Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Gerri Morrison
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00064A
00:10 Welcome to Celebrating Life in Recovery
00:12 I'm Cheri your host!
00:13 Have you ever felt like you
00:15 went from up here to down in the pits and you don't know
00:18 how you got there?
00:19 We have a guest that is going to talk about her story
00:21 and how she got back, it's exciting.
00:23 Come join us!
00:52 Welcome back!
00:53 What is incredible to me is
00:55 when do you actually find,
00:57 when do you actually know you are in trouble?
00:59 With what ever your choices are, wherever your life has
01:02 taking you to, where all of a sudden you stand up and say
01:06 you know what? What happened!
01:08 And Gerri I want to say welcome to the program.
01:11 Thank you Cheri is so good to be here.
01:13 We usually don't start out with a guest sitting on the
01:17 program, I usually do a little bit of a teaching first,
01:19 but I think that what you have to say as far as where you
01:22 came from and what your passion is I want to make sure
01:24 that you have all the time you need.
01:26 So we are going to start from the very beginning.
01:28 First of all where are you from?
01:31 Colorado, southern Colorado.
01:32 It's beautiful out there! Oh it is.
01:34 You know that I am learning to socialize so I'm going to
01:37 ask you how is the weather there?
01:38 Snowy and cold.
01:40 That's funny so anyhow where did you come from?
01:44 Were you Christian and just start from the very
01:48 beginning in your family?
01:50 We were raised in a Catholic home.
01:52 My mother went to Ursuline
01:55 and my dad went to Jesuit.
01:56 We were very Catholic.
01:58 A couple of my aunts are nuns.
02:02 What is really funny is that you say very Catholic.
02:04 I'm thinking very Catholic, so you could have been a nun?
02:08 All no, no, no, no, not me!
02:10 We start out going to church as a family all time
02:15 until my parents got divorced when I was 13.
02:17 Back then it was Taboo, Taboo to get a divorce.
02:20 It was shameful.
02:21 It was very shameful, of course there were a lot more
02:23 shameful things that we learned to sweep everything
02:25 under the rug, but we were essentially booted out of
02:27 the church when I was 13.
02:28 We quit going to church.
02:30 I knew about God, but did not know God.
02:33 Then I got married.
02:35 So let me say when your parents got divorced did you live
02:39 with your mom, or lived with your dad?
02:41 Mostly with my mom.
02:42 So going back and forth sometimes?
02:44 Sometimes mom, sometimes dad.
02:46 Very different lifestyles between the two of them.
02:48 My dad was a television producer and so we had the fast lane
02:51 for Summers and that we have mom the rest of the time.
02:54 So I couldn't wait to get out the house.
02:56 Like a lot of young teenagers can hardly wait
02:59 to get out of the house.
03:00 I drank, I experimented with alcohol and pot
03:03 all through high school, but everybody else did.
03:06 Was that from home or just from school?
03:09 So when you got exposed to that?
03:10 School, probably school mostly but it seemed to be okay
03:14 at home too, we got away with it all the time.
03:16 But I did get out of the house at 19 and got married.
03:21 We started making a lot of money, too much money in
03:24 and outfitting business.
03:26 We had high dollar clientele, and our high dollar clientele
03:29 eventually introduced us to cocaine.
03:31 It seemed very socially acceptable because
03:34 it was with the right people.
03:35 I have to say with that because the lot of people,
03:37 if you are not from that lifestyle,
03:39 it's amazing how socially acceptable it is.
03:43 Even for me marrying into the arts, my husband is a music
03:48 teacher at the University.
03:50 It is amazing to me how many people actually, casually
03:53 do pot, definitely drink, and do it a few lines of cocaine.
03:59 It is like you are hip, you are successful, you are hip,
04:04 it is okay.
04:05 Well it starts out that way, like you said, just do a few
04:07 lines of cocaine here and there.
04:09 It's like the celebration at the end of a long hunting week.
04:12 A little alcohol, a little cocaine, and it was just part
04:16 of the event, will it eventually became the event itself.
04:20 Pretty soon my husband and I were doing about $300 a day.
04:23 We started freebasing cocaine.
04:26 Explain to people what freebasing is?
04:27 Because some people will not know what that is.
04:29 It is cooking cocaine into crack so that it can be smoked.
04:33 So what is really interesting, the first time I heard
04:37 you say that, I am thinking that you guys have
04:40 your own business, you are successful,
04:42 and you have the house and cars and all that
04:44 and you are smoking crack.
04:47 Making about $1 million a year and smoking crack.
04:50 The thing is this different from the street,
04:53 I read your first book and felt very connected
04:55 to you at that time.
04:57 I never made a million bucks.
04:59 It's a different thing, I had access to it.
05:02 I had the money to get it.
05:03 It wasn't a thing of not being able to get it, or having
05:06 to do something illegal to get it.
05:09 I was doing respectable things to buy my drugs and it
05:13 seemed more acceptable to me that way I think.
05:15 I justified it, that's one of the ways I used to justify
05:19 continuing with it.
05:23 When I was on the street, we could see you coming.
05:27 We could see the person that was nose diving,
05:30 all of a sudden they are making poorer choices.
05:32 They are coming and getting connections from people they
05:34 would never have talked to before and all those things.
05:38 We can see people all of a sudden start losing everything.
05:41 The business, houses and all that stuff.
05:43 What did that slide look like for you?
05:46 Because you still have the house, you still have the
05:48 business and all that stuff, what did that
05:50 slide start to look like?
05:51 Cheri, I don't even think I knew,
05:53 I was in it for a long, long time.
05:56 It got where the business wasn't important and I wasn't
06:00 doing the things I needed to do, to keep it going,
06:02 and to keep the money coming in.
06:04 But we still had enough money to get by, to get high!
06:09 To get high exactly.
06:11 Because even food at one point is not important?
06:14 Food no it wasn't.
06:16 People that loved you, there has got to be people around
06:19 you that said man, wait, something is happening.
06:22 You guys are partying too much, it's a little bit too much.
06:26 Did people around you put any warning signs up?
06:29 Holler or grab you?
06:31 Very little for a long time because we lived out in the
06:35 sticks, 11 years of no electricity.
06:39 We lived back in the sticks with a hunting camp and just
06:41 worked part time of the year, during hunting season.
06:43 So we did it by stealth for a long time without
06:46 anybody knowing it.
06:48 But the family members knew something wasn't right.
06:51 We didn't have a phone so nobody could call us and stay
06:54 in touch, I'd go to town once a month and get the mail.
06:57 I would mail letters out, but people bought books and I
07:02 heard you talk about that.
07:03 And you get all the right books on recovery.
07:06 You get a book on getting straight, getting clean on the
07:08 AA book and you always think if I read all the books,
07:11 I am going to fit in that perfect little box of being
07:13 normal, I want to be normal, that is all I wanted to do is
07:16 to just be normal.
07:17 Even while you're using you felt like you really do want to
07:22 be normal, I have a sense that my life is spiraling out of
07:26 control and I need to grab hold of some control.
07:29 I would go in and out of that.
07:32 When I was high it did not matter, but there would be times
07:34 when I need to go get more drugs to use again.
07:37 I did think about that and finally I sat down one day in
07:42 the corner and cried and thought what has happened to me.
07:45 I just had my head my hands and just wept and wept.
07:49 I did not know how people could live without drugs.
07:51 I thought how does anybody get through a day
07:53 without doing drugs?
07:55 I know that you probably understand that,
07:57 but probably a lot of people don't.
07:59 Because you are saying I would much rather do a drug
08:03 big breath right now.
08:04 Absolutely, absolutely!
08:06 I came to that point, I did not know how I got there.
08:08 I did not see that slide like you said,
08:11 I was from one point where I was normal and suddenly
08:15 found myself in the gutter.
08:17 In the absolute gutter and not knowing how to get out of it.
08:20 Not knowing any way to get out of it.
08:21 What is really interesting to me is when you said, and I
08:24 remember feeling this way, is when you wake up and you know
08:27 your very first thought is of a drug.
08:29 Your very first thought is how am I going to, and usually if
08:33 you are asleep it is because you crashed, but your very first
08:36 thought is how am I going to get this stuff all lined
08:39 out for the day.
08:40 And I can't imagine trying to do this straight.
08:43 I couldn't imagine going through a day straight.
08:45 Sometimes I wouldn't even know how long I slept.
08:47 It could have been a few days after being high for
08:49 a week or more without any sleep or any food.
08:52 How crazy did you get after a week of being up?
08:56 I finally came to the point to crash and I think it was
08:58 weakness, I lost a lot of weight, I was under 100 pounds.
09:02 I probably lost 15 to 20 pounds through that.
09:05 It was just a long summer, when we didn't have hunting
09:08 camp going on, of just using every day, every day,
09:11 every day that I was awake.
09:13 It is so the saddest thing when someone is grabbing hold
09:20 of something that is killing them, and not even seeing it.
09:22 Not even seen it, just grabbing a hold of this.
09:24 But that was all I knew, at the time, it became all I knew.
09:27 It was the only way to survive in my own skin.
09:30 Now you are at of place where you are saying God.
09:31 I can't do this anymore, I can't do this anymore!
09:34 I called my mother and said mom I'm a cocaine addict
09:37 and I need help, can I come live with you for awhile?
09:39 She was stunned, but she said yes like mothers do.
09:43 Mothers are the ones that will always pray for
09:45 you no matter what.
09:46 She let me move in with her and I got clean went
09:49 through a divorce and went through a 90 day rehab
09:52 program in Houston.
09:54 How is that? It was awesome!
09:57 Was it awesome because it is real scary,
09:59 you are saying okay I am going to grab hold of whatever I
10:04 need to grab hold of in order to get off of these drugs.
10:06 I'm going to grab hold of like when you said, mom,
10:09 mom I need to come home.
10:12 I had to get out the environment.
10:14 After the divorce and going through rehab I ended up moving
10:17 back in with my ex-husband and working in the business
10:20 because it was financially good for both of us and
10:22 I ended up using some again.
10:24 So I'm falling back, but I still don't know God,
10:26 I knew there was a God, but I did not know Him personally.
10:29 He had the 90 days behind you and you are doing less of
10:31 the drugs, so you are not using as much?
10:33 I was not using it all but it happened
10:36 a few times after that.
10:37 Then we went separate ways and were divorced and after,
10:41 hunting season we went our separate ways.
10:43 I found the Seventh-day Adventist church, got baptized.
10:48 But you just can't tell me it like that.
10:51 How, but how did you find, because what you are saying
10:56 is that somehow God came into your life,
10:58 probably during the 90 day program more.
11:00 More in the 90 day program.
11:02 Then you decided to join a church?
11:04 Um hum! What did that looked like because those are huge
11:08 steps, it just doesn't happen one day you walk
11:11 into a church building.
11:12 My mother had gotten into the church,
11:14 my mother had come into the church and she started
11:16 having someone give me Bible studies.
11:18 I was still bouncing back and forth between alcohol
11:21 and drugs and the Bible, alcohol, drugs, and the Bible.
11:24 This mad circled it doesn't seem to end,
11:27 because doing drugs and alcohol...
11:29 because God loves you in that mad bounce.
11:33 I did feel I was being drawn,
11:35 there was something else I wanted.
11:38 I was not content with what I had, even though I had
11:41 everything I could buy with money, that wasn't cutting it.
11:44 That wasn't what I wanted it wasn't satisfying that
11:46 longing in my heart, that emptiness.
11:49 I still had that even after I got clean,
11:53 I still had that same emptiness,
11:55 it hadn't fixed me at all.
11:57 I was either a sober drunk or would say a clean,
12:02 I was living clean but I wasn't on the inside.
12:05 My head was not there.
12:07 Just my body was cleaned up for a long time.
12:11 I began to be sober long enough to start reading God's Word.
12:17 He spoke to me through the pages of His word.
12:21 What were some of the things that you first were blessed by?
12:24 Do you remember?
12:26 God's Word and people that prayed.
12:28 God's Word and people that prayed!
12:30 My mother never stopped praying,
12:32 even when I was at my worst and dancing on tables for fun,
12:36 not because I needed the money, in a strip club
12:39 because it was part of our entertainment.
12:42 Doing drugs, and even when I was at my worst I had told
12:45 my mother what we were, what I was doing.
12:47 She still prayed for me, she still loved me.
12:50 People told my mother if that was my daughter
12:52 I would disown her.
12:53 My mom is like, if that was your daughter I would too,
12:55 but that is my daughter, that is my daughter and God said
12:59 that is my child, that is my child she is my child.
13:02 God had people pray for me when I couldn't pray for myself.
13:05 That is an incredible thing for your mom to say.
13:07 But it is my daughter!
13:09 It's my daughter.
13:11 That love was there, I guess a mothers love.
13:13 So she was saying, you know what I will pray until
13:15 I can't speak, till can't breathe, till I can't think.
13:18 I'm going to pray until she gets it.
13:22 And she did, she did.
13:24 I don't think mothers could ever quit praying for their
13:26 children, whoever you pray for don't ever give up,
13:28 don't ever give up.
13:29 I know that people must have prayed for you,
13:30 and people prayed for me and they didn't give up.
13:33 I have just got to say that my mom gave me to an aunt
13:36 when I was like 10 or 11 years old in Canada.
13:39 I came to Christ, and I was horrible to this aunt.
13:43 I thought I hate you, you can't keep me here,
13:45 and I want to go back to my moms.
13:48 She would say I love you and I would say I hate you.
13:50 And when she was dying I wanted to go back and say I am
13:54 sorry, because I was horrible and I had become a Christian.
13:57 She said from the time that you left I prayed for you
14:01 everyday of your life.
14:03 I knew at that moment I knew that her prayers got me
14:07 through all that and standing up.
14:09 I started to panic because I thought how she said I prayed
14:13 for you and I prayed for your whole family, your mom.
14:15 I saw that she was dying all of a sudden my eyes are
14:18 totally open and I am sitting there on her death bed and
14:21 we are talking and I said Auntie May,
14:23 who's going to pray for us now?
14:25 She says it looks like you are.
14:27 I felt like this baton just got pasted and it scared me
14:30 but I knew she was right.
14:31 She was saying please don't forget, everyone in your family.
14:34 I think sometimes we do, like you said is that we think it
14:38 is beyond hope, or your brain is fried and there is no way.
14:43 And you are saying that your mom never stopped?
14:45 Never stopped praying. That's incredible!
14:47 But what is incredible to me is that you start to move,
14:50 you got into rehab, and then you relapsed and she knows
14:53 that you have relapsed.
14:54 And she continued to pray, and they got me all the books.
14:58 You know I have to talk about all the books,
15:00 you get all the books. They come from everywhere.
15:02 All those books?
15:03 Everybody sends you books, books on how to recover,
15:05 and how to get clean, how to get straight,
15:07 and the big book, the AA book.
15:09 You had to have all the books.
15:10 I really thought by reading the books I could get my
15:14 life straight on my own, by my own doing it.
15:17 Do it myself I could just leave me alone, I'm fine I'm going
15:21 to get through this and I'm going to get straight and clean,
15:23 I've got the books I've got everything I need.
15:24 But do you know what, it didn't.
15:27 It didn't, it did not get me where I wanted to be.
15:30 I was clean but I was craving it all the time.
15:35 That is all that I can think about was drugs.
15:36 You wake up craving it?
15:38 Absolutely! You dream about it?
15:39 You dream about it, oh those dreams, and you wake up not
15:42 even knowing if it was a dream or did it really happen?
15:48 That would have a more nights than it didn't,
15:50 I would have drug dreams.
15:52 In fact here this is so many years later,
15:56 it has been in just the last few months that I quit having
15:59 drug dreams, and quick craving it in the last few months.
16:02 Even though I have been in and out of it over several years.
16:04 When you woke up, the first few times she woke up and
16:06 you didn't think of drugs right away, wasn't that amazing?
16:10 It was, all my it was.
16:12 Like I said this is a new Revelation, it has just been
16:14 in the last few months that I realized that I haven't
16:16 thought about it when the bill was past due or some little
16:20 crisis around the house like the water heater flooded.
16:23 I don't think about it anymore.
16:25 You are becoming free?
16:27 Absolutely and it is amazing to me to think that way.
16:31 So you end up getting into a Bible study, into a church,
16:35 but you had a relapse during some of that time.
16:37 What happened with that?
16:39 I did, I ended up remarrying
16:43 and I ended up staying in
16:44 the Adventist church and marrying again.
16:47 Did you marry a druggie again?
16:50 No not this time.
16:51 You know a lot of us do.
16:53 And then I think how did I get here again.
16:55 Well you married a druggie.
16:56 I was always told that I would because it was my pattern,
16:59 because it is what I knew.
17:00 The man I married never tried pot, never tried cigarettes,
17:04 never tried beer or anything like we all did in high school.
17:09 The biggest thing he tried was meat the height of his rebellion
17:13 he tried a piece of meat as a teenager and didn't like it.
17:15 So we are very, very, different and he can't understand where I
17:19 come from and what he saw me go through he doesn't understand it
17:23 he is supportive and prays with me and I think that is one of
17:25 the most huge things, is that he prays with me and for me.
17:28 I had a couple miscarriages in my first marriage,
17:33 and now I have had three more.
17:36 With the last one I had good insurance and found out that
17:39 I could not carry a baby to full term.
17:40 Never would, never will.
17:41 I got very mad at God,
17:43 my anger at God just got bigger and bigger.
17:47 It was like all these little drug addicts,
17:49 like I used to be, get have babies and I don't get to
17:53 have a baby, what's up with that God.
17:55 This isn't fair, these people that don't even want them
17:57 can have them in just pop them out like they are cookies.
18:00 Just like cookie factory and I can even carry
18:03 a baby to full term.
18:04 I could carry a baby just 16 weeks and that was it.
18:06 I was mad at God, very angry with God.
18:09 You know I just have to say for people who have to be
18:13 angry with God is that it is okay, because some of the
18:15 things are intense like not having children is intense.
18:18 Some of the things that we have to deal with in life are
18:22 tense, having cancer, dealing with mental illness,
18:26 dealing with physical illness, are intense.
18:28 So there are sometimes being angry with
18:31 God is such a needed thing.
18:34 So you are saying I was angry and did express it?
18:36 Yes and Cheri, you are right we can be angry with God
18:39 about things, but at that time I didn't know I could be
18:41 angry with God and still have a relationship with Him.
18:44 He thought He would just walk away.
18:45 I had pushed Him away.
18:47 Well I thought He had turned His back on me for one thing.
18:50 I definitely was turning my back on Him,
18:52 closing the door on Him too.
18:53 At that point in my relationship with God I didn't know
18:56 I could have an on going relationship with someone
18:59 you are angry with.
19:00 I could do that in my personal life,
19:02 I sure couldn't do it with God.
19:03 The God who is bigger than everything.
19:05 I've come to find out that you can be mad at God
19:08 and you can tell Him about it, because He knows anyway.
19:10 You can tell Him about it and go forward from there and
19:13 work it out together, and He gets us through things.
19:15 He gives us the strength to work through things
19:17 and by His power He can get us through anything.
19:20 There are so many Scriptures that back that up,
19:22 to give us strength and hope and courage
19:24 in the trials we go through.
19:25 But at that point I didn't feel it?
19:27 No, no! So you end up relapsing?
19:29 I ended up relapsing and then my husband and I started
19:32 having difficulties in our marriage because of me
19:37 starting to drink again and use again.
19:39 We started counseling with our pastor and his wife.
19:45 As we started counseling, it seemed like a good idea at
19:50 the time, and within about six months I was having
19:53 an affair with my pastor.
19:55 And that lasted about six months.
20:01 What is really tough and I don't know if you dealt with this,
20:04 but there is a lot of pastoral abuse that happens, not a lot,
20:09 but there are some that happened like that where you go into
20:12 counseling and all of a sudden those scenarios play out.
20:15 In fact a friend of mine has a Ministry for that very
20:17 scenario, for that very thing.
20:19 Because the abuse is so intense and the guilt and shame is
20:21 so intense that now the very thing that is going to bring
20:24 you healing has brought you shame.
20:26 That is awesome what you said, when you find out you are
20:31 not the only one that has ever gotten themselves into this
20:34 because I felt so alone with that.
20:36 I can't let anybody ever know that.
20:38 Well even with the, that is why I wanted to jump in,
20:41 is there are some people that go to counseling with a
20:43 secular psychologist and they end up, the psychologist
20:46 abuses that relationship and it becomes sexual.
20:50 The person that went to counseling doesn't even
20:52 know how this happened.
20:54 They are saying that you were in a relationship where
20:57 you could have, or supposed to have been protected and
21:00 somewhat just abused that.
21:02 It is a real tough one for folks to understand as abuse
21:07 because they think you said yes.
21:10 I'm responsible, I'm guilty, the guilt and responsibility
21:14 for it I carried all of it and I have carried it.
21:17 You tried to kill yourself? That lead to that!
21:20 I got on antidepressants and still not functioning well,
21:25 so I started supplementing my antidepressants with drugs and
21:29 alcohol, you know just supplement them just a little
21:31 bit, to make them work a little bit better.
21:33 More drugs and more alcohol and more antidepressants.
21:36 Pretty soon I was on five antidepressants a day and
21:40 supplementing with drugs and alcohol and it came to the
21:43 point that I could live in my own skin anymore.
21:45 I never understood how somebody could get to that point,
21:49 because I was normal, I thought for a lot of my life.
21:53 There were a lot of times when
21:55 I just begged God to be normal.
21:56 Oh if I could be just normal.
21:57 There were times when I thought I did have a normal life.
22:00 I came to a point where I could not even imagine how
22:03 people could face another day.
22:06 I knew that I could not face another day.
22:08 I woke up in a wacky ward in a lock down and
22:12 recovery started from there.
22:15 It actually started in that place.
22:17 Again I had support from family
22:18 and prayers, prayers, prayers.
22:20 I think at that time Cheri what happened was so many people
22:24 didn't know I was in trouble because I kept a job.
22:27 I was able to keep a decent job and pay bills and things
22:32 like that and my husband kept it hidden pretty well too,
22:36 even though he knew there was a serious problem there.
22:39 But now I was out in the open,
22:41 now with me being in the mental hospital.
22:45 It came out in the open and that brought more prayers.
22:50 More people start to pray for me.
22:52 More family started to pray for me and I got the support
22:55 that I, think support is so important for recovery.
22:59 We are going to take a break because
23:01 I want to come back to that, because I know that this
23:04 was completely a turning point for you.
23:07 But it's not a turning point you have so much,
23:11 you piled so much on you that it does feel like
23:14 how could you get out from underneath that.
23:17 So we are going to go ahead and take a break and
23:18 come back with that.
23:19 It is amazing to me that sometimes one decision leads
23:23 to another decision leads to another decision and pretty
23:27 soon I am overwhelmed with what I have done to my life.
23:31 With drugs, alcohol, sexual stuff, they coming into the
23:34 church for counseling and having somebody else's sexual
23:38 damage to get piled on top of me and it is
23:42 like a horrible place to be.
23:44 What amazes me about that, is for a lot of us
23:48 that is where we start recovery.
23:50 It is not an easy journey back.
23:53 What makes it easier it is God saying you must completely
23:57 trust Me right now, please don't even think you are going
24:02 to know the next step.
24:04 I will take over from this point on.
24:05 We are going to come back and talk about that.
24:07 What did that look like Gerri's life?
24:09 What is it going to look like in your life?
24:11 We'll be right back stay with us!