My story begins when I was five and I was chosen to crown the statue of Mary in my church. I was very close to God as a young child often going to the woods behind my house to sing to Him and talk to Him in a language I wanted no one to hear except Him and me. I continued to pursue a relationship with Jesus by reading The Book of Martyrs and Imitation of Christ as a young teen. Then at age fifteen, I was introduced to pot for the first time and that began a downward spiral that held my life captive until I was a mother of two in my thirties.
In high school, I hung out with the misfits, the artists, and the bikers, and we called ourselves hippies. We dropped acid, smoked pot, and made mushroom hallucinogenic tea. Some days I would be so high and paranoid that I was too afraid to go to class so I began skipping class regularly. When the school finally reported me absent my mom searched my room and found some weed but I lied my way out and continued getting high every day. I tried to work at a Waffle House but was unable to handle the customers and the demands of the job. Somehow I got my high school diploma, left home, and attempted college. However, until I quit the drugs I was unsuccessful at work and in the college classroom.
At nineteen I married an older man addicted to marijuana and to alcohol. He had no intention of being sober so when our children were born he was seldom at home to help me raise and care for our son and daughter. When my daughter was about ten I decided I could not hide getting high all the time so I decided to quit drugs and alcohol. I enrolled in college and tried to get my husband to quit with no success. A few years prior I had started taking the children to church and introduced them to Jesus and to His Father who I knew so well growing up.
It was impossible for me to keep a godly house when their dad was determined to maintain a lifestyle of getting drunk and high every day. Finally, when my daughter was sixteen and my son was 10, I decided to leave their dad getting out from under the bondage he kept our family in by his constant drinking and drugging.
On my own finally, and divorced from an alcoholic, I decided it was OK to have a glass of wine or beer at night to unwind. This was a disaster for it was not long before I was getting drunk every night after work and I stopped attending church using my job in middle management as an excuse. You see the mom who had been Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader was now just one more addict trying ineffectively to reconcile with her heavenly Father who now seemed so far away. My life looked good on the outside, a nice home in the suburbs, a good job with good company, new car, yep, my life looked great but on the inside, I was dying and empty and no amount of alcohol could comfort me. Without a close relationship with Jesus, I was a tiny boat out on the open sea being tossed all about by big wave after big wave until one day my tiny boat turned on its side and sank. I just didn’t have the energy to keep going so I quit my job, sold my home, and fled to my parent’s home where I continued to drink and fail at everything I tried.
I finally got a dream job with the local Girl Scout Council and found co-workers who liked to drink as much as I did. So I ran programs for young girls all day then at night I drank. It was during this time I remember hearing about Holy Spirit and charismatic churches with strange services but I never found one of these services to attend even though I did try once to attend a service but got lost due to bad directions. Changes in Girl Scouting resulted in the loss of funding so I was let go from the job I thought I would have for the rest of my life. It took me two years to get a job with another Girl Scout Council but by now my health was really poor and I quit suddenly due to emotional and physical stress from long hours and too much alcohol at night.
Eventually, believe it or not, I make my way up to Alaska and find myself sitting in a hot tub, at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, watching the amazing Aurora Borealis light show on my birthday, August 28, 2007. With a rare display of heavenly lights looming overhead, two young men, international seasonal workers coming to enjoy the light show asked me quite sincerely, “Do you know Jesus” My rude reply was, “Nope, I’m a student of the Tao.” Now the Tao is an ancient Chinese philosophy about 3000 years old and is like a cartoon version of the Book of Proverbs but without God. I remember this event so vividly because I believe God was reaching out to me but I was not having anything to do with Him.
After a summer in Denali, I left Alaska for the ski slopes of northern California. It was there shuttling skiers and resort guests to and from the lifts at Northstar at Tahoe where I met the man who is now my second husband. If my story is beginning to sound like that of the woman Jesus met at the well you would be right. For truly Jesus met me right there in my employee dorm room the very night I came to know of my husband’s nightmarish childhood. My husband, at the time, was just a fellow bus driver who had come up to enjoy my homemade beef stroganoff.
I remember him shyly sharing being kidnapped at age two along with his younger brother at age one and being tortured and sexually abused by a strange man and an assortment of sick women along with an elderly couple in North Las Vegas, Nevada. He told me of his gruesome past including constant physical abuse and sex trafficking that went on until he was eight and then it was abusive group homes, foster care as a ward of the state, separation from his brother and two half-sisters, until final adoption when he was thirteen. He also told me of his recent divorce and that he was on probation and was still haunted by legal matters from his young adulthood.
After a litany of troublesome events from his very colorful past, he stated sadly, “I guess you are going to say no to helping me.” I had never heard of anything like his story, and had never met anyone so sad and beaten down by life. I told him to wait and that I didn’t know what I was going to do but that I needed a moment alone to process all I had heard. Now I hadn’t prayed in years and I had already had a drink so I am buzzed and confused but in my bedroom alone I truly believe I just let God enter into the moment. Lowering my head, I think perhaps to pray or meditate or something, I immediately entered into a vision. Suddenly a line of fire appears in front of me and as I gazed into the line of flickering red and orange flames I began to receive a download of every kind of act I had ever witnessed my humble parents perform, which were many. The download only took seconds to pass before my mind’s eye and to land smack dab in the middle of my troubled heart. Jesus must have circumcised my stoney heart at that moment.
Still gazing at the flames on the floor of my dorm room, I heard an inner voice say so clearly with great authority and I had no doubt as to whom was speaking for I had heard His voice as a child many times. “On which side of this line you choose today will determine the rest of your life.” And with those disturbing words the flame went out and I knew what I must do. I exited my dorm room finding my new friend waiting anxiously. I succinctly told him, “I must help you. I was raised to help those in need. I saw my mom and dad help everyone that ever asked them for help. They never turned anyone down. I must help you even though I know my heart is going to be broken in helping you.” And with that declaration, we started driving buses, dating, drinking, and drugging together until the money ran out and he started staying out for days getting high on meth, gambling, and succumbing to great anger stemming from the deep soul wounds from his childhood.
After being left without my truck, no money, and no phone I reached out to my daughter for rescue. I solicited the help of one of my supervisors at the ski resort who lived nearby. My supervisor called my daughter who tracked down my truck and talked my prodigal friend into returning my vehicle before she reported his actions to the local police. I loaded my backpack and meager belongings into my truck and I fled Reno where I had been sharing an apartment with my friend who was now weeping and writhing on the floor of our communal laundry room. The aftermath of his five-day methamphetamine binge was pathetic and appalling.
Upon arriving at my parents’ home I found my mother in a state of confusion and madness, the effects of progressive brain dysfunction commonly known as dementia or Alzheimer’s. On top of my mom’s disturbing condition, my father had become a nightly drunk getting angry and threatening my mom which scared me so much, especially after all I had gone through dealing with my broken friend in Reno. I was so scared I packed up my mom and took her to my daughter’s home several hundred miles away. When I returned with her a few weeks later, I found my dad somewhat sorry but not repentant for he was continuing to drink himself drunk every night. As a last resort, because I could not run their home, do all the shopping, cooking, and cleaning, and drive my school bus route, dad and I agreed that now that my friend was sober and off parole we would get him on a bus and bring him South to help with whatever we needed help with.
I forgot that you could walk to a casino from our home. This proximity to gambling was my friend’s undoing. At the same time my dad’s anger and covert behavior destroyed any sense of family I may have managed to bring to my parent’s situation. On my birthday in 2009, I found myself with my friend and my mother in tow as we did all we could to escape my dad’s abuse and my older brother’s threats to arrest me for kidnapping my mother. In a panic, I sold my truck to hire a lawyer to help my mother. Unfortunately for us all, my lawyer convinced me to turn my mother over to my brother so the kidnapping charges would be dropped. My mother who had begun to thrive under my and my friend’s compassionate care now was back with the same family members who had neglected her. It wasn’t long before she was right back in a vegetative stage, unwashed, forgotten, and cast aside.
After a circuitous series of pitiful events, the consequences of loss of transportation, loss of job, and worst of all loss of any temperance in regard to alcohol and drugs, I ended up hitchhiking alone on a back road in Moss Point, MS, where Rodney Williams, author of Club Meth for Christ, came to my rescue. Brother Rodney secured me a bed at Wings of Life, Mobile, AL, on October 15, 2009. My friend had stayed doing spice and drinking with folks he did not know, and certainly couldn’t trust, in a family compound off Saracennia Road, among a virtual army of good ol’ boys with guns high on cheap beer and spice.
At Wings of Life, I rediscovered my friendship with Jesus, I began hearing my Father God once more and I received baptism in Holy Spirit for the first time. I rejoiced as the old Alice died and I became the new creation in Christ Jesus that I am today. This took place not by my strength or by my power but by the power of the blood and His Spirit. My friend entered Mercy House Friday before Thanksgiving of that same year. I graduated from Wings of Life in January and stayed another six months serving Wings as a Dove Ministry Servant. My friend completed seven months at a Teen Challenge affiliate under construction in Georgetown, MS. In June 2010 he ended up in Mobile, AL, but was not a candidate for Wings. So not wanting to return to a life of sexual promiscuity we married after we both heard God say, “Marry and I will bless you.”
The early years of our marriage and walk with Jesus were colored with many times falling down and many times getting back up as we time and time again took hold of Jesus’ outstretched hand lifting us up out of our mess, consequences of sinful choices. We struggled to find work, a safe place to live, and friends who accepted us and who didn’t condemn us for believing we heard God tell us to marry. When we had been married a few months we moved in with a husband and wife from the church where we were married. Many sins had gone on in their marriage and in their home of which we had no clue. It wasn’t long before the man of the house told me I had to move out and my husband would be staying. I moved out and a great turmoil moved through their home, swept through the church, and through many marriages in the church like a deadly epidemic.
I ended up living in Tent City, a large and longstanding homeless camp a mile from downtown Mobile. I lived and served there for four months and the Lord did many good works during that time. One miraculous work He performed in restoring my marriage was one morning after I had been living in Tent City for about a month I heard God say, “Get up and prophecy that I am restoring your marriage on your one-year anniversary.” I argued with God but He had His Way with me and I got up and went to find someone to whom I could give His prophetic Word. I found Fay in her camp and I shared with her what I had heard God say. Fay looked at me like I had lost my mind and tilting her head she said, “I got the Holy Ghost in me too and while I admit it doesn’t look good, Alice, as your husband is really messed up, the Holy Ghost in me agrees God is going to restore your marriage on your one year anniversary.” I thanked Fay and returned to my camp and just as He had said on my one-year anniversary my husband agreed to return to pursuing God and to turn from his adultery and ungodly choices and return to his place as my God-fearing husband.
In October 2011, my husband who up to this time had been faithful and sober since our one-year wedding anniversary, on June 13 of the same year, is seated on an airplane. I, his older and very white wife, am seated beside him. We are flying to Edgemont, South Dakota, to meet his birth father for the first time since my husband and his younger brother were kidnapped by their Lakota Sioux mother.
We were excited and neither of us could believe I had finally found his birth family just by a few Holy Spirit-led keystrokes on a computer. My husband’s cousin paid for our airfare. No one told us my husband’s father was an abusive husband suffering from PTSD, the result of his serving as a 1st Recon Marine in Vietnam. To that add prolonged abuse as a child at the hands of a white stepmother and then more abuse at the Rosebud Mission School. We had just exited the airport when my husband’s father asked him if he wanted to get high. It took until February 2013 for the ax to fall on our marriage and once again I find myself alone, homeless, and scared but this time I have Jesus and my faith is steadfast and I am committed and nothing can pull me off His Rock.
In the next few years, I faithfully served at New Orleans Mission, New Orleans, LA; at Arukah House, on the same Saracennia Road where Brother Rodney picked me up hitchhiking, Moss Point, MS; Lansing Teen Challenge/Sisters Maternity Center, Charlotte, MI; then back to Arukah House. Now I am retired and doing my best to be a helpmate to my younger husband who is currently a guest of the Department of Corrections, Sioux Falls, SD. My husband is scheduled for parole on May 10, 2017. This is his second time in prison since I left South Dakota and I speak he will never again go before the courts of men.
I have been sober from alcohol since I entered Wings of Life almost seven years ago. I have remained faithful to God and my husband despite many trials and sufferings and I count it all joy as I died with Christ I am overjoyed to know I am a new creation, old things have passed away and all things are being made new especially my marriage and more importantly my husband’s salvation.