to be very quiet, not to wake up
05:06 my mother and my baby sister.
05:08 So my life was different because my mom was different.
05:12 What I didn't know is my mother was bipolar
05:14 because when she started really exhibiting this,
05:18 when she married the alcoholic
05:19 she decided if you can't beat him, join him.
05:21 And so she started drinking real heavily.
05:24 Self medicating more than likely.
05:27 Yeah. And so here we've got--you know,
05:30 I have this abusive stepfather who is an alcoholic
05:33 and I just feel-- I mean we moved.
05:36 Every 6 months I was in a different school,
05:38 every semester for 3 years.
05:41 And you feel like, you know, I became very timid,
05:46 very withdrawn and very quiet.
05:49 And things at home were a wreck.
05:50 I want you to talk about because a lot of people
05:53 never talk about what happens when a parent is struggling
05:56 with a mental illness or with bipolar
05:58 or with any of that kind of stuff.
06:00 Is it--your home life is really different, you know.
06:03 And you learn to adapt to a crazy kind of environment
06:08 but that environment becomes your norm.
06:11 I think for me the hardest thing
06:13 was that I can remember times in my life--
06:16 I loved my mother very much, you know.
06:18 And once she was finally diagnosed
06:20 and went on medication
06:22 she could be pretty normal for a couple of years at a time
06:25 but she would then go off of medication purposely.
06:28 So we went through-- every 2 years
06:30 we would go through about 3 month spell
06:32 where it was literally insanity at home.
06:36 But what hurt me the most
06:39 I think is the advice of my grandparents.
06:41 My mother grew up in a very dysfunctional environment
06:44 and my grandparents were pillars of the community.
06:49 A lot of people didn't know what went on in their home
06:51 but what hurt me the most was my grandparents would say,
06:54 "You know, you cannot tell anyone what's going on.
06:57 You don't want anyone"-- there was this shame.
06:59 It wasn't business and... Yes, yes.
07:01 And so-- What would they think?
07:03 Here I was as a teenager trying to handle this at home
07:07 because they wouldn't help me handle her.
07:09 And when I say handle her,
07:10 what does 15 or 16-year-old do, you know?
07:13 You really don't know what to do. And--
07:16 When you say handle her, color that for us.
07:18 What does that mean?
07:20 Oh, well, I would come home from school
07:23 and she always took it out on me.
07:26 I was evidently very much like my father
07:29 and so this was something
07:30 that--I know my mother loved me.
07:32 There was never a question.
07:34 But there was complete disparity in the way
07:36 I was treated and the way my sister was treated.
07:39 Because I would, you know--my sister who did,
07:42 by the way, take the drug addict route.
07:45 I mean the way she handled all this dysfunction
07:47 was to become an addict. Right, she's got right.
07:49 But for me I just kept trying to be perfect.
07:53 And my mother would tell me,
07:54 "You know, you never needed me as a child.
07:58 You've always been perfect
07:59 and that's why I love your sister more."
08:01 So when she would have these episodes,
08:04 any animosity she felt toward my father came out to me
08:09 and it all ended up on me.
08:11 So you get this barrage of stuff.
08:13 It's like-- Oh, yeah.
08:14 Because I mean, you know, I'm--
08:16 I mean it doesn't-- I don't want to paint
08:19 a horrible picture of my mother but I've been pulled around
08:22 the house by the hair on my head.
08:23 I've been pretty--you know, things would get very intense
08:27 and my mother was the type that could cycle
08:30 and be at a manic phase and 30 minutes later
08:33 be down in the dumps and in a manic phase.
08:35 And she'd go for weeks without sleep
08:37 which meant I went for weeks without sleep.
08:39 And, you know, what I think-- Because I wasn't allowed.
08:41 What I think is really interesting about a household
08:44 is in the middle of that craziness
08:46 because you are taught to not take that family business
08:49 outside the door at all, if somebody knocked
08:52 on the door or called on the phone
08:54 all of a sudden everything's normal.
08:55 Oh, absolutely.
08:56 And even if I went to the psychiatrist with her,
08:58 when she'd get in front of the psychiatrist
09:00 and I'm--oh, I was so frightened to say anything
09:03 because she's sitting there giving me dirty looks
09:05 while we're talking with him like
09:06 "don't you dare say anything."
09:08 And I'm sitting there pleading with my eyes
09:10 like "please help me," because it was--
09:12 when I say handle her, it was left to me
09:15 to try to either get her back on her medication
09:18 or get her into a hospital, even as a teenager.
09:20 My grandparents wouldn't step there.
09:22 And her psychiatrist, she would go and act
09:25 barely normal in front of him and he'd say,
09:27 "Oh, let her go off medication.
09:29 She's having a little fun."
09:30 And I think a little fun, you know,
09:32 I've nearly been killed.
09:34 I've nearly--I'm going through just sleep deprivation
09:39 and she would hallucinate when she would go through
09:41 her sleep deprivation. Exactly.
09:42 So things were not pleasant at home.
09:45 And, you know, what's interesting
09:48 is when somebody says, you know,
09:49 my story is nothing like yours and not as bad as yours.
09:53 I think it's all-- it's all dysfunction.
09:56 Do you know what I mean? I think that, you know,
09:58 when I hear your story I think
09:59 that you really did learn to survive in a situation
10:03 where a lot of people like your sister
10:06 would just totally escape.
10:07 One thing when you said about reaching out to people,
10:10 I remember when I was in junior high school
10:13 and it had been 3 weeks, there had been no sleep at our house.
10:16 It had been just insanity.
10:18 And I--my--I was-- we'd just gone through
10:22 the divorce from this stepfather
10:25 and so I just was in a brand new school
10:27 and my biology teacher came to me
10:30 and dressed me down in the hallway.
10:32 And she said "I don't understand you."
10:34 She gave a pop quiz every morning.
10:36 She was my last class.
10:38 And so whatever assignments
10:41 she gave there was no studying when I got home.
10:44 There was no studying. There was no quiet place.
10:46 Because there was no quiet place
10:48 and then I've had to do the rest of my homework.
10:50 I did have one study period
10:52 that I had to do my written homework,
10:54 but she would give me this assignment.
10:56 And I'd always be a day behind.
10:58 And so these pop quizzes,
11:01 I was making bad grades on the pop quizzes.
11:03 And she said "You're the brightest
11:05 student in my class.
11:06 Why are you so lazy?"
11:08 And I'm sitting there just so sleep deprived.
11:10 I look like rocky raccoon
11:12 and everything in me I wanted to cry out,
11:15 "Please help me. You know,
11:16 I don't know what to do with my mother."
11:18 Will somebody help me? Will somebody help me?
11:19 But there was that code of silence
11:21 that you don't speak about the elephant in the room.
11:24 Do you know out of all of the people,
11:27 even in the café are viewing, there's so many people
11:31 that know that code of silence.
11:32 There's so many families that know
11:34 that when you walk outside this door
11:36 what happens here stays here.
11:39 And so, you know, I would love to hear,
11:41 'cause, you know, I know you as this incredible woman of God
11:45 in a loving relationship, all of that kind of stuff.
11:48 So, you know, how did you--how did that--
11:52 how did you survive and how did you find God?
11:55 You know, because--was God in the picture at that time?
11:58 My mother believed in God.
12:00 She didn't go to church because she was divorced.
12:02 We grew up in Church of Christ
12:03 and they almost taught that that was unpardonable sin.
12:06 So she would not go to church.
12:08 Almost shunned when you get a divorce?
12:10 Absolutely, absolutely.
12:11 So my grandfather did take us to church
12:14 when we were young.
12:15 And I was in love with Jesus Christ.
12:19 I was, and as a teenager that's the only thing
12:22 that got me through is that I was there every time
12:25 the church doors opened.
12:26 And what is it about the promises of God
12:29 or who you knew God to be that comforted that child?
12:33 I think I knew that Jesus loved me because He died for me.
12:36 I didn't--I had a very tainted picture of the father,
12:40 a very tainted picture.
12:41 I thought that like everyone else I knew
12:44 that I was taught that I had to be perfect
12:46 for God to love me, the Father.
12:48 And that God was just up there on His throne
12:51 watching and waiting to see me do something wrong
12:55 and then He was gonna zap me out of the picture.
12:57 But not Jesus. But not Jesus.
12:59 I always felt--you know, Hebrews 1:3,
13:02 I remember when the Lord started
13:04 turning things around for me is when I found Hebrews 1:3.
13:08 And I read that many times because as a teenager
13:11 I read my Bible, the New Testament.
13:14 We were a New Testament Christian church.
13:16 So I'd read the New Testament
13:18 couple of hundred times probably as a teenager.
13:21 And I'd always focus on the second part of Hebrews 1:3
13:25 that talks about that Jesus upholds
13:28 everything by His mighty Word of power.
13:31 And so I thought man,
13:33 the Word of God is powerful, you know.
13:35 And Jesus can uphold me by His Word.
13:38 But I missed the first part, for some reason in my mind
13:41 till I was probably 28 years old,
13:45 that it says in Hebrews 1:3,
13:48 that Jesus is the exact expression of the Father.
13:52 He's the out ring, He's of the divine.
13:54 So everything that Jesus is, God, the Father is.
13:59 So all of a sudden I started realizing that God
14:03 was just as loving and compassionate
14:06 and merciful and that God,
14:08 the Father revealed Himself to us through His Son
14:13 coming here to represent His character,
14:16 to let us see this is who I am.
14:18 They're exactly the same.
14:20 And that totally changed the way my experience was,
14:26 because I had had--I mean I was--when I say
14:30 I worked toward perfection I never gave
14:33 anyone any excuse, anyway.
14:36 I mean I did everything right.
14:39 And I'm not saying that I didn't get some really bad spankings,
14:42 but they weren't-- it'd be like if I lost $10
14:46 at the--I remember once I was getting vegetables
14:49 and I laid $10 down there as I was picking up
14:52 the vegetables and walked away and came back
14:54 and it was gone and I got a really bad spanking.
14:57 Or if my mother couldn't find us
14:58 and she'd give me a really bad spanking.
15:01 And we might be two houses down
15:02 but--but I never gave anybody excuse to spank me.
15:08 I never gave anybody--I wanted to be loved by everybody.
15:11 You lived up to all of that pressure.
15:14 I lived up. I can remember when I was in high school
15:16 there was a girl that was a gang leader
15:19 and I found out that she didn't like me.
15:21 And I'm thinking how can she not like me.
15:23 And I went to her and I said
15:25 "What have I ever done to you that you wouldn't like me?"
15:27 And she says, "Well, you're so snobby.
15:29 You don't speak to me when you go down the halls."
15:31 And I thought I would never intentionally ignore somebody.
15:35 So then I went out of my way to win her friendship
15:38 because I had to be loved.
15:40 I wanted so much to be loved.
15:42 That's so much pressure.
15:43 And Jesus didn't give you that pressure.
15:45 God didn't give you that pressure.
15:47 So when you said that you were raised with,
15:50 you know, some of that and that starts
15:53 kind of getting you through, especially it had to get you
15:57 through some of those teenage years, you know.
15:59 And so were you back in church at that time?
16:02 Did you--did you come-- were you going to a building
16:05 or was it just kind of what was left over
16:07 from being at grandmother's house?
16:08 No, I was going.
16:10 There was a church--our church
16:11 was just about a block or two away.
16:13 So I went there every time the door was open.
16:15 And we had a wonderful pastor.
16:17 Did you talk to anybody about this craziness?
16:19 It's like, you know, to me I look at this child
16:22 and I think, man, is there--nobody.
16:25 Nobody. Nobody had a clue.
16:27 Well, I think there's a few of my friends
16:29 that came in when my mother might be drunk
16:31 or something and that was terribly embarrassing
16:33 if she's bouncing off the walls.
16:34 But, you know, you downplayed all of that.
16:37 But what happened was after college,
16:41 I think--when I went to school I thought, man,
16:44 I love God to just take care of myself, hallelujah.
16:46 And I was working my way through school
16:49 and after school I kind of went through
16:53 my little rebellious period when I walked in the ways of world.
16:56 I can't even imagine that, Shelley.
16:58 Don't even tell me that.
17:00 It's too much for me. Yeah.
17:02 But, you know, at the same time
17:03 and I've got-- I want to go back
17:05 and just say your sister is jumping into drugs.
17:08 She's using--and she really got lost in drugs.
17:11 So you've got that going on.
17:12 You went off to college with that whole thing.
17:15 Mom is kind of doing better because she is on medication.
17:19 She's staying on them longer.
17:20 Sister is not doing well and now you're in college
17:22 just taking care of yourself.
17:24 Yeah, because I had been my mother's mother
17:25 since I was 13 and I'd been my--tried to be my sister's.
17:28 I tried to intervene and tell them she is doing drugs.
17:31 Nobody would believe me and I would catch her
17:34 so she and I had a bad relationship
17:36 which the Lord has totally mended.
17:39 You know, because my sister, praise the Lord,
17:41 after over 15 years of doing-- what do they call, hard ball.
17:45 Well, but it was hard ball where you combine the cocaine...
17:49 Speed balls, yeah. Speed balls,
17:50 where you combine this cocaine and the heroin.
17:55 God delivered her overnight, literally.
17:58 When she just said if it's true what my sister says,
18:02 you know, that I can come to you and say forgive me
18:05 and I can say Lord, I'm tired of living like this
18:08 and fill me with your Holy Spirit.
18:09 And He did.
18:11 And I mean she's been drug free for 25 years.
18:14 I remember that whole time that you were just saying
18:17 I don't know and is she gonna survive this.
18:20 Oh, yeah. And now she is.
18:23 She's probably watching.
18:24 Yeah, she will be watching.
18:26 She loves this program.
18:27 I know she will be watching.
18:29 Just want to say hi. And we're so close.
18:31 We talk everyday, you know.
18:33 But, you know, could you imagine growing up,
18:36 she jumps into drugs.
18:37 She jumps into all that kind of stuff
18:39 and she's looking at you as the perfect sister, you know.
18:42 It's like what do you think you are, you know,
18:44 and I could imagine for a while just kind of pushing
18:48 you guys further and further apart.
18:49 Well, and plus I tried to police her.
18:52 You know, I tried to be the one
18:53 that was watching what she was doing.
18:55 So yes, we were. We were quite distanced.
18:59 But she knew she could always call on me
19:02 if she needed help.
19:03 And I actually enabled her for some years, you know,
19:05 thinking like by paying her rent,
19:07 I'd keep her off the streets.
19:08 And I didn't realize I was just--I was enabling her
19:11 to do more drugs and spend her money on drugs
19:14 rather than paying her rent.
19:15 It is hard to know that because it's hard to know
19:17 the difference between loving somebody
19:19 and kind of allowing them to stay in their lifestyle.
19:22 And when you pull back it feels so cruel.
19:25 This sounds so mean. What if she doesn't?
19:28 And, you know, we ask ourselves
19:29 all those questions and I get calls like
19:32 that all the time is what's the difference.
19:34 You know, tough love is tough on the people who--
19:36 It's tougher on you guys, yeah.
19:38 But let me kind of fast forward this because
19:40 my walk with the Lord
19:42 was kind of like up the down escalator.
19:45 I would just go forward with God and then I would stop
19:48 and then if you don't keep progressing,
19:49 you find yourself going back down.
19:51 Then I'd go forward with God.
19:53 So there was this kind of roller coaster
19:55 Christian walk of mine.
19:57 And I met J.D. Quinn and J.D. had been--
20:04 You know I love him. Oh, yeah.
20:06 Everybody-- everybody loves my husband.
20:08 Everybody does.
20:09 But he'd been brought up as a Seventh-day Adventist.
20:12 But when I met him he wasn't going to church.
20:15 And he'd been an elder by the age of 21
20:18 but it was kind of a cultural thing,
20:20 more than-- I mean somehow
20:21 it was rules without relationship
20:24 and that always results in rebellion.
20:26 So at age 25 he'd just kind of quit going to church.
20:29 And he's good at business. He was--
20:30 Oh, he was a great businessman
20:32 so he just kind of evolved away from it.
20:34 And when we met I told him well,
20:36 I'm not gonna date anybody that doesn't go to church.
20:38 So he started coming to church with me and it was like,
20:41 wow, there's a lot of energy.
20:42 By this time I had studied my way out of Church of Christ
20:45 into a non-denominational arena.
20:47 And he's going, wow, there's a lot of energy
20:51 and this is interesting.
20:52 So we marry and very active in the church, very active.
20:59 And J.D. went with me all the time to church.
21:03 I didn't know till just a few years ago
21:06 when they were interviewing us on 3ABN
21:08 that all the time he was feeling guilty
21:10 because he's going to church on Sunday.
21:13 And that Sabbath truth was in him.
21:16 But what happened was I--God--I had an illness
21:23 in 1995 and that's when God taught me the power of His Word.
21:28 I mean really, I'd been so sick for 8 months
21:30 that my mother tried to commit suicide
21:32 a number of times.
21:34 And I--you know, you're always cleaning up
21:36 after that and trying to save her.
21:38 And I got to the point where finally
21:41 I'd been so sick for 8 months with just 24/7 vertigo.
21:46 I mean it was--vertigo is that condition
21:49 where you feel like your whole world twirling but mine--
21:51 And you couldn't even stand up.
21:53 I could hardly stand up, you know.
21:56 And this had been 8 months.
21:57 You're nauseated. You can't eat.
21:59 You can't read the Bible.
22:00 I mean your eyes won't focus.
22:02 And God really impressed upon me
22:05 that His Word was life to me
22:08 and that I needed to get into the Word
22:10 and trust His promises.
22:12 You know what I'd like to do,
22:14 because I know where you're gonna go,
22:16 because I love you and we're friends,
22:18 so I want to go to break,
22:20 come in to start your second half
22:22 so we don't have to interrupt any of this next part.
22:26 And so, you know, if you want to hear the rest of it,
22:28 if you want to hear what happened,
22:29 how God jumped in, even how Shelley
22:32 survived this vertigo,
22:34 you're gonna have to come back.


Revised 2014-12-17