Healing Scars of Abuse and Self Hatred

“I didn’t –I didn’t want to live anymore. You know, I wanted God to just end it for me because I was too afraid to do it myself.”

When Niki was young she had a pure, childlike faith and love for God. But that faith turned to pain and resentment when a family member began molesting her when she was nine. “I definitely changed. My innocence went. That’s when I got very angry at God. I still believed He was there; I just couldn’t understand why He would let that happen to a child at the time.

For years Niki didn’t know how to tell her parents about the abuse she was going through. “I’d punch holes in the walls, I started to cut myself because the pain of the physical took away the emotional stuff that I didn’t know how to handle.”

In high school, drinking and partying helped bury her emotional torment. Then after a sports injury she found a new escape with OxyContin. “Instantly I was hooked,” she says, “It was my best friend. It was my lover.  You know, it was my family. It was everything. I didn’t need anyone else when I had that. And I didn’t care about anything else in my life, and eventually, once a month became once a week to five times a week to every day.”

When she ran out of pills her boyfriend introduced her to heroin. Niki was instantly hooked. “And I thought, I’m a heroin addict now? And I remember looking at myself in the mirror just so disgusted. She says, “And at that moment I –that’s really when it sunk in like I’m now an IV-using junkie. You know. Like that person that you picture in your head, and I just was so lost and hopeless.”

Then in 2013, while strung out on heroin, she had a head on collision that nearly killed her. While healing in the hospital Niki called her drug dealer. When she couldn’t pay, he demanded sexual favors. She says, “And I felt just like that little girl that was abused again.  I just felt worthless. And I was just praying for the moment that God would say enough is enough, you’ve failed, you know. Like I thought this was just some cruel joke. And I still wouldn’t pray. The whole time I would not ask for help or ask Him to show me what to do or give me the strength to get through it. I was so angry at Him.”

Once she was out of the hospital Niki became homeless when an argument with a family member turned violent. “I realized like –like at that moment I was just was so broken. I felt like a used doll, you know. That people just threw aside. And it was difficult so I did more drugs, you know, and I did more things to get the drugs. At that moment, I’d say, that was like the first time where I didn’t think like ‘oh I’ll get this tomorrow’. Like I lost that hope.”

Soon after, she was arrested on an old warrant. Niki entered her cell alone and in despair. “I remember being so tough when they cuffed me again because it was just another arrest. But when I got into that cell alone this time, and I had all that pain and trauma from everything, and absolutely nothing left in my life, I just hit my knees in the jail cell and that’s when I asked God to please help me, that I can’t do this anymore. And like something was different about this time. When I was on knees, that burden of hatred and disgust with self and all that, it kind of like lightened. I felt like –like He was there with me. Like someone put the hand on my shoulder and said you’re going to be okay, that’s what it felt like, you know. I just had faith again for the first time in so long.

After her release from jail she went through rehab and was finally able to stay clean. Niki says things began to change as she allowed God to heal her pain. She says, “I pray daily and I ask for help and I ask Him to give me His will, not mine, you know. And life is just so much easier. I have that love that inside me now, regardless of who I have physically here, you know. And that’s really what I was missing this whole time. And I feel this happiness inside today because of that, that I never knew was possible. Like I’m so happy I don’t know what to do with it sometimes you know.”

Today Niki runs a sober house where she helps addicts find hope and life again. “And I get to help them and see the light come back in them. And the glow in their face and the faith that they have restored, you know. And it’s an amazing transformation when you get to be a part of it and see it from beginning to end, and that’s what really fills me up is to know that I’m doing a lot to help other people," she says.

The scars from a lifetime of abuse and self-hatred have been healed as she has made room for God’s healing presence in her life. “I’ve been able to forgive and forget about the family members that hurt me, you know, my dreams are just awakening really, you know. And the more that I go, the more I see that anything’s possible again, you know. And I couldn’t do it without God.”

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