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Woman Divorces a Love Affair with Drugs

Rhonda remembers in her past, “I didn’t care about love anymore.  I had one love, and that was barbiturates.”  

She was 12 when she developed a love affair with drugs.  It started when her soccer team made it to state playoffs.

She says, “I was extremely nervous, and my soccer coach innocently said, ‘Take this little pill; it’ll make your stomach feel better.’”

It was a half dose of valium.

Rhonda says, “In that pill, I found peace, I found relief, and I found confidence.  And I thought, ‘I'm not ever going to lose this again.’”

Rhonda also found it dulled the pain of her parent’s divorce, and living in a home with a violent, alcoholic step-father.

She says, “He would drink, he would throw our furniture out the window.  We were always running for our life.  So I always felt really rejected.  But I think that drugs made it feel a whole lot better.”

At first Rhonda stole what she could from friends’ medicine supplies.  But after her mother divorced and moved the family, Rhonda found other drugs like cocaine and Quaaludes, and an easier way to get them.

She says, “I began trading my body for drugs.  I felt nothing.  I had no conscience.   I could give anybody anything, just give me the pills.”

Before she was 18, Rhonda had flunked out of school, been arrested for selling drugs, overdosed several times, and went through a treatment program in a mental hospital.  At one point she even found hope in Jesus Christ.  But when her mom abandoned her and her sisters for a man, Rhonda quickly fell back into addiction.

She says, “I only thought about today.  I'm not going to feel today.  I’m going to get my drugs today and I don't care about tomorrow.”

At one point, some Christian friends intervened and arranged for her to go to Teen Challenge.  She spent the next year getting things right with her life, and God.

She recalls, “So when I graduate Teen Challenge, I decide I'm going to come to Oklahoma and find my mom and get reunited with my mother.  And I came clean and I came sober, and I came ready to serve Jesus.”

She married a pastor’s son and they had children.  But her husband had opened a door Rhonda thought had been shut.

She explains, “He says to me, ‘I only smoke a little marijuana and I only take a few pills.  You can do a few things with me and I promise you I will not let your drug addiction get out of control.’  And I believed that.  But the truth of the matter is I am a horrible drug addict.  I can't take a little bit and it not get out of control.”

During that time another addiction had taken over.

Rhonda says, “Now Meth takes me on a whole new journey to hell.”

The marriage ended and Rhonda lost custody of her children.  

She says, “My children loved me.  And I rejected them.  Again and again.  My daughter will tell you, she would wait for me at Christmas and I wouldn't show up.  She waited for me at birthdays, and I didn't show up.”  

On the run for 10 years, Rhonda was wanted in 6 counties in Oklahoma and in two states for selling drugs.  During that time her children wanted nothing to do with her.

Rhonda says, “Whenever I was being incarcerated and my children just felt like it was the end, they blotted me out of their life.  I really wanted to be this mom that I never had.  And I knew rejection.  I knew abandonment, and I didn't want to do that to them and I had.”

In December of 2000, she was found hiding from the police under a garbage pile, shivering from the cold.  

She says, “I knew what I needed, I needed God.  And I needed him to forgive me.”

Rhonda made a deal with the district attorney to be with her children one day to celebrate Christmas before she went to prison.  Before she turned herself in, she made a decision.

She says, “My mom and dad never came back.  But I thought, ‘I'm going to be different, I'm coming back.  I may get a prison sentence, but I'm coming back and I'm coming back good, and I'm coming back to be a mom and I'm coming back to get my children.’”

At sentencing, Rhonda was given 10 years, but the judge added a provision.

Rhonda remembers, “He said, ‘I think you're crazy, but I think you have potential.  You get into prison and you do a 12-month drug program, I'll let you out.’”

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