Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Megan Baez, Mylynda Ortiz
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00096A
00:11 Welcome to Celebrating Life In Recovery,
00:13 I'm Cheri your host and today we are going to talk about
00:15 Teen Challenge, - I love that.
00:18 And I love these guys and you are going to be blessed so
00:20 you have to join us in the café.
00:21 It is going to be too cool.
00:52 You know the season we are talking about step four, and
00:56 remember we had talked about a number of different
01:00 organizations do step four different.
01:02 12 step programs have like you look at your resentments
01:06 and you look at who you're angry at.
01:08 You deal with how that felt, how that felt in your
01:11 pocket book, how that felt in your heart, how that felt
01:14 in your self-esteem, you look at it in all different ways.
01:17 There is other people that look at like the Oxford group.
01:20 They will look at your moral inventory with honesty and
01:24 love and how you trashed yourself in those areas of
01:27 relationships. We look at pride, rebellion, anger,
01:33 with me I was really damaged in my life.
01:38 I was damaged in a lot of different ways.
01:39 I had molestation, I had parents that were self focused
01:44 on their own stuff so I was damaged to the
01:47 point where I became very sensitive, and if my husband
01:52 was here he would be yelling no it is more than that,
01:56 it's much more than that.
01:57 But I became very self focused, my feelings got hurt
02:00 easily and all that stuff.
02:02 So even though I could stop the drugs I had all this kind
02:05 of junk that went along with them.
02:07 I had anger, I could play people and lie better than most.
02:13 I lived on the streets for 10 years so I learned
02:16 how to manipulate and learned and all those things.
02:18 So this season we are talking about not only coming out
02:21 of whatever the addiction is, not only coming out of
02:24 whether you are a shopaholic, whether you are an
02:27 alcoholic, whether you are a workaholic, whether you
02:29 have porn addictions, drug or alcoholism addictions
02:33 whatever your coming out of it is what all the underlying stuff
02:38 You know because that is what is going to trip you up.
02:40 So now I'm going to introduce you to a group that
02:44 I've met while I was in Maine.
02:46 I was doing a high school week of prayer in Portland, Maine.
02:50 I was asked to speak at Teen Challenge which is,
02:53 I love them I'm telling you, this is a ministry that not
02:58 only works with teams but works with adults but keeps
03:01 you until you get it, you may never get out again.
03:05 No it keeps you for a long time.
03:07 But I want to introduce you to Mylynda and Mylynda we
03:11 met a few months ago, maybe not even two months ago.
03:14 Yeah it was two months ago.
03:16 Okay and you were at Teen Challenge. - yes.
03:19 We are studying right now on this season, we are
03:21 studying on step four, that fearless moral inventory.
03:24 Have you ever really started to look at your own stuff?
03:27 Um, yeah I've looked at my own stuff and like I'm pretty
03:32 scared of it. Okay.
03:34 For a lot of people even step, they decide not to do
03:38 this step because it is scary to look at.
03:41 But before we talk about that with you let's talk about
03:43 who are you? Where you came from? And all that stuff.
03:47 You look to me like an angel.
03:54 Yeah I look like an angel I'm trying to be like one but
03:59 I really wasn't one before.
04:00 So I grew up in a home with both my mom and my dad.
04:04 - where at? - in New York City - okay.
04:08 My dad and my mom were Christians and they're a good
04:12 happy family and everybody looks at us.
04:13 I never had people living at my house there was just me,
04:17 my mom and my dad.
04:18 My dad was always constantly verbally abusing my mom.
04:22 - and you watched that, I don't think they thought
04:25 you watched them, but you watched them.
04:27 No they knew I was watching them.
04:29 I used to crawl underneath my table which was like my
04:32 secret spot and just to get away from everything while
04:36 they would be arguing and all this violence in my house.
04:39 And when I was eight years old my dad cheated on my mom
04:44 and they separated and that really affected me bad but
04:51 at the same time I was happy because I knew no more
04:54 arguing. - exactly, the house wouldn't be so crazy.
04:57 Yeah, I was always in the middle of all their arguments.
04:59 So when they divorced I hadn't got to
05:04 see my dad until another two years.
05:06 I had got pretty good grades in school and I was okay with
05:09 everything had innocent friends and innocent fun.
05:14 I was pretty humble, but I was always out there crazy, but
05:17 a good crazy. - like to play, like to laugh? - yeah.
05:21 I love laughing, so I got to finally see my dad when
05:25 I was 10 years old and I had like not much problems,
05:29 I was so happy to be with him, I always been a daddy's girl.
05:32 So when was 12 years old I started hanging out with the
05:37 wrong crowd. - why, what happened?
05:40 Because it sounded like until then it was like?
05:43 It's just like my mom always try to warn me about drugs,
05:46 alcohol and never to try it, if you try it your hooked on it.
05:50 I never believed her, I'm like alright nothing looks mean.
05:54 Still innocent, so I got into a group of friends that were
06:00 just having fun with their life but not my type of fun.
06:05 But I found their fun like drinking, using drugs, having
06:09 fun and going out every night having fun.
06:15 So I told my mom about them and my mom didn't agree with
06:19 them, but she was like I know my daughter she would never
06:22 do this because I explained to her all the things.
06:23 But while my mom and my dad broke up it was like my mom,
06:27 they were married for 24 years, so she felt like out of
06:32 a cage like she could do and have fun.
06:34 So she went kind of wild? - yeah she went kind of wild
06:37 and plus my dad was around to watch me.
06:39 So my mom would leave me at her best friend's house
06:42 and I hated it there.
06:44 So I felt like my mom whatever she wants to get away
06:47 she would just leave me there and come back whenever
06:50 she wanted, or whatever and I just hated it there.
06:52 So I felt like I wasn't much cared for, like of course
06:55 she would be there for me but I don't know how to explain
06:58 it. - well I got a great picture is that everything
07:03 you thought of, your dads gone but it's going to be okay
07:06 not realizing that now mom is gone too, but she is gone
07:09 for different reason.
07:10 She is just partying and saying I want to have fun.
07:12 - yeah. - yeah. - so I started to do my own thing.
07:15 I started hanging out with that crowd and then when I was
07:19 12 years old and a half I started being with my dad more
07:24 at his house.
07:26 I started getting close to him but then again he had a
07:29 girlfriend that he constantly abused, physically abused
07:32 and verbally abused. - so you are watching it all over again?
07:35 Yeah, and at the same time my little sister and
07:37 my little brother was born.
07:38 So I always have to take care of them, so that
07:41 was the only reason I went to his house was to watch
07:43 them to be with them and have fun with them.
07:46 I'm their sister and I just hated that girl.
07:49 So at 13 years old, on December 8, 2008- when you say 13 I'm
07:54 thinking, and I know that it is your life so you don't feel like
08:00 that, so 13 is a baby. Have you ever looked at a 13-
08:03 year-old and think I was doing that at 13 and she looks
08:05 like the baby. - yeah, it's like when you are in high
08:08 school and you are in tenth grade ninth-grade and look
08:10 at eighth graders and they look so baby, well again you
08:13 were just there a year before, so I know how you mean.
08:17 But before December 8, 2008, my mom was in the hospital with
08:23 kidney stones, she suffers with kidney stones.
08:25 - I heard that is really painful. - yeah.
08:29 Yeah she says is like worse than having a baby.
08:31 She would rather have a baby and I'm like wow.
08:33 So I had to be with my dad, and I don't really want to
08:37 go because I hated the arguing in the place, I want to just be
08:42 with him but some thing told me to go with him.
08:44 So I went with him and my brother offered to come
08:47 pick me up instead of staying there with my dad, some
08:50 thing told me to turn it down so I ended up with my dad.
08:54 One day I was sleeping and my dad's girlfriend, her name
08:57 is Julie, she woke me up she said Mylynda wake up,
09:00 your dad is on the floor, wake up, wake up.
09:02 So I woke up and came to the living room and found
09:05 my dad dead on the floor. - dead? - yeah!
09:08 I didn't know how to deal with this.
09:11 - liked that shocked me even just hearing it, it's like
09:16 nothing, nothing makes sense with that.
09:21 And my dad always had asthma and high blood pressure,
09:25 but he was always one to keep us strong and he would have
09:30 a pump and it would be over and done with.
09:32 So I'm like it's okay, the day before he really had bad
09:37 asthma but I was like he was going to be okay and that night
09:40 he was gone, so I guess he wasn't really that strong.
09:44 She was just in complete shock and me being so young
09:48 I had to be the one to call the cops, I had to be the one
09:51 to do everything while she was just in complete shock.
09:55 So after that - well you did, sounded like you did.
09:58 - yeah I did it. - Did you allow yourself to feel at all?
10:01 Like what was happening the fact that this is my dad?
10:04 At the same time I was in shock myself but I was
10:08 working myself through it and I was going with the flow
10:12 whatever the cops told me to say and do, I would do it.
10:15 While she was just there, so at the same time I'm so young and
10:19 she is like 25 and my dad was like 60 or something so
10:23 that was a big age difference, so she was really in shock.
10:27 Even when they're on the phone telling you is he breathing?
10:30 Is he doing all that kind of stuff, and you are the one
10:32 that is checking all that? - yeah. - wow.
10:34 So my little sister and my little brother came out to see
10:37 what was happening and they see their dad on the floor.
10:41 So my little sister is like my daddy's sleeping, its okay.
10:44 She goes daddy isn't sleeping he's dead, he's dead and
10:48 I didn't know how to explain so I had to plan my dad's
10:51 funeral with my mother and Julie.
10:54 That was really hard for me, I missed school and every
10:57 body found out about it and plus going back to school
11:01 was just so hard.
11:02 So I had standards for myself before my dad died, like even
11:06 hanging out with the wrong crowd I didn't let myself get
11:09 to that point where they were at.
11:11 I began getting angry, but not much, because I didn't notice
11:15 it do till now that I can see why I really did this before.
11:18 I used to smoke cigarettes but not very often.
11:21 A drink here and there. - just to fit in?
11:24 - Not enough to that point I had to you know?
11:27 - right. - so you know after my dad died
11:29 everything went like I didn't care about anything at all.
11:32 I started using weed, started smoking weed and drinking
11:36 and just everything, violent and angry towards everyone
11:40 around me so in the summer of 2009 I became an alcoholic.
11:45 How old were you? - I was 14, yeah and I started moving
11:50 up to bigger crowds and older crowds.
11:53 So when you say alcoholic, in my mind I'm thinking that
11:57 you had an awareness that you had to drink, you had to be
12:01 high, that you could tell when I didn't have this my body
12:05 couldn't kick in. - I felt weak, I felt like I had to have
12:10 it and then so my mom wasn't really aware of anything that
12:14 was going on much, but like she knew something was wrong with
12:18 me and she couldn't really figure it out.
12:22 So one day she drug tested me when I came home and the
12:26 results didn't come back in until a long time after.
12:30 By then I was so mixed up myself I was lost, I didn't care,
12:34 I thought I was okay, like this is normal teenager life,
12:39 but it really wasn't. - right because now you are drinking and
12:43 doing whatever? - yeah, so I was hardly home and my mom
12:47 trusted me and she trusted her daughter would not use drugs,
12:51 trusted her daughter to not drink alcohol because that
12:54 was everything my mom taught me.
12:55 So she was really wrong about that and the results came
12:59 back and she punished me for two months, which I feel
13:03 that was worth it - you're in the house. - yeah.
13:06 You're not going anywhere. - not going anywhere, no
13:08 phone, no computer, no nothing, no TV I'm stuck in the
13:11 house for two months.
13:12 She said a year but I hardly thought that was going to happen
13:15 but it happened for two months.
13:17 Was her hope that somehow she could get you disconnected
13:22 from whatever group and clean out your body?
13:24 I don't really think that was her purpose, her purpose
13:29 was to teach me not to do it and by figuring that by
13:34 her punishing me it would like just have me not do it
13:39 anymore. - okay.
13:40 Just to learn my lesson. - because to me I would be
13:42 thinking it is a detox and you are going to eat
13:45 watermelon and you're going to have fruit and water and
13:48 I would think that you are really going to start pumping
13:51 you with good healthy things but hers was this is a punishment.
13:55 I want you to know that what you did is not okay.
13:58 - yeah. So instead of helping me I really thought from
14:01 the beginning, like I always wanted to go and do what
14:05 ever I wanted to do and by her having me in the house
14:08 it just made me want to rebel when I actually got out of
14:11 the house, so whatever I would do I would do it triple
14:15 times worse because I'm never, home, I'm never outside. - right
14:19 So after she found out I started having sex when I was 14 years
14:23 old, and she found out and I ended up telling her
14:27 and she flipped out about it a lot.
14:29 That's when she punched me also the same time she found
14:33 out what my results came back from my drug test.
14:36 So she like just freaked out. - yeah, her little girl is
14:41 doing all of this, so she was really like freaking out.
14:46 So in October I got off punishment and she still didn't
14:51 trust me after finding all these things out.
14:53 - because she's smart. - she's a little more aware
14:57 of what her daughter was doing.
14:59 Even though that she would love to be in denial she
15:01 couldn't. - yet she knew she couldn't, not anymore.
15:04 She could not trust me, I would tell them here and she
15:07 would catch me a lie in a second, I'm not here
15:09 I'm over there.
15:10 So in October I started really get into unhealthy
15:14 relationships and doing whatever I wanted to do.
15:18 Can I ask you something Mylynda because I know in my own
15:23 life the answer to this, but in your life, when you
15:28 realized that now I can lie at the drop of a hat.
15:32 I can play people, I can steal from you, I can do all that
15:37 kind of stuff, did you ever think at this point, not later
15:41 on in your recovery, but at this point did you ever think I don't
15:43 know if I want to be that person?
15:46 Um I always knew I was different from others, like I still feel
15:53 like I'm different from others and my mom every time I did
15:57 something wrong she would be like you are not normal,
15:59 you are not a really normal teenager.
16:00 And the point is I'm not a normal teenager, I always saw
16:03 it different whether it was a bad different or a good
16:06 different. So I always knew there was good in me and
16:10 I wanted to be good, it just I couldn't find where it was
16:13 and how to be it. - You had lost it.
16:15 Yeah but I knew I had potential I was just too lazy
16:19 and just wanted to do what I wanted to do.
16:21 I didn't listen to anybody. - so what happened?
16:24 So in October I got into an unhealthy relationship where
16:29 I was physically abused and I just felt like worthless.
16:33 Like I felt like this is it, I'm hopeless.
16:37 I am here getting abused and I see my mom was verbally abused
16:41 and I see my dad hitting his girlfriends.
16:43 And now you're that? That's what you hated - yeah.
16:46 I hate, I used to run from it. I went under the table and
16:49 pretend nothing is happening.
16:51 I'm like in this whole other world but now
16:53 I am living it so I began to cut myself.
16:56 So what did cutting do for people that don't know?
17:00 Well cutting now I look at that and didn't do anything
17:04 for me, it just made it worse and just may me more angry
17:08 and more just like I feel it would take away the pain,
17:11 but in fact it just brought more pain back then.
17:14 So I ran away also, a few times while I was home just
17:19 to get away from my problems and from my mom and it just
17:24 didn't work out and left me emptier.
17:26 So in December of 2009, yeah 2009 I start hanging out with
17:31 the crowd from New Jersey and they got me into cocaine,
17:36 I got myself into cocaine.
17:37 - right because we really, yeah, yeah, yeah.
17:41 So I got into cocaine and that was like nobody really
17:45 knew about it, like my close friends or people I used to
17:49 hang out with just beside that crowd.
17:51 I felt embarrassed to tell them, like how far I'd gone
17:55 and got into. - because they would say really you're doing
17:58 Coke? - but then again they are smoking weed and I look
18:02 at them like what, that's cool nowadays but it really
18:07 isn't cool, so I started using cocaine and just started
18:11 rebelling even more.
18:13 And my mom felt out of it, like her daughter and not her
18:17 daughter and she started punishing me more and more.
18:21 The more she would punish me the more I would want to get
18:24 out. - because she didn't know what else to do, she was
18:26 feeling like my only recourse, the only thing
18:30 I could do is punish you, but it wasn't working.
18:34 Yeah punishment for me I felt wasn't working because like
18:37 it would make me want to do even more.
18:39 It's like if you tell me sit down, I just want to stand up.
18:43 So that spirit of rebellion gets in us, I don't think people
18:48 realize how strong that is, that is I am angry and I'm going
18:52 to do the opposite of everything you say and I'm going to smile.
18:56 Um hmmm, and I always wanted to love from a guy the way my
19:01 dad would give it to me. - but dad wasn't around.
19:05 Dad wasn't around, like my mom had her fiancé now and
19:09 he has been in my life since eight years old after my mom
19:12 and dad broke up. At first out I was like I didn't really
19:15 like him, but I love him to death now.
19:17 I just wanted that attention from a guy still.
19:21 So I never really found it much, I can say that now.
19:26 Right, so with all of this what got you in a place where
19:30 all of a sudden, what got you to Teen Challenge?
19:34 And did you ever come to a place where you are saying
19:39 I think I get it, I think I'm coming back to myself?
19:44 Well in May of 2010 my mom landed in the hospital with
19:48 almost kidney failure and I decided to run away and
19:53 abandon her there in the hospital.
19:55 That was my mom's reassurance of her daughters needing
19:59 help so I came to Teen Challenge on June 21.
20:02 Because if she is saying I am in the hospital and sick
20:05 and you are not going to be here that must mean that you
20:08 are really out of control? - yeah.
20:10 - so they physically brought you to Teen Challenge?
20:13 Did you fight it?
20:15 I was living with my brother for a few months because mom didn't
20:19 know how to control me so she figured Paul her brother
20:22 I could have a better type of relationship with her and
20:26 help her, because he's a guy and she knew I needed a guy,
20:30 - like a Father figure. - like a Father figure.
20:33 Yeah that didn't work very much.
20:36 So on Father's Day I was at my moms house and my mom told
20:40 me we were going to my brothers house, so I thought
20:43 we were supposed to go to my dad's cemetery and visit him
20:46 there but we ended up going to my brothers house and
20:49 they told me there I was walking into Teen Challenge
20:51 the next day and I was like so mad.
20:58 I just didn't know how to deal with it, so I left it
21:03 alone and said okay I'll go.
21:05 The next day they were driving me to Massachusetts from
21:09 New York and we passed by Six Flags in Springfield and
21:12 I thought this was a joke, I thought they were taking me
21:15 to Six Flags instead. Yeah like this is really going to be fun!
21:18 Yeah I'm like you guys got it, I understand.
21:23 They were like know you are really going so I went
21:26 Teen Challenge and the first thing I saw was this sign
21:29 saying that we believe in miracles.
21:30 I didn't think that was going to happen to me,
21:33 I didn't believe a miracle could happen in me because
21:36 I felt so hopeless - hopeless in what?
21:39 Hopeless to my mom like she punishes me, my mom tried so
21:43 hard and I don't think this is going to work like my mom
21:46 has tried - like I'll never be able to change? - yeah.
21:49 Like I'm stuck in this is who I am.
21:51 As I said I want to change, I just never felt like I
21:54 could change, so I became a Christian a month after that.
22:00 - no way. - I always knew there was a God.
22:03 - what happened, did the program did they, did you go to church?
22:09 Did you have Bible studies? - we went to church
22:12 on Sunday and we do a chapel like three times a week.
22:16 They enforce God a lot in us, they enforced it but
22:19 I wanted it - you wanted it in your heart. - um hmmm.
22:23 I felt like I wanted to know God, I wanted to have that
22:27 relationship that everybody here has. - I love that
22:29 because that is the ultimate Father, so that everything
22:32 you craved God is. - He showed me His unconditional love
22:35 God the Father which I always wanted
22:38 I wanted to feel at peace with Him and I finally found it.
22:43 Yeah I was actually on my bed that night on July 14 and
22:48 I just cried out to God and let Him know everything I did
22:52 and what I wanted and I felt like He could give it to me.
22:56 So I gave myself to Him.
22:57 - Amen, what changes, like did you notice changes that
23:02 happened within you?
23:03 I didn't want those things I had before anymore.
23:08 Like at the time while doing those things I felt like
23:11 I needed alcohol or I needed a relationships, guys,
23:14 drugs, all these things and I just don't want it anymore.
23:18 I just don't. - so you know of a lot of people that
23:21 have not met God, or that has some kind of understanding
23:25 with God but on a head level.
23:29 They don't realize when God says I will change your
23:32 desires, and when the Bible says I will change your very
23:36 desires, we think is that really how You do it,
23:39 and it is isn't it? - hmmm, and when I was younger and
23:41 my mom always told me that she wanted to be my best
23:44 friend when I am older, and when I got to the point or
23:47 my problems start kicking in, like I tried going to her with
23:50 minor problems and I realized she couldn't handle them like
23:54 she would end up punishing me, so I knew she couldn't handle
23:58 my bigger problems? I could imagine how she would
24:00 react to them.
24:02 So now like me and her are talking a lot more and
24:04 she is actually becoming that type of mother that
24:07 I always wanted. - that's awesome. - I know sometimes
24:10 I might be a little hard on her, but I know she does
24:14 everything that is best for me. - exactly, you can love
24:16 her and understand what she is trying to do anyway.
24:19 And she's putting the effort in to try to understand
24:22 her daughter as well, because I never felt like she could
24:25 understand me, but now we are trying to understand each
24:28 other and He is just healing me and my relationship with
24:32 her and with my family and helping me to depend on Him and
24:35 not drugs. - how long have you been in Teen Challenge?
24:37 I have been in Teen Challenge, it is going to be nine
24:41 months, it's been so far along party, but I still have
24:45 a long way to go.
24:46 So you are not planning on getting out any time real soon?
24:50 I always felt like when I first walked in that my mom was
24:53 going to miss me because now she is home alone,
24:54 she doesn't live with her fiancé.
24:57 She's all alone and I know she's going to need me and
25:01 she's going to come and give me any day now, but that day,
25:03 I used to look out the window because I had this top
25:06 bunk so I would look out the window waiting for my mom's
25:09 car to come up the driveway, - because she needs me.
25:11 - because she needs me and I've been here for 9 months
25:14 and she hasn't came and I'm not expecting her to come.
25:17 What she really needs is for you to get well.
25:19 She wants me to get well, and even if she told me do
25:22 you want to come home, I don't want to come home,
25:25 I want to finish this for the first time. - that's amazing.
25:29 I want to thank you for sharing that, your journey with
25:33 us and I know that you are not done but my prayer for you
25:37 and what you had said when I met you at Teen Challenge is
25:40 that you really see yourself someday even going into
25:43 ministry? - yeah, I want to help others because I know
25:46 there's billions and billions of people out there with
25:50 something that I struggled with and by the testimony God
25:53 has given me and the love that He is shown me
25:55 I can help others to bring them towards Him.
25:57 - that's incredible, that's incredible and we are going
26:00 to go ahead and take a break.
26:01 When we take a break I want to introduce you to one of
26:04 the other girls that are in Teen Challenge that I met
26:08 when I was out there and I just love the journeys,
26:13 I love these girls, I love from where, I love God and
26:17 I love the fact that He can pull us out of all this stuff.
26:19 So stay with us, we will be right back.
26:20 And I will introduce you to Megan.