Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Connie Gilbert
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR000127B
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues
00:03 related to addictive behavior.
00:05 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:06 may be too candid for younger children.
00:14 Welcome back, you know,
00:15 I can't get over this scripture.
00:16 I just got to say it one more time
00:18 but in a different version,
00:19 so I wanted to say Romans 2:4 is...
00:24 Man, I just love this
00:25 but it says in a different version
00:28 amplified "Or do you have no regards
00:31 for the wealth of His kindness."
00:33 And so could you imagine
00:34 the wealth of the kindness of God,
00:37 it's just, it's ridiculous
00:38 and the tolerance and patience that He has
00:42 for each of us in withholding His wrath.
00:45 I really believe that sin causes a reaction in God
00:49 that it's really tough for Him to watch
00:52 as we destroy ourselves.
00:53 It's really tough for Him to watch us die or hurt others
00:57 and all of that kind of stuff so,
00:58 you know, He withholds all of that
01:00 because of the blood of Christ and because of redemption.
01:04 I don't know about you
01:06 but I wanna say, "Amen" at end of the show.
01:07 We don't need anything more but that's not true,
01:10 I want you to meet Connie, "Are you actually unaware
01:14 or ignorant of the fact that's God's kindness
01:18 leads us to repentance."
01:23 Unaware, are we ignorant of that,
01:25 that is to change your inner self,
01:27 your old ways of thinking to seek after a purpose in life
01:30 that His kindness tells all that kind of stuff,
01:33 the Bible talks about repentance is a gift.
01:35 I can't muster it up, I can't figure it out
01:37 and there was a king,
01:40 I don't know if they actually know
01:42 who wrote this letter
01:44 but they think one of the kings in the old testament
01:46 wrote this thing on repentance and he was so shocked
01:50 that everything he had done in his kingdom,
01:52 everything that he'd done in his life
01:53 and he was really bad, I mean, he was just a bad guy
01:57 and when he finally troops into the love of God
02:00 and God gives him the gift of repentance
02:03 and he can turn everything around
02:04 and hand all of this stuff that he had done to God,
02:07 he said "How could I thank you for that,
02:10 how could I thank you for that
02:11 because I couldn't have made it any different
02:14 and in fact, I can repent
02:16 and surrender it is absolutely huge.
02:18 So I wanna introduce you to my guest Connie,
02:20 Connie Gilbert.
02:23 You are amazing to me
02:25 and the first time I think I heard about you
02:28 was from a book that you wrote called "Scared."
02:32 Secrets. Sacred secrets.
02:34 Shedding the shackles of my shame.
02:36 And when you say, you know,
02:38 shedding the shackles of my shame,
02:41 that's huge and that's exactly what we're talking about today
02:43 so I want you to introduce yourself
02:47 and just start to let us know where do you come from,
02:50 who are you?
02:52 Okay, my name is Connie Gilbert and I come from a family
02:57 that knew dysfunction on every level.
03:01 I'm talking about physical, emotional, mental, sexual,
03:07 yeah and it was pure hell for me growing up.
03:10 So when in for a lot of people, they don't get that,
03:14 it's that when you walk into your home
03:17 and on every level, yeah,
03:20 you're, you're, what you're seeing,
03:21 what your norm is 'cause this is you're norm,
03:24 this is what you think the world is, is so crazy,
03:28 Yes, and actually what that does it creates a lot of fear.
03:33 So I grew up in fear
03:35 you know, what is it gonna be today,
03:38 what's gonna happen while I'm gone,
03:40 what's gonna happen when I come home?
03:42 You know, it was hell.
03:45 Yeah, you know, at one time
03:48 and this is a crazy thing to say
03:51 but I was in psych class, I was getting a nursing license
03:55 and, I mean, the psych class
03:57 and they said that they did these studies
03:59 and the studies were,
04:00 they were checking out people that did psych testing
04:03 and it's called a MMPI
04:05 and different categories of people were tested
04:07 but now we have computers, so they put in the test
04:10 and they were trying to figure out,
04:12 what group is like another group, right,
04:14 and they found that kids
04:17 from dysfunctional abusive homes
04:19 tested almost the same
04:21 as people concentration camps that were facing were death.
04:26 That's what I said, I said, you know,
04:28 when you said you were terrified and that or fear
04:30 but when all of sudden I saw that in that report,
04:34 is that you as a kid,
04:35 you didn't know for one moment to another,
04:39 how you were gonna survive that moment,
04:41 I've gotta be on guard all the time,
04:42 I've gotta have my wits about me at all of the time,
04:45 I need to know what's the most
04:49 or the least hurtful situation right now for me.
04:53 Right, and how to move, you know, should I not say this
04:57 or should I not do this or that,
05:00 you know, and it's amazing that comparison
05:03 because I can be laid to death.
05:06 Actually I didn't think I would make it to adulthood,
05:09 I thought that, you know,
05:12 my life would end before I could even become an adult.
05:16 That I wouldn't make it at the hands,
05:18 of course, of my father.
05:20 All right and so when you talk about your father,
05:23 can you give us a situation of what the abuse was like
05:27 and what did it look like?
05:32 For example, after we went to bed that night
05:37 and he wasn't there and he will come home,
05:41 we would hear the car pull up, you know,
05:44 and immediately I would start trembling,
05:47 you know, it's like, oh, oh, is he gonna beat us tonight,
05:50 is he gonna beat my mother tonight,
05:52 you know, are we gonna be first
05:55 or is she gonna be first, you know...
05:57 And you're already in bed, already settled.
06:00 Oh, absolutely.
06:01 And he would come in and, you know,
06:04 we hear his foot steps and he would come in
06:06 and turn the light on
06:07 and he would tell us all to get up and line us up
06:11 and we would take our beatings, you know...
06:17 For, nothing, you know, he couldn't drink,
06:23 when ever he drinks, he would go into these rages,
06:26 you know, and he would just beat us
06:28 because he was angry, you know,
06:30 so and as such how I grew to hate him.
06:33 Right. I hated him.
06:36 You know, I've got to say
06:38 when you talk about as a child you grew to hate him.
06:41 I think what's crazy as a child,
06:44 how old do you remember first hating him?
06:49 So 11 years old and we could already in our mind,
06:53 tell me if this isn't true rehearse murder.
06:57 Yes, I thought that I was going to kill him one day.
07:01 Yeah. Yes, I said it.
07:03 I said, God, but you know what, you didn't want that from me,
07:06 you didn't want that,
07:07 he intervened with that but I knew I said,
07:10 when I turned 18, this is going to stop
07:14 because I began to realize
07:15 that I have rights as a human being
07:18 but I was so messed up in the head
07:20 from the dysfunction that I didn't even realize
07:22 that I'm a human being and this is not normal
07:26 and it has to stop and I'm gonna stand up to him
07:29 when I turned 18.
07:31 It has to stop.
07:32 So it was that, that was that you're only abused growing up?
07:38 You mean from at his end? No. No.
07:40 No, he made us take drugs, you know, there was sexual,
07:46 there were some sexual, you know,
07:48 'cause he didn't know his borderlines,
07:50 yeah, he had a lot of issues...
07:52 When somebody says that,
07:53 I know that for a normal person,
07:55 they really feel like that is crazy,
07:59 that is crazy and, you know, it's hard to believe
08:02 but I know parents that have given meth to their kids
08:05 to shot up with their kids,
08:07 definitely smoked weed with their kids
08:09 and you've gotta just stop for a minute.
08:12 If you are a parent doing that, the grace of God is for you.
08:18 God is for you so don't shame yourself right now,
08:21 we're not even talking about this, Connie,
08:23 I know to shame anybody.
08:25 We're just saying this is how it is.
08:27 This is some of us literally walk through some stuff
08:30 that is so crazy that to survive
08:34 is absolutely a miracle.
08:38 So you've got a dad that's beating you,
08:40 he's offering you drugs or it's definitely sexual abuse,
08:42 you've got other family members that are crazy
08:44 as in their dysfunction because kind of,
08:48 once that every thing is in motion,
08:50 everybody kind of plays their roles.
08:52 Exactly and that was our reality,
08:55 you know, and I remember thinking to myself,
08:57 "Whoa, if there was a God then why he is allowing this."
09:02 You know, but as a child and you do think as a child.
09:06 You know, and of course, as I grew in understanding
09:10 then I realized that I can't hate him,
09:14 you know, so...
09:16 We're gonna get to that. Okay.
09:17 So even when you talk about, even as a child
09:22 there is sometimes that you looked up and said,
09:24 "I know this isn't right and know this isn't normal."
09:28 Did you have anybody that said
09:30 there was a God or there was a way out?
09:31 Did you have any voice of reason in your life?
09:35 Yes, there was a neighbor.
09:36 I remember her and she is the one that said,
09:40 you know, "Well, God loves you" and I questioned that,
09:44 at 12 years old I said, "Well, if there is a God,
09:46 why is he allowing us to be treated the way that we are."
09:52 You know, and of course, at that time...
09:55 Cause even you're neighbor knew...
09:56 Oh, yeah. That something's happening.
09:58 You know, hear the yelling, hear the craziness,
10:00 know all that kind of stuff.
10:02 They knew, the family knew, the neighbors knew,
10:05 that's why it wasn't a secret.
10:06 Yeah. Yeah.
10:08 So as you're talking to this neighbor,
10:12 what did she say?
10:13 Do you remember anything
10:15 that really kind of stuck with you?
10:16 Yeah, that was that God loves you,
10:19 God loves you and right now
10:21 I don't have all the answers for you,
10:23 you know, I can't stop the abuse
10:26 but someday you will understand.
10:29 You'll know. Yes.
10:31 And I love when somebody's that honest with us
10:34 'cause I think that,
10:36 that we are somehow under the illusion
10:40 that I just have to say a scripture or two,
10:42 I just have to pray for someone and their whole life changes
10:45 and sometime their life doesn't changes for years.
10:47 We are in bondage like you said,
10:49 shackled by the shame,
10:51 I mean, it's a huge thing and so but as a kid,
10:55 someone decided to look at you and look at you with hope.
11:01 That look, let me just talk to somebody out there now.
11:05 That look, can you could be with somebody a minute
11:09 and 20 years later, they would get strength from that look
11:13 to change your life.
11:14 So man, don't think that you have to do it all
11:16 or say it all but if you see somebody in trouble,
11:19 man, let them know.
11:21 I don't have the answers,
11:23 I wish I could do something right now
11:26 but you gotta know there is a God.
11:29 So you didn't change at 12? Oh, no.
11:32 So what happened? You know, the abuse continued.
11:36 Up until I was about 18 years old
11:40 and that's when I stood up to him and I said,
11:43 you know, this has got to stop, you know,
11:47 but there was so much that had transpired,
11:50 you know, through the years, so much that was bottled up,
11:55 you know, that I just began to just function
12:01 in the dysfunction, you know, what I mean...
12:03 Were you still in school, still doing all that stuff?
12:05 I was, well, of course, I was out of high school
12:09 then attempting to go to college but you know what,
12:12 I was so messed up, I couldn't go to school.
12:15 I was so messed up because things were,
12:18 we were still in it, you know,
12:19 my parents were still together and so I couldn't do it,
12:24 I just couldn't do it, I had no peace.
12:27 I just, you know, what I just love about you
12:30 'cause, you know, I was one of those kids,
12:34 is that I don't think the world has any idea
12:36 when you walk around and try to be as normal as you can be
12:40 and then you walk it to the home
12:41 in that much dysfunction,
12:43 it is like two different universes.
12:46 Worlds. Yeah.
12:47 Yes, and I was still living in it
12:49 and trying to function in a world,
12:50 it's like not having the proper tools to go out
12:54 and be a functioning person in society successfully,
12:59 you know, it just wasn't happening for me.
13:02 So what was your drug use
13:04 and that kind of stuff at this time?
13:06 At that time, it was marijuana.
13:08 Okay, just smoking some weed.
13:10 Yeah, that was it, yeah.
13:12 And I didn't venture into cocaine until my...
13:16 later when they got it, in my late 20s.
13:19 That's unusual to jump in that lane?
13:22 Yeah, it was the late 20s, also by 25,
13:25 I started fooling with the cocaine.
13:27 Did you leave home at 18? No, I didn't.
13:32 Yeah, I want to shake you but I know, it's almost like,
13:35 would like again when we really,
13:39 we don't know how to walk away,
13:40 we don't know how to do anything
13:42 like you try to set some boundaries at 18 like,
13:44 you know, for some reason you put that in your head
13:46 like you're not gonna hurt me anymore.
13:48 But the reason is because I felt
13:50 I was my mother's protector.
13:52 So I didn't wanna leave her or my siblings
13:54 because at this point I'm the oldest at home...
13:58 You see, so I felt an obligation to them
14:00 and it's like where am I going, you know,
14:03 what am I gonna do?
14:04 No, I have to stay with my mother,
14:06 I have to protect her because she's still with this abuser.
14:12 So you are there,
14:16 what did your journey look like from there
14:20 'cause now you're kind of stepping out
14:21 into the world on your own.
14:23 Attempting to, you know,
14:28 Cheri, I was so messed up, I couldn't even hold...
14:31 What is messed up look like?
14:35 You said that for few times. Right, my self-esteem.
14:38 It wasn't the drugs that it damaged me,
14:41 it was the abuse that had me so damaged emotionally,
14:45 you know, I was a nervous wreak
14:47 and so it took to try to hold on a job,
14:51 I just couldn't do it.
14:53 I really needed help at that point in my life,
14:56 you know, but of course, I wasn't seeking it,
15:00 you know, I wasn't seeking help
15:02 because I felt like I had to be there with mother,
15:05 I had to protector her, you know,
15:08 and I felt so inadequate, I felt so inadequate,
15:11 my self-esteem was shot, you know so...
15:15 I'm gonna tell you something about me
15:17 and tell me if you can relate to it.
15:19 I get offered drugs, somebody says just stop taking drugs,
15:22 you're gonna be normal, right.
15:23 I got offered drugs, I was crazy, I was crazy,
15:27 not normal but I remember I meet my husband
15:32 whose dad's an ambassador for the United States,
15:35 mom's a violinist, she teaches at the University
15:37 and I could not speak in front of him.
15:41 I could not speak in front of them,
15:42 I would go to symphony functions
15:44 because he was a trumpet player and I would shake so much
15:49 or have so much anxiety as I would have to leave
15:52 and he would even say, "I can't have you in my life
15:56 'cause for whatever reason
15:57 you can't even speak in front of normal people."
16:00 I saw somebody playing darts one time and I thought,
16:02 you know, well, I play darts
16:04 and so I can get rid of this social stuff
16:06 'cause I don't have any tools and I threw the dart
16:10 and I forgot how to add.
16:12 Oh, wow!
16:13 I know, and I'm thinking so when people say inadequate,
16:17 when people say that I just don't have that sense
16:20 and that anxiety comes up,
16:22 it's real and it's huge and it's stabilitating.
16:26 Yes, and that's what I felt, those anxieties, you know,
16:31 I remember one day, my father wanted some money
16:36 to buy more drugs, you know, he came after my mother,
16:40 you know, for money, money
16:42 and finally I said, "You know what?
16:43 She has no more money, why don't you leave her alone."
16:47 And of course, we got into this big fight
16:49 but I stood up to him
16:50 and I remember her having a nervous break down
16:54 and she ran to the bedroom
16:56 and I knew we had a gun in the house
16:57 and I ran behind my mother.
16:59 She said, "I can't take this anymore
17:01 and I'm gonna kill myself," so she grabbed the gun
17:04 and she took it to her head and I grabbed her
17:08 and I took it, the gun from her
17:10 and I remember hiding the gun and then stop, stopping
17:14 and I looked in the mirror and I was shaking like this
17:17 and I said, "God, I can't do this,
17:20 this is just to much for me,"
17:21 so I was still living with all of those anxiety
17:24 so I would have anxiety attacks,
17:26 I mean, I was trying to go to job interviews,
17:28 so I had to fill out the application, you know,
17:30 I was just totally shocked, right.
17:33 So it sounds like you went from all of that
17:36 and then jumped right into like coke
17:39 and different things that are going to appear to help
17:43 and I get that but, you know, I wanna say
17:46 and I've said on a number of programs
17:49 is that, you know, drugs, alcohol,
17:52 they are seductive lovers.
17:53 They would lie to you in ways you can't even understand
17:57 and we're feeling all that like we finally got it together,
18:01 I finally have some power, I finally have control
18:03 and I'm surrendering every last bit of control I had.
18:08 Absolutely and actually, it made me feel good
18:11 because I felt like, "Okay, I'm talking about this
18:13 so I'm must be getting better, I'm okay," you know...
18:16 I'm meeting friends, I'm hanging out with folks.
18:19 Exactly, didn't know that it was actually
18:21 just opening the door to other vices, you know,
18:26 but I just want to say that growing up,
18:32 you know, naturally we look to our mothers, you know,
18:37 to protect us and to keep us from harm,
18:41 you know, but that was one of the things
18:44 that I didn't get from my mother,
18:47 you know, I didn't get that.
18:48 I couldn't understand why she stayed
18:53 and even why today...
18:55 'Cause she's still there? Okay. No.
18:57 No, well, he is deceased, you know,
19:01 but she stayed and she stayed and she stayed
19:04 and I kept asking, you know, "Why didn't you leave?"
19:08 and that's something that she still can't answer,
19:11 she cannot answer that question.
19:13 You know I would love
19:15 if God himself could answer that question.
19:17 It's that we don't have tools,
19:19 nobody's told us that we don't deserve
19:20 to be treated like this,
19:22 we don't know that there's a world
19:24 that's safer out there,
19:25 I don't know I'm scared I won't fit anywhere
19:27 and that's how we don't move from where we're at.
19:29 So to me even with you, your mom or myself
19:33 or anybody that I worked with is,
19:36 it absolutely is we don't dare to dream about anything,
19:40 we don't think about anything, we just try to survive today.
19:45 I'm just thinking about today, so your survival became drugs.
19:48 You literally opened up a home to other world,
19:50 where did that world take you?
19:52 Ooh, well, of course, to more drug use
19:55 to drug dealing, you know, I mean, where there's drugs,
20:01 there's usually sexual, you know, parties going on,
20:04 you know, man with man, woman with woman...
20:06 Relationships with each other...
20:07 All of that stuff.
20:08 Yeah, you know, so and that's the world,
20:10 that became my life, you know.
20:15 Can you, can you, do you ever get a sense
20:17 that you just wanna tell some one
20:19 is I don't think I could have chose anything else.
20:21 I think this is what I would knew,
20:23 this is what I was groomed for since I was a little kid,
20:26 'cause somebody wants to judge
20:28 and I'm so glad like when we talk about Romans
20:30 and when we talk about God, is God said,
20:32 the angels aren't even judging right now.
20:35 There was so much damage, so much damage.
20:38 Right, because we didn't have to go to the streets,
20:41 the streets were bought to us.
20:43 Yeah, they were in my home. Yeah, so we already knew.
20:46 So that was natural for us, why wouldn't we do drugs?
20:50 You know, and so that became my life,
20:53 that seemed normal for me until I knew better.
20:56 Yeah, and when we talk about powerlessness
21:00 or control issues, as a dealer you're the one in control.
21:05 In our sexuality sometimes, we are in control.
21:09 You know what I mean. Yeah.
21:10 And it feels that way and for you
21:13 even from what I've heard Connie is that,
21:16 that sense of not being in control
21:17 and not having any of that, when you felt that power
21:23 that had to be more seductive than the drug.
21:26 Yeah, it was.
21:28 It was and to me it's like, " Okay, well, this is me."
21:32 You know, it has to be because I'm in control,
21:36 I'm in control not the drugs.
21:38 And you're not gonna hurt me.
21:39 Right, you're not gonna hurt me anymore,
21:41 you know, because I did have a issue with trusting,
21:44 you know, but that completely went out the window,
21:48 you know, so...
21:49 Within what addictions, addictions
21:51 and we have a whole teaching on our website,
21:54 if anybody wants to get in touch with us,
21:56 you know, just come to the website.
21:58 We have whole teachings on that,
22:00 is that when we step into addictions,
22:02 what I trust
22:04 is 27 minutes after I take this drug I feel better,
22:07 that's what I trust.
22:08 Do I trust this fool that I'm dating?
22:11 But this drug, I can tell you from that minute I take it,
22:16 what's gonna happen and my trust and my love
22:18 and my relationship becomes the addiction
22:21 and so it's really tough when you've got that much shame
22:25 and that much stuff is because when something works
22:28 and I get a break, I'm in love.
22:31 I was a type of addict that got high alone, you know,
22:35 and in those alone moments,
22:38 I would go back to my childhood,
22:40 you know, I would go back to the day
22:42 that I walked into the bedroom with my mother
22:45 and found my father in bed with my sister, you know,...
22:49 I can't even imagine, I can imagine the trauma
22:52 and when you said, I'm like the kind of addict
22:54 that gets high alone, it's like I don't wanna,
22:57 I'm trying to escape those things.
22:59 Yes and yet I will still going back to that, you know,
23:04 but I thought to myself,
23:05 "Well, this is a way of working it out,
23:08 if I go back and I rethink this
23:11 and so now I can come up with some valid questions
23:15 as to, why did you stay?
23:17 Why did you send her away?
23:19 Why did you stay and leave us subjective to the same abuse
23:24 when you know in fact,
23:25 that he was in bed with your daughter?
23:28 You know, and not only that, other females in the family,
23:32 you know, so he had no boundaries
23:34 and my mother knew his sickness,
23:36 she knew he was sick
23:37 and to me she felt as though I can fix him.
23:40 What did she say to you
23:42 when you said, "Why did you stay?
23:43 Why didn't you protect me?"
23:46 I don't know. Yeah.
23:48 I thought that was the best thing to do
23:49 would to be to send your sister away
23:51 because just like that,
23:52 she's out of the home and now I'm the oldest
23:55 and I'm thinking to myself,
23:57 "Well, I know she didn't do anything wrong,
23:59 why did you send her away?"
24:01 You know...
24:02 And when are you gonna send me away?
24:04 And so when I actually felt
24:07 that I had been violated during my sleep,
24:11 I got up and I went to the bathroom
24:14 and my mother was in it fixing her hair,
24:16 combing her hair doing something and I said,
24:19 "I feel like..."
24:20 and she said, "You feel like what?"
24:22 and she put fear in me
24:24 and I was afraid to tell her the truth.
24:25 I said, "Oh, I felt like I went to the bathroom on myself
24:28 but what I really wanted to say was,
24:30 I felt like I'd had sex."
24:32 I'm sick, mom.
24:34 Yeah, I felt like something had been inside me,
24:37 something, someone touched me, did something that wasn't right
24:40 but I was afraid to tell her the truth.
24:43 So in that reality,
24:45 we run as fast and as far as we can
24:48 and if we can't physically run, we'll use, we'll cut,
24:54 we'll jump into relationships and we start acting crazy
24:57 and everybody wants to say, " Hey man, look at her.
25:00 It's her fault," and so it sounds like that's exactly
25:03 what happened as you jumped into a world
25:05 that was addict controlled.
25:08 And you took control by your dealing.
25:10 Oh, yeah, and I'm like, "Oh, this is, this is the life,
25:13 you know, I can buy the clothes I want, I can,
25:17 you know, buy vehicles.
25:19 I can go here, I can do that," you know...
25:22 I can dress this little wounded child up.
25:24 Ooh, yes, and I remember one day,
25:28 after getting dressed, having my hair done
25:31 and I stood there looking in the mirror
25:33 and he said, God said, "Connie,
25:36 you're always naked in my eyes, you're always naked."
25:41 What did he mean by that
25:42 'cause he didn't mean same thing as your dad meant?
25:44 No, he meant that
25:46 no matter how you try to cover up your pain,
25:49 look, I see it.
25:51 Other people may not see it but I see how you're hurting
25:54 and I know you, I know you and I know you're hurting.
25:59 And I'm crazy about you.
26:01 Yes, and I know that God loves me.
26:03 So how did you get from all of this craziness,
26:06 all of this pain, all of this stuff to a place
26:09 where you can start to hear God in a way
26:13 that is wooing you to Himself.
26:17 I mean, how did that recovery time look round
26:20 'cause I'm thinking for you to even be here,
26:23 absolute miracle.
26:24 Yes, I got sick and tired of being sick and tried,
26:27 you know, this thing...
26:29 I was, I was like I am so tired
26:31 and I remember getting in a phonebook out
26:34 and looking for a rehab place.
26:37 nobody saying you, it's like, excuse me...
26:40 there's got to be some place I can go.
26:41 I said, I gotta get help.
26:43 I said because I'm tired of this
26:45 and I'm killing myself, you know,
26:47 and I'm not gonna be here for my children,
26:51 I had two small boys then.
26:53 Yeah, and I said I'm not gonna be,
26:54 I'm here physically but I'm not here with them.
26:57 I'm not here emotionally and mentally I'm not here,
27:00 you know, 'cause I'm still this wounded person.
27:02 They're gonna have the same life
27:03 that I had back, you know.
27:05 Exactly, you know, and I can do better,
27:07 I want to do better, I don't want this psycho to continue,
27:11 you know, so I remember looking for a rehab
27:14 and I called several numbers
27:15 and they want to put me on a waiting list
27:18 and I remember saying a praying like,
27:19 "God, I need somewhere to go today, you know and...
27:22 Don't have me wait.
27:24 No and I picked up a news paper
27:26 and on the front page was a article about a rehab center
27:29 and I called them and they told me,
27:31 I can come today.
27:34 And I picked up that phone, I called my mother, I said,
27:36 "I found a place."
27:37 And she says, it must have been on a Wednesday.
27:39 She said, "Why don't you wait till Friday."
27:41 I said, "For what?"
27:42 I said, "Just give me two more days to get out,"
27:45 I said 'cause I'm gonna do it, I said,
27:47 "No I wanna go today.
27:49 I wanna do this.
27:51 I've got to get cleaned, I wanna stop getting high
27:55 and I wanna know why?"
27:57 Amen. So you end up at a rehab place?
28:01 Yes. On Wednesday?
28:03 But you know what? I relapsed.
28:05 I went back because my,
28:10 I hadn't gotten to the end of myself,
28:12 I'm thinking, I'm exercising my will power,
28:15 I can do this, I can stop doing this drug
28:17 with a little counseling, a little spirituality,
28:20 you know...
28:21 Give me some tools, few tools. Right, I can do this.
28:23 It doesn't work that way,
28:25 you have to come to the end of yourself
28:27 and say, "You know what, God.
28:28 I need you." I can't do this.
28:30 Right, and I can't do this alone.
28:32 I'm powerless.
28:33 Right, and I need to know, I need His strength
28:37 but I wasn't relying on His strength,
28:39 I was relying on myself.
28:40 But you know what?
28:42 You know, I love when you say that
28:43 'cause as a little kid that, you know,
28:45 if you didn't rely on yourself,
28:46 you wouldn't even have been as safe as you were.
28:49 So when God says, "I've got to get this kid
28:52 that nobody has taken care of,
28:53 that nobody has done the right thing to that
28:56 she has heart to figure out
28:57 from the time she was two, three, five years old,
29:00 had to do it herself and I've got to get her to know that,
29:04 that won't work this time."
29:06 That's, you know, and I go back to Romans.
29:09 Man, God just hangs in there with us.
29:12 And says over and over and over through my kindness,
29:15 we're gonna see that, that I'll do it for you.
29:18 Yes, yes, and then when God began to be kind to me,
29:21 good to me and I knew that He was real.
29:24 It made me love Him more.
29:26 Tell me something that happened that you knew,
29:29 that this is God in me?
29:33 It's hard to think about it. There are so many.
29:35 I know. Yes.
29:37 You know, I would have to say just sparing my life,
29:42 the fact that, you know,
29:43 I would do so many of these drugs
29:45 that my brain was numb and it's like,
29:48 "Why am I still getting high?
29:49 I'm not getting any higher,
29:50 I'm actually short circuiting myself and any moment..."
29:53 And you can feel that.
29:55 Yes, 'cause you're out of touch with reality.
29:57 You know, and I'm like,
29:59 "I've got to stop this God, I've got."
30:01 And I remember praying, I said, "Lord, send some one my way.
30:05 God, please, you said that if we seek you,
30:07 if we draw near to you, you would draw near to us
30:10 and that we just search you,
30:12 that you would send some one our way."
30:15 And he did. So you know what?
30:16 I just love the fact, you know,
30:19 and I don't wanna discount anything but I love the fact
30:26 that you've got this druggy that is so high,
30:29 things are short circuiting
30:31 and I'm quoting scripture to God.
30:34 I'm saying, "God, you said."
30:37 And God listens and wants to listen.
30:40 Yes, yes.
30:41 You know, I feel like, you know,
30:43 somebody once said that's not right,
30:45 that can't be right.
30:46 Man, go back to Romans 2:4,
30:48 "Do you despise the kindness of God,
30:51 because the kindness of God says,
30:54 most people in the flesh
30:56 would not tolerate that craziness."
30:58 And God says, not only will I tolerate it
31:01 but I will be right there beside her.
31:03 Yes, because I told myself, "God, you don't even love me,
31:08 you know, God, why would you love me?
31:10 I'm a mess, you know, but I didn't know that,
31:13 that's what he wants.
31:14 The mess, he wants the mess.
31:18 I don't wanna redeem your future self,
31:19 I wanna redeem you.
31:21 Right. Yeah.
31:22 Yeah, so it was an amazing transformation for me.
31:26 So little by little, you start to, you go to rehab,
31:30 you've relapsed and for most of us
31:33 we relapse sometimes three to seven times.
31:37 It's not that we relapse once or twice...
31:39 Oh, and I did.
31:40 Okay, so if somebody says,
31:42 "Okay, I thought it was real for her
31:44 and she's gone.
31:45 No, no, it was real for her since she was a baby."
31:48 And you know what?
31:49 I continued to use drugs for over 20 years.
31:52 Oh, man.
31:53 Yes, I continue off and on to...
31:56 To know the pain that came with it.
31:58 Yep, but I had to come to the end of myself.
32:02 What was the end of self?
32:05 The end of self was saying,
32:09 "Look, look what you have attempted to accomplish
32:13 but you haven't.
32:15 But God can, God can and you can do this, Connie."
32:18 I kept saying, "You can do this,
32:21 you can" because I thought nothing what ever good,
32:24 whatever happened to me in my life,
32:26 we had so much tragedy,
32:28 you know, like nothing's good gonna happen to me.
32:31 It'll happens to other people.
32:32 Not to me, you know, I'm not special enough.
32:36 You know, but that's not what His Word says.
32:40 All right. That's not what His Word says.
32:42 He said," I saw you formed in your mother's womb"
32:45 and if you saw that,
32:46 you knew all those things about me,
32:48 then you knew I would do these things
32:50 and you knew that I will come to this point
32:52 that I will rely on you totally and surrender
32:56 and that's what got me to this point.
32:58 I just had to surrender. Amen.
33:00 So now this is my favorite part,
33:02 is what did surrender look like
33:06 and as God started showing you who you are as His child
33:13 and 'cause you've been shown a lot of garbage up until then,
33:16 a lot of lies up until then, when God started saying,
33:19 "Look, can I show you who you are?"
33:21 What was that like?
33:22 Well, you know, the more I got into His Word
33:26 is when I really began to see who God,
33:29 I really didn't know God.
33:30 I would call His name but I didn't believe no God
33:33 and there's no way I could get to know Him
33:35 unless I read His Word, so as I read His Word
33:38 then His Word began to come alive for me
33:42 and I remember the Scripture where he says,
33:45 "Your sorrows shall be turned to joy."
33:49 You know, and so that pain and that sorry, sorry,
33:52 the sorry that...
33:55 I'm so sorry.
33:56 No, no, but that pain and that junk...
33:58 Sorrow. All the sudden literally slips.
34:01 Yes, and then I began to feel the joy of the Lord
34:04 and that peace that He gave me, He said
34:07 "Just rest in me and cast your cares on me."
34:09 And I began to give Him every care that I had.
34:12 When people feel like and especially people that,
34:15 you know, I'm not, I was 10 years on the streets
34:17 so I'm not a reader and all that kind of stuff
34:19 but man, I started flipping through this Bible
34:21 the first times and I came upon this Psalms 51
34:25 and I'm just like, it was so crazy
34:29 'cause I come up on this word
34:30 and there's a line in it saying,
34:32 you know, this guy is guilty and he's killing himself
34:36 and he's depressed
34:37 and he finally screams out to God,
34:39 like I have, was born insane.
34:42 From the time that I came out of my mother's womb,
34:44 I have been lost,
34:46 whatever you decide about me is true, he says.
34:49 And I'm like, "Oh, shut up.
34:50 Whatever you write about me is true because I am guilty
34:54 and right after that he says, I'll decide you're innocent
34:57 and I'll give you a new heart and I wept like a baby.
35:00 So when you say, "I didn't know who God was
35:04 until I got in His Word,"
35:06 for some one who's listening right now,
35:07 they've got to hear that,
35:09 is nobody can tell you who God is.
35:10 It's gonna unfold with what He's given us.
35:13 Right and realize that he accepts you as you are.
35:16 Amen. That's right. As you are.
35:18 You don't have to change anything.
35:20 All you need to do is say, "You know what?
35:22 I'm gonna trust you." Yeah.
35:24 I'm gonna trust you because I know that you're not a liar,
35:30 you're not a man that you should lie.
35:31 'Cause what your Word says. 'Cause what your Word says.
35:34 I love when you say that. It's like, it's in there.
35:36 You said it. Right.
35:38 And He has never lied to me or let me down.
35:40 He's been there, you know.
35:42 And even when you said
35:44 and I'm just gonna jump in for people
35:46 that have a hard time with this,
35:47 when you said, "I don't got to change anything,"
35:50 It's really an interesting thing
35:52 to be in a love relationship
35:54 where you change without trying to change.
35:56 I change in learning to trust,
35:59 I change in settling into that kind of love.
36:02 So my behaviors change
36:03 not because I'm trying to earn His love,
36:06 it's because I have it.
36:08 Exactly and you feel it.
36:09 And you can sense His arms around you,
36:11 you know He's a caring guy, He's a caring Father.
36:15 You know, it sounds like
36:17 all of the changes in your life were amazing,
36:19 as far as finding out who you are,
36:21 who God is, when you talk about the joy, you know,
36:24 being you're strength
36:26 and coming from that kind of place of sorrow to joy.
36:30 It sounds like God kind of,
36:32 did He put you with a body of Christ?
36:34 Did He put you with a number of other people
36:36 that were on the same journey?
36:37 Did you go to church any?
36:39 You know, actually no. I didn't.
36:41 This was just something that I did alone, you know,
36:45 and sometimes that is our journey.
36:47 God just wants us alone with Himself,
36:50 you know, learning to walk with Him.
36:51 So no, I'm doing this on my own, just me and God.
36:55 Family, anybody in the family changed?
36:58 Were they nicer, did, you know...
37:00 No, and in fact I have two sisters
37:03 that are still abusing themselves
37:05 and a brother, you know, in and out of prison, you know,
37:10 he just can't get his feet on solid ground.
37:13 When he is free, he's back to the drugs and the alcohol,
37:16 you know, so I still have a lot of work to do, you know.
37:20 Right, but, you know, what I love about God
37:22 is 'cause what you're saying is that,
37:24 in the midst of all of that craziness,
37:27 not really anybody kind of standing up with me,
37:30 God was still faithful.
37:33 He still got me through that day
37:34 and the next day and the next day,
37:36 and I've hung out with you and there is joy.
37:39 I mean it is ridiculous. Yes.
37:41 I can see your love for God.
37:43 I can see your hope for the future,
37:45 all of those kind of things.
37:46 I'm gonna open it up for questions.
37:48 I'm gonna just find out
37:50 'cause I know that you upfront here.
37:52 We've got a number of people on the cafe
37:54 and I just wanna say, thank you, guys
37:56 and it's nice seeing you.
37:58 This story is crazy cool for me and so, Nikko,
38:03 do you have any questions or comments?
38:05 Yes I do.
38:07 My name is Nikko Hill and I had the same journey
38:11 as you did, Connie.
38:12 And based on that,
38:14 I'm gonna be able to share not my testimony
38:16 but God's testimony.
38:17 The power, the restoration, power of Jesus Christ
38:21 and I see that in your testimony.
38:22 My question to you is, Connie,
38:24 have you gone back to your family?
38:26 Have you gone back to your own Garden of Eden?
38:28 Have you witnessed to them the power of Jesus Christ
38:32 to your brother who is in and out of prison,
38:34 in and out of his drug addictions?
38:35 To your mother who's still on the bondage
38:38 of what went through and what she went through
38:42 by the abuse that she was taking?
38:43 Have you gone back,
38:45 have you showed them the Holy Spirit
38:46 that emanates from the inside?
38:48 Have you been a witness to your own family?
38:50 That would be my question.
38:51 Yes and...
38:53 Do they work?
38:54 Some are receptive and some aren't,
38:57 some are yes definitely...
38:59 I remember, I remember just trying to do that,
39:03 some what in my family and almost the anger and rage,
39:07 my mom said that my sister was on life support,
39:10 you know, she's a stripper and turning 15,
39:13 had DUIs and all that kind of stuff
39:15 and she is now on life support
39:17 after, you know, doing a number of drives
39:19 and her stomach kind of, just blew a hole in her stomach
39:22 and they barred me from the room with her
39:26 because they didn't want me to pray.
39:27 And my mom said to me seriously,
39:29 if I am dying, do not think
39:33 that you have the right to pray for me.
39:34 So some people when you would do that journey,
39:37 it's a, you have to some how just say,
39:39 "God, you gonna have to do it in my silent presence
39:43 because they're not hearing me,"
39:45 and God says "I got this."
39:47 Right. I got this.
39:49 Yes, because, you know,
39:50 actually my mother is still living in,
39:53 with pretence or in pretence, you know,
39:56 and that becomes a comfort zone for the other people,
39:59 you know, that's the way of functioning.
40:03 So they don't really know this new person that I am,
40:06 you know, I mean, I'm still getting to know me but...
40:10 And I tried to convey that,
40:12 "You guys don't really know who I am anymore
40:15 because see, I'm on the outside,
40:17 looking in now and I know your journey,
40:19 I know how you are suffering, I know you are in pain,
40:23 you have a wound that's need to be uncovered and cleaned."
40:28 What I'd love, I love...
40:29 thank you, Nikko, for that question.
40:31 What I love about that question
40:33 is that we really do want to bring in hope and recovery
40:37 to our family
40:39 but and I don't know about your boys,
40:41 like how are your boys doing?
40:43 They are great and I shared with them my life and I said,
40:47 "Look, this is all going in a book,
40:48 you know, I want you to know before it comes out, you know."
40:52 "Oh, mom, we already knew this, we knew that."
40:55 You know, so children know more
40:57 than what they let on that they know, you know,
41:00 but we have a healthy good loving relationship.
41:03 And what I like to say about that, it's like,
41:06 I have a daughter and now that has never done a drug,
41:10 she's just finished her Masters program,
41:12 she has an incredible career, is married to a great guy,
41:15 I mean, I love you, guys.
41:17 I love them but it's like a generational thing,
41:20 it's like the current was all going in one direction
41:23 and somebody decides to step up
41:24 and fight in the current changes.
41:26 And I'm glad to say that
41:28 because my oldest son actually suffered from a PTSD
41:34 after coming home from serving this country
41:37 and he, oh, oh,
41:39 he suffered all of the ills of the emotional trauma,
41:44 you know, but I went through what I went through
41:47 so that I could understand what he went through
41:50 but he is so much better, he got the help that he needed
41:53 and, you know, like you said...
41:55 And you have hope that he needed.
41:58 You know, I know that God is bigger than this
42:01 and I'm not saying any of it was right,
42:02 I'm not saying any of it was good,
42:04 but I know that we have a good God.
42:06 Right, and I know He didn't spare your life there
42:08 to bring you home to make ours miserable
42:11 or for you to suffer, you know,
42:13 but, yeah, He's doing wonderful,
42:15 you know, and like you said, "Someone has to stand up
42:18 and say, you know what?
42:19 This has to stop somewhere"
42:22 so that the psycho world continues to be perpetuating,
42:25 you know, it has to stop.
42:27 When you talk about that
42:28 it's like being able to say is that,
42:30 that it isn't a easy battle.
42:33 Like if I ask you, has it been an easy change for you
42:36 to come from all of that
42:38 to figuring out how are you in a,
42:41 what most people would say a normal life,
42:43 has that been easy?
42:45 No, because the truth is
42:46 you have to change the way you think.
42:49 You have to
42:50 because if you don't change the way you see things,
42:52 you'll never change you're life.
42:55 So let me just rephrase that a little bit,
42:57 I know that you're gonna hear what I'm saying.
42:59 You have to allow God to change the way you think.
43:02 You know, 'cause in the Bible, when you say
43:03 you go to the Word of God, it says,
43:05 "Can a leopard like change its spots."
43:07 You know, can you change the color of your skin
43:09 or how tall you are or how short you are
43:11 or any of that stuff.
43:12 God said," Let me worry about all that."
43:14 So I just have, I need to surrender
43:15 because God says, "We're doing a whole,
43:19 I wanna show you who you were created to be
43:21 not who you the lies turned you into."
43:23 Right, 'cause if I have the mind of Christ
43:26 then I have a renewed mind.
43:29 So do you feel today, do you feel loved?
43:32 Oh, yes, I feel loved, I feel empowered,
43:37 you know, I feel that good things can
43:41 and are happening to and for me.
43:44 Amen. Amen. Yes.
43:46 We're gonna go ahead and take a break
43:47 but I'd like you to come back
43:49 just to close this whole thing out.
43:51 Is that okay? Okay.
43:52 Okay, we'll be right back.
43:54 And if you have a question,
43:56 whether you are loved or you could make it
43:57 or whether you could love someone else under recovery,
44:00 put those questions aside
44:02 'cause God says," Yes, yes, and yes."
44:04 We'll be right back. Amen.