From: Mary Ballard Bernstein, MSAJS

I had thought that I was empathetic and a good person. I had become a Christian at age 8 in the Salvation Army Church many, many moons ago. I encountered difficulties and a fork in the road at age 14, spiraled into drug abuse and would not attend school. I self-medicated because I felt sorry for myself and the hand that I had been dealt in life. I never knew my biological father who was an alcoholic.

My mother had an extremely traumatic upbringing and young adulthood, yet I blamed them both for my tormented psyche without acknowledging that they themselves were the walking wounded doing the best that they could. My father was much older than my mother; he was 50, she 24 when I was born. A May-December relationship fulfilling a void between two hurting souls.

My father had been in World War II, probably suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the horrific experience. The only solace and peace he could find was in the bottom of a bottle. My mother had three children before me removed as she had been married to an unstable man and returned to her mother. My mother left for a time to pursue finding a job in a metropolis, welfare was not available at the time, and therefore one had to rely on the kindness and charity of relatives. When my mother returned after a time, the children had been adopted out.

I was highly critical of my parents and ashamed. I vowed that my children would not suffer and I would be a much better parent than I had experienced. When you point your finger at someone, there are four more pointing back at you. I was sent to the Rebecca School for Girls in Corpus Christi, Texas at 15 for one year. This angered me and I rebelled excessively once released.

I slid deeply into the abyss of drugs and alcohol with my boyfriend and father of my first child. Once I became pregnant I did not ingest such things and adopted a holier than thou attitude. The birth of the child was elevation into the adult world at 19. I immediately began Business College because I wanted my child to have a better life and not want for anything.

I was not married, had extensive relationships with older men repeating the pattern that I had observed from my mother. My behavior swung from saint to sinner constantly. I justified everything I did, whether selfish or wicked or not, with a smug sense of entitlement because I worked and I was going to school. However, I have been emotionally unavailable to my children, retreating into netherworlds of drugs or alcohol feeling that they were better off than I, that they did not suffer as I had.

My second child was a product of my marriage in another territory; the sons have grown up apart. I have felt torn for years wanting to be in two places at once, to divide myself in half. I repeated behavior of my mother whom I judged, left one son with his father, had another one to replace loss and pain. I always contributed financially to both households, both children so I felt it was acceptable that I achieved inebriation constantly. I became educated, achieved a masters' degree, mentored other students and all the while justified my behavior.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I obtained the higher degree to stop child pornography and eradicate such practices. However, I was beholden to professors, employers and the stress was great. Therefore, my drinking increased and I graduated to stronger spirits, evolving from wine to vodka.

I graduated in April 2008 and felt that a new life would begin in the criminal justice realm. My system broke down July 30, 2008. The diagnostic that I performed on myself is that it was related to food poisoning. It may not have been, it may have been that the years of self-medicating and abuse caught up with me. It is nearing the end of October 208 and we still are uncertain what is occurring in the digestive tract. Something led me to Ferd Sebastian, Testimonies.com and 2Jesus.org, perhaps Divine Timing. Perhaps this is synchronicity in operation.

Never have I been brought to my knees before and repented extensively. Perhaps this experience is bitter sweet; I will come out a better person. Never have I appreciated the simplistic things in life so much, never have I appreciated my family and loved ones so much. Ferd prayed a prayer with me spiritually and I believe that Jesus has healed me. Another pastor suggested the reading of Hebrews Chapter II over and over. Ferd stated that the physical merely needs to catch up with the spiritual. Thank you Jesus for this undeserving third chance. I cannot drink, smoke or over eat any longer. A blessing in disguise thanks to divine timing. Praise the Lord! The Bible does not lie, it means what it says!

A sad life.. But it will have a happy ending. Thank you Jesus ... 2jesus