I was 19 years old and had the world at my fingertips. I came from the picture perfect family… two cars in the garage, two successful working parents, nice house, a dog, and two children, a boy and a girl. I was the girl, my name is Crystal Hampton. I had no reason to be attracted to a “bad boy” or someone I knew would break my heart but I did it anyways. When I turned 18 I took my first drink and that is what started a long road of alcoholism for me. I hated the way it tasted but loved the way it made me feel. I felt outgoing, accepted, fun, pretty, and confident. When in actuality I was the opposite of these things but was just hiding behind the veil of alcohol.
When I met Steve I had just started experimenting with drugs. I was really good at playing the part of the perfect daughter and my parents had no idea I was drinking or doing drugs. I guess you could say I fell in with the wrong crowd and every single decision I had made up until that point led me to the desperate place I was the day I met him. I was broken, insecure, had no idea who I was, and was seeking approval from everyone around me. Steve was 23 so he was legal to buy us alcohol and was the “cool kid” in our little group. I wanted a piece of that importance in my life. Someone who was better than me to love me so I wouldn’t feel like I was completely worthless. I fell in line… I played the part and became someone I knew he would be interested in. I changed everything about myself to get him, and I did.
We drank, we partied, and we fought. A couple of weeks after we had started dating while heavily intoxicated he dropped me off at my house and came in arguing with me. He slapped me across the face and went flying across the room onto the couch. He took off out of my house and my mom came running downstairs to see what had happened. Needless to say my family did not want me to ever see him again but after that night I got really good at hiding the bruises and acting as if everything was ok.
One fateful night I could no longer hide it and my friends saw the abuse first hand. We had a party at his house and all of my friends from work came. We were drinking and having a great time… then the night turned in a absolute nightmare. I was talking to one of my guy friends in the kitchen and Steve came in accusing me of cheating on him with my friends and pushed me into the counter and punched me in the face. My friend tried to pull him off of me and got hit himself. Steve reached around and grabbed a large butcher knife and started chasing me around the house trying to stab me.
At this point the abuse was no longer a secret and I could not hide it anymore. As he chased me around the house with the knife chaos broke loose and everyone was trying to get out of there unharmed. He threw me to the ground and I my head smacked into the concrete and I felt the hot blood spilling out of me. I thank God everyday for my friends who made sure I got out of there safely and pulled me off of the floor in time for me to escape with my life. I went to the hospital to treat my wounds. The police showed up to tell me they had arrested Steve and took statements from my friends and I.
He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and prosecuted by the state. I was free from him but still in the grips of the trauma that had happened over the last year. I was away at college at the time and could not completely abandon my studies to get inpatient treatment but my drinking and drug use got much worse to avoid feeling the trauma of what had happened to me. I knew if I did not deal with these emotions it would run me for the rest of my life. My mom watched me in this downward spiral and stepped in to find me help. I started in a 90 day outpatient program with intensive therapy to deal with my trauma and substance abuse.
It was incredibly difficult and painful but it taught me how to cope and heal from the trauma of the abuse. I am not going to lie there are still triggers that hit me out of nowhere and take me back those moments, but I now have the coping skills to process those emotions and work through it. Through working a program of recovery in AA I am now healthy, happy, and sober and no longer need to numb my feeling with substances!
Was this difficult? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely yes! By working through these events in my life I was able to break the cycle. Now my passion has become helping other women who have been or still are where I was at. You are worth living the beautiful that you deserve!
Crystal Hampton is a 37 year old avid writer from South Florida. She loves snuggling with her teacup yorkie Gator and boyfriend Adam. She works for a digital marketing company that advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.