traumatic event changed my life

#traumaticbraininjury #copingwithmemoryloss #alcoholism #alateen

Last time I was writing my testimony I was living with my mom and step-dad again. The experience of the traumatic event changed my life trying out all night with my friend was the start of a change in me. I was ashamed and embarrassed by what happened. I could never tell mom the truth. I am the one who chose to go to the guy’s house. So, I took the punishment she gave me. I was 16 and she grounded me until I was 18.

Only things I could do while grounded was go to school and do Alateen things. I am not sure if I explained exactly what Alateen is. Teen Corner A place just for teens affected by someone else’s alcoholism.

That one decision by my mom led me to focus on me, to focus on friends who cared about me not just using me. My life became everything Alateen. While Alateen believes in a higher power, that higher power is what each person chooses it to be. I being a Christian could now recognize God in my life and discover Him in my own way.

I was not yet reading the Bible though so I really did not learn about God fully, I knew He was not what anyone else was saying He was. But what Alateen did do for me was provide loving caring friends and adult leaders who showered me with love. The love I yearned for from others. I stopped seeking out boys. Mom did not give me time to do any of that. I did not have a desire to do that anyways.

the traumatic event changed my life

Every year Alateen has a convention of three states of Alateen groups coming together to celebrate life and healing. To meet other teens and adult sponsors. We would gather in the middle state at a hotel. This weekend convention was crazy. Alateen meetings around the clock, filled with kids talking and supporting each other in healing. A weekend full of tears, hugs, and love. We would have a dance and a formal dinner. The closing meeting was everyone gathered together. It would be 500 or more kids crying and saying goodbye for another year.

This song always brings tears to my eyes. Three Alateen conventions, singing this song all 500 kids and sponsor adults. We hold hands and sing as loud as possible to each other, crying and hugging. Knowing we had to leave the safety of our friendships to go back to our sick families where alcoholism was involved.

the traumatic event changed my life

It was Alateen that showed me I was more than what I felt I was. I was 18, really no friends at school. But Alateen friends where my world. I graduated from High School and had a plan. I was going to work in the field that my Alateen sponsor worked in. She used to work in the Mental Health field. Helping others hurting as I used to hurt. I felt good, I felt strong. Then that fateful drive with my friend Eden. The drive home from an Alateen meeting.

I do not remember much about that day. I did not have my license yet because of my epilepsy but Eden had hers. She would drive me everywhere, she was my best friend. The road to take me home we had to drive a 2 lane country road. On the other end of this road was a 4 lane highway. For some reason, I did not put on my seatbelt even though Eden told me to. She had to make a left turn to go towards the town I lived in. What she failed to see because we were busy talking was an oncoming pick up truck. This truck hit us just as she was making the left turn. It ended up on top of me and if I did wear my seat belt I would be dead today. (no, I do not recommend going without your seatbelt, more people die from not wearing them.)

While Eden walked away from the car accident with a twisted ankle, I was rushed to the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. I hit and cracked the windshield with my head before I slid below the dashboard. I was in a coma for 24 hours and the hospital for 2 weeks or so. I do not remember. I think I have been told that I had to be restrained during this time because I just wanted to go home. I also called Eden several times a day I guess because she was the last person I saw before having my head scrambled.

the traumatic event changed my life

Remember I said my mom and I thought I had high functioning autism? Well she and I think the car accident scrambled my brain so much that now it is not the autism I deal with but brain injury. No doctor would say that happened, but I no longer deal with the symptoms of autism. As an adult, my counselor even said I show no signs of autism. But what I deal with now is just as hard as autism I think.

To begin with, in the early days I had to learn everything over again. Who I was, who my family was. I guess I did know them because I called everyone by their full names. Even my parents. I do not remember any of this. First thing I remember is going with nurses and therapists on a riverboat ride. I had a crush on a fellow patient who was just as lost as I was. My seeking love from boys was back. The accident sent my maturity back to 16 years old.

On top of all that I was too old for Alateen! The only way I could be involved in that was to be an adult sponsor. I was really lost, then to add fuel to the fire my friend Eden sent me a “Dear John” letter. Telling me she never wanted to see or talk to me again. I was devastated, I wanted back what I lost but could not get it back. (I am fighting back tears as I write this).

the traumatic event changed my life

I am going to stop the story here. The next in this series will be how I got through my healing from my TBI (traumatic brain injury). Where my decisions took me. But I can promise you this, if my TBI did not happen I would not be where I am today. I would not be writing to you. God uses my TBI and everything to show that He is real and there is hope for anyone out there. He will use your life experiences to bring about His glory and you will gain so much. Maybe not in material things, but in your inner self. Just hold on to the hope that He will see you through.

Outside Sources

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

101 Tips for Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Who Are Al-Anon Members?