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From Rock Bottom to Rising from the Ashes: One Woman's Story of Recovery

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This is a true story of how a spiritually bankrupt woman with a very troubled past of sexual trauma and addiction who rose above her multi-faceted adversity and re-wrote her own happily-ever-after as a single mom in recovery. I am Rebecca L. Edwards and this is my truth.

Each day it seems that more and more children, teenagers, women, and men are coming forward with harrowing details of childhood sexual abuse or trauma at the hands of someone they trusted. I am no different except when I came forward over thirty-five years ago it was a taboo subject that was hushed and denied due to what the neighbors would think or how the community would respond to the “allegations” brought against a high profile public figure or a family member.

In addition to not having the information, judicial awareness, or various support groups like we do today, thousands of children were shamed into silence. The problem is that many of those children grew to become adults with emotional scars and soul-fracturing trauma that prohibited them from being fully engaged in a peaceful life. Much like mine, many lives were created from leftover pieces from a broken foundation that had to be put together as wounded children in adult bodies doing the best we could with what we were dealt.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” -C.S. Lewis

Photo courtesy of Rebecca L. Edwards
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The Truth

At the tender age of six, I was molested by a man my mother trusted as her new husband or what most children would call a step-monster. From the moment I met him, I knew he was scary and that in some way his intentions were to hurt me. My mother was oblivious to his twisted thinking and continued to get us to bond as a new family. It seemed almost instantly he took my innocence as if it was his plan all along.

Afterward, I tried to tell my mom, but in those days secrets were very common and things were not openly discussed. When I did manage to tell her she replied, “I will take care of it.” I remember standing alone, completely heartbroken that I received no hugs or kisses nor did she even desire to inquire more about what had happened to her little girl. That day drastically changed the course of my life after telling an adult. I was silenced. I was threatened with death and “to keep our secret safe.” I never said another word until I couldn’t stay silent anymore. I broke. I snapped.

At the age of twelve, I had a nervous breakdown. Things rapidly escalated and life changed. He was arrested, my mom refused to press charges and life was never going to be the same. As with all trauma, it wasn’t clear how it affected me until it was glaringly obvious. I became a textbook example of childhood sexual trauma left untreated. I maintained my composure fairly well, held exciting jobs, and functioned as a responsible adult, but I used alcohol to drown my sorrows and escape all feelings in general. I managed to build a life upon a cracked foundation, but with all cracks eventually, they bring down the existing structure. And, that is exactly what happened to the life that I was building.

The Bottom

I was married, had two beautiful daughters and a life that many would envy. The only bad thing was that I carried a darkness inside of me that haunted my dreams and my waking moments. I could not escape what needed to be healed despite shoving it so deep into my subconscious that it would never reach the light of day. Well, that all changed when my first born daughter approached the age of six, the exact age that I was molested.

Like a movie playing in my mind, all the memories, feelings and shame came to the forefront of my consciousness and shook me to the core. I asked for help and was denied, again, by those in my family who did not understand. Again, I snapped and began to drink to escape and I found myself escaping to drink. I couldn’t face the darkness so the darkness became my enemy. I ran from myself and ran right into the thing that would take me down to the bottom of me! I thought I was too far gone to be redeemed, but I was very wrong.

The Miracle

At thirty-nine years of age, I woke up from a drunken near-death experience. I was on hard concrete, face down and in a pool of my own emotional vomit. All the sadness, rage and despair were right under my nose, literally. This was the turning point and I could no longer run. I was exhausted. I was done. In utter desperation, I called out to whatever it was the held the stars in the sky. I begged for God to now rise up save me.

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Within a few moments, I was no longer cold and terrified. I was warm and calm. A knowingness soothed my soul. For the first time in years, I could feel. I could sense the danger I was putting myself in and my children and anyone who still loved me. I asked for forgiveness and for insight on how to get better. All of a sudden the faint flicker of hope in my heart grew into a small flame. I then knew that life had to change and I had to do it. No one else could do it for me. I was no longer able to be a victim, I had to become a survivor. I committed to the direction of my internal compass and vowed to always listen to the inner being that emerged to guide me back home to myself, even when I could not see my way through the foggy parts of recovery.

In the coming days, I somehow began to intuitively know what to do next. I was divinely guided to a 12-Step group that helped me deal with the reasons why I drank. This group provided me with a solution and showed me how to live life without alcohol. At the same time, a loving counseling couple took me and my daughters in their practice at a fraction of the cost so that we could all begin the healing form the two years of emotional chaos that my untreated childhood sexual trauma and addiction brought into our lives. I was granted a second chance at life. I took it with both hands and held tightly to the promises of that night with the God of my understanding.

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca L Edwards
Photo Courtesy of Rebecca L Edwards

The Rise in Recovery

That was 7 years ago. Today, I am an author, speaker, and advocate for anyone who suffers in silence. I have dedicated my recovery to openly sharing my truth so that those who have not found their voice or their way to a better life, can find hope in my words, my voice, and my journey until they too have the courage to rise from the ashes to the beautiful souls they were born to become.

The wise woman in me greets each day with a new sense of what defines the souls’ beauty. For me, it is living life authentically as a woman of dignity who knows no limits of what a “woman on fire” can accomplish.

Recovery is not just for celebrities and the rich and famous, it is for everyday women and men who desire to be healthy, happy, healed and validated for what their life experiences have taught them.

When I began to speak and share my secrets, I prayed that each word I spoke could be the catalyst for those who suffer alone or in silence to become a better version of themselves. It makes me so very happy to help others!

“We never know how high we are until we are called to rise. Then if we are true to form our statures touch the skies.” -Emily Dickinson

Rebecca L. Edwards is a mother, author, speaker, and activist who shares her experiences in overcoming addiction and trauma to help inspire others that recovery is possible. 

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