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Covering the Shame of Childhood Abuse

Robert Hull - 700 Club Producer

“You know, it got to the point I hated myself.  I looked in the mirror, I saw a junky, I saw a convict, I didn't see a good guy.  I felt nothing redeemable about me.  And if I don't see anything redeemable about me, then, you know, where do you go from there.”

David held a deep and confusing secret from his parents since early childhood, that he’d been molested by his babysitter. He says, “I remember them reading a paper about a kid that had been molested and talking about how-how that person was nasty and disgusting and I thought that they were talking about the kid, not the perpetrator. So I put two and two together and I was this disgusting nasty kid.”  

He held his secret close, and felt he deserved the pain of his parent’s later divorce and beatings from his grandfather, who he moved in with. “My grandpa was physically abusive to the point, I mean, he would beat me and then call into school and say, ‘Hey, he's not going to come into school this week, he's going to help me on the farm’ and wait for the bruises to heal up before he let me go back to school, that was kinda my punishment for being this disgusting, nasty kid.  So I internalized it even more.” Says David.

The mental affects of the abuse made it hard to relate with other kids. David was often alone. One night while out walking he met a group of kids and joined them as they smoked a joint. “Probably the second or third time that the joint went around was the first time that I can say I ever felt like I fit in.” He says, “And-and it numbed me.  I-I wasn't thinking about my past.  The next night I walked to the square, I met the same group of kids, and we drank. If I drank enough or smoked enough, then I couldn't feel the pain and I realized over time that if I stayed numb not only did I not think about my past, but nobody could hurt me now.”

In high school, David’s drug use escalated from marijuana and alcohol to methamphetamine, he says, “I ended up dropping out of high school because school got in the way of my partying time, and as my substance use progressed, so did my need for money.  So I ended up breaking into sheds and garages and stealing stuff and pawning it and ended up getting sentenced to prison at 20.”  

After serving a near two-year prison sentence, he learned how to cook and distribute meth. Still using, David’s life slid farther into darkness. He says, “I got to a point I didn't, I didn't care about my life, about anybody else's - I didn't care if hurt you.  My main focus was making money, sleeping with girls and staying high.  That's all I really cared about. It was all about my pleasure and if I hurt somebody I could really care less. When I died I'd turn to dust, so why did anything that I do matter today anyway?”  

David spent nearly two decades addicted to meth. He was an atheist and suicidal. He remembers, “I never saw myself escaping, you know?  Uh I felt hopeless all the time, I was depressed all the time, my entire life I felt like everything that had done – been done to me and everything I'd done, I walked around with that on my shoulders and it gets really heavy after a while. Uh, you don't – you're not in a drug world for as long as I am without doing negative things.”  

He tried to quit meth and began drinking heavily, then, he met a couple who invited him to church - after several weeks he joined them. David says, “I liked to make fun of Christians and try to make myself feel intellectually superior, you know?  And that's kinda the person I was.  And these people kinda hung on me anyway. And they loved me when I didn't love myself.  And they cared about me when I didn't care about myself.”

He continued going to church but felt powerless to stop drinking. Then one day while on his way to a party where he planned on getting drunk, he heard a Christian song on the radio that spoke to him. “The first words out of the speaker were ‘I wish you could see me now, I wish I could show you how I'm not who I was.’  And-and when those words came out I heard a voice I'd never heard before. And it said ‘Go home, you got this.’  And uh I thought about it and I pulled over to the side of the road and I sat there and cried for probably 5, 10 minutes and when I could see again I turned around and I went home.”

Desperate for change, he set up a meeting with James, a pastor at the church. David says, “I've tried everything else, you know?  I-I – at this time I've been to treatments more times than I can count on one hand, you know?  I've done medic – I've taken medication, I've seen psychiatrists, psychologists and, you know, he's like uh "Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins?" that thought of not having to walk around with all of my transgressions, with not having to-to continue to beat myself up for all the things people had done to me. I mean, it-it did, it reduced me to tears when I was talking to James.”

David surrendered his life to Jesus that day. He says everything changed. “And I felt like a weight had been lifted.  All those things that I had on my shoulders that whole time, I mean, it just kinda felt like they disappeared, and it was nice to actually have hope that there was more than just this life. And that hope gave me a whole new outlook.”

David was immediately set free from drugs, alcohol and a broken view of himself. He says, “Christ took all of that from me.  You know?  That whole – I like the words tabula rasa. You know, it means – ‘blank slate.’ And  like the fact that I-I thought that my life had already been written and now I have a clean slate to start over with.”

He went back to school and earned a master’s degree in social work. He is now a therapist, extending hope to those trapped in addiction. The wounds of his past have healed as he found his identity in Christ. David says, “He's allowed me to see myself as something other than a convict and a junky, you know?  I'm made in God's image.  Uh, you know, I'm able to look at myself and not see just a piece of junk, which is what I've always felt my whole life. You know, I’m able to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and I’m able to be proud of the person I am today and I’m able to –to give hope to other people and without Christ in my life, none of that happens.”

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