“I am 16 years old, in our tiny studio apartment in Russia, standing in front of my mom after I wrote her a heartfelt letter and asked her to choose me or her boyfriend. She explains that she doesn’t want to be alone after I grow up and leave her. She would rather accept verbal and physical abuse and continue drinking rather than keeping me close. From then on, I live with the story about myself that I am not enough. So I decide to take on a seemingly unachievable goal: go to the United States, make ton of money and buy a nice apartment for my mom so she can finally be happy. Maybe she will stop drinking and love me again. I work hard to get a visa and leave a year later in hopes to achieve my goal in the next few months and come back home as a family hero!”
2 months down the road: I realize that it will take me years to make enough money to buy an apartment, but I don’t want to come back with nothing. I am told that the quickest way to make money is to work for tips in hospitality industry, so I spend the next 10 years working in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, sending money for mortgage every month.
10 years later, I am addicted to alcohol and don’t know how to handle life without it. I live with an addict and don’t have a place of my own, my car is broken and I don’t have money to fix it, my green card and social security card are stolen and I don’t have money to pay for renewal. I feel stuck, miserable, hating my life and myself and have no purpose or hope. One day I remember that I came here to become my family’s hero, and I feel deep shame for letting myself get on the same self-destructive path as my mom and stepdad. So I decide to change…
I start praying to the God I have forgotten long time ago and decide to take action to get myself out of the self-destructive rut. I don’t know how yet, so I listen and watch for any available opportunity to change my circumstances. First, I head to church, stop going out, stop smoking and make my first attempt at quitting drinking. Next, I set aside money and apply for green card renewal. Then I leave my boyfriend and rent a room of my own at my friend’s house and go to alcohol classes to get my driver’s license back. Soon I am blessed with meeting my future husband Chris who helps me transition from night work to a day job. 2 years later we get married, buy a house and have a son, Noah. I get two consecutive promotions at my job, but decide to leave and work for a bank and have a normal schedule. I receive a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with High Honors. In addition, I finish a year-long Health Coaching Program and get certified.
I spend 8 years recovering my life and growing until one day I realize I am still stuck. God inspires me to write a memoir which takes me 4 years total, but from the very first chapters of writing, I realize I still drink occasionally, but regularly.
One day, my 2 year old son asks me: “Is that a beer, Mommy?” while I’m holding a drink in my hand. And then it hits me. And then I‘m mentally back home, in Russia, re-experiencing all the hurt caused by mom’s drinking and neglect. And I think to myself: If I don’t put the drink down now, for good, not only I will never reach my full potential in life, but I will also hurt my child forever. And that was it! That was what made all the difference. That was my breakthrough!
I already had a desire to help people to recover from their dysfunction and move forward, but now I had a real reason and a vision. I got enough courage to face my mom and had a 5-hour conversation with her, where I told her about everything that happened to me since I left home almost 20 years ago. My stepdad and her actually asked for forgiveness. She said that she always loved me, but she just didn’t know how to get out of her own dysfunctional cycle. I finally got my closure and accepted the past.
I didn’t pick up a drink again. Two months later God blessed me again. I finally got pregnant with a little girl that I have prayed for since my son was born, which gives me even more reason, motivation, and strength to focus on my progress and future growth instead of dwelling on and reliving my past, and I finally feel like I am somebody and I am enough, and I can and should be and AM loved, and now it’s time to really grow and discover my full potential and help people do the same. My main message to you is: Be the One to stop the generational cycle of dysfunction and self-destructive behaviors and be the main role model for your children!
Heal yourself so you don’t have to heal your kids