“The tunnels don’t get much blacker than they did for me!”

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 19:52 -- Anna

The sexual abuse began when she was six years old, but she lived to tell her story …

She was thrown down a stairway by her first husband who tried to abort her pregnancy, but she lived to tell her story …

She battled cancer at ages 21 and 29, but she lived to tell her story …

She sought love in all the wrong places and only found meth and brutal abuse, but she lived to tell her story …

He beat her and left her for dead in a gun cabinet for three days, but she lived to tell her story …

Weighing less than 100 pounds, covered with scabs from meth use and traumatized by losing her daughters, she tried to commit suicide, but she lived to tell her story …

Now, nearly ten years clean of drugs, happily married and gainfully employed, she wants to help others by telling her story.

                I’ll call her “Peggy” – I kind of knew her and her Detroit Lakes family – but I didn’t know her background and how it would solidify my belief in the importance of the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center and other organizations that provide a safety net. I have learned her parents ignored the sexual abuse she suffered early in life that played a part in what she calls her “wild streak” as a teenager. She craved love from her parents but never felt it so she tried to earn it by exceling in advanced classes in high school and at a Moorhead university. One remaining semester of college stood in the way of a professional degree. Still she felt unloved so she sought comfort through marriage but when a bout with cancer was followed by an unexpected pregnancy, her husband resorted to violence. She was the working poor, now divorced with two young daughters to care for; she returned to her hometown in hopes of finding answers.

“Every guy attracted to me seemed to have meth in his pockets,” she recalled, and before long, she was hooked and living with her dealer, Danny. The abuse was beyond most of our comprehension.  His paranoid accusations (brought on by meth use) claimed she was cheating on him when in reality she was home with her preschoolers becoming more and more withdrawn from friends and family, wasting away on drugs. When he threw her head-first into the refrigerator door and one of her four year olds tried to defend her, she knew it was time to flee.  From a safe house she was sent for treatment in Duluth and her sister took guardianship of her daughters but meth had a grip on Peggy she could not resist. She called Danny to help her escape from the program that was designed to save her life.  More paranoia and abuse followed until her dad finally intervened and she was committed to treatment. Again, a lifesaving program almost resulted in death as she tried to strangle herself with her shoe laces. God was not obvious to Peggy before that day but she is convinced God sent a male guard in to check on her. He resuscitated her and she was given yet another chance at life. The State Hospital was her next step to recovery. She felt safe locked up in Fergus Falls because she knew Danny couldn’t harm her and she finally set her goal on recovery so she could be reunited with her daughters.

Additional treatment followed; it was not easy but those dark, dark days are nearly ten years ago. Once again she believes God intervened.  She met a Detroit Lakes man who is the opposite of any fellow she ever dated.  She finally feels loved. They’ve been married eight years, her daughters are part of their family, and she’s working full time in a managerial position. She has participated in groups at the LCRC and her daughters found help dealing with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

“The tunnels don’t get much blacker than they were for me,” she says. “Whenever I feel like veering off the path, I feel God bringing me back.” She doesn’t claim to have a “rainbow answer” but she knows she wants to help others.

As far as Danny who tried to repeatedly kill her – left her for dead in a gun cabinet for three days -- now he’s dead – cancer got him. When Peggy heard the news she went out and bought some bright red lipstick. No longer will she live in fear – she has lived to tell her story!