The Resentment That Almost Killed Me

img_2038While walking through my recovery, a very important step was to write down all the people, places and things that I had a resentment to.  I was to write, in columns, the who, where, or what, why I had the resentment, what effect it had on my life, and what my part was, if any.  I found that in most cases I played a part in the resentment.  Once the work was done, I was to share it with someone I trusted.  During  process, I learned something that would change my life forever.  I learned that on of the most important keys in recovery from my alcoholism, was to put myself on my resentment list.

In that very moment a light bulb went on for me. Oh dear Lord, this is why I have relapsed with alcohol over and over again. This is what has kept me from surrendering my will to you. In facing the past, I would have to face the pain of just how much I hated myself for what I had done. I hated that person in the mirror. I actually had gotten to a place where I didn’t look in mirrors anymore. I found that the hate for myself, my guilt and shame, were at the root of my continuing to turn to the bottle even when I knew it was killing me. I would pick up a drink in an instant, just to not have to feel that pain. I think at times that kind of pain, the soul crushing kind, can drive people to consider suicide…..IF…and this is a huge IF…it is handled alone.

I also started to realize in this moment, that I wasn’t alone.

Psalms 118:5
In anguish I cried out to The Lord and he answered by setting me free.

For many alcoholics like me, by the time we discover that there is a solution to our alcoholism, the damage has already been done. Our husbands have suffered, our children have been neglected, our parents have cried until there are no tears left. Here we sit trying to get sober, but all the while trying to bear the guilt and shame of the past, all alone. So there I was with the name Lori Payne staring back at me, under the column labeled Who. The Who was me. It looked something like this.

Who:                                Lori Payne

What they Did:             Became an Alcoholic

How it effected Me:    Ruined my life

My part:                         Stayed in Denial, allowing the Disease to take over

There it was. Staring me in the face. I finally knew what had caused me to continue to pick-up a drink after knowing how bad it was destroying my life, and the lives of those unfortunate enough to be caught up in it. I could not handle the pain of my own shame and guilt. I would rather pick-up a bottle and all that entails, than feel the pain of my brokeness. Broken dreams, broken lives, broken hearts. When I looked at my son, I saw the years I had lost. The years he had lost. When I saw my husband I thought how could he ever truly love me again. He might love me again, but he would never see me as a wife to be adored, a wife to love as Christ loved the church. No, that kind of love was gone.
Let me tell you something from experience. When hate lives in your heart, you are doomed for brokeness. When the hate is for yourself, YOU will eventually destroy YOU.

It came time for me to share my inventory, something that I had done before.  This time when I shared about resenting myself, the pain came, the tears flowed, my guts hurt.  I began to list the awful things that I had done.  The shame and guilt poured out of me like vomit.  I went on and on for several hours with my sponsor.  I shared how I had driven drunk with my child in the care.  I shared stories of being drunk at family weddings, funerals, church.  But I think the worst pain was when I realized just how long my drinking had lasted.  I had lost time with loved ones that I could never get back.  Hurt that couldn’t be undone.  Babies that were never born.  Memories that were gone forever.  I wept.  I wept for me, I wept for my family, I wept for what could have been.

Then Jesus came.  He showed up just when I thought the pain would be too much.  Peace started to come over me.  It was exactly like my friends in recovery had shared with me.  My sweet Jesus would carry the load with me, if I would just turn to him.  Something happened to me that day.  Jesus showed up and carried my sin and shame.  For the first time in my life, I started to feel free.  I finally knew with every ounce of my heart and soul that Jesus loved me.  I knew that I wouldn’t ever have to feel alone again, I had Jesus.  He died on the cross, not just for everyone else, he died for me.  That day I began to live.


Finding A Star…The Rest of the Story

imageThat night at Chastains was a night that I will probably will never forget. Toby introduced us to some of his family and friends in between sets, and the band and Toby sounded great. He sang several songs that he had written, and also a rock song with a rap in the middle. It was the first time I had heard anything like that, but it worked! It really worked! Creativeness in music and songwriting was certainly one of his strong characteristics. I don’t think there’s much that he wouldn’t try musically, and he seemed to just have the gift for putting it all together and producing something that makes you want to hear it over and over. The night went by way too fast, and we all made plans to meet for breakfast in the morning.

I believe it was a Denny’s. Present were myself, Toby, Mr.Shedd and Fred Cortez, who was Toby’s close friend and owner of Chastains. After what seemed like small talk that would never end. Harold said something close to this,

“Well I’m interested in doing a record on you….”

Toby immediately replied, “I want you to produce me.”

So there the conversation began of the timeline and what that might look like, and then one small detail…

Toby asked, “What about the band?”

“Well you can use any band you want on the road, but I don’t need a band on the label.”

Toby truly was the backbone of the band, but I’m sure it was still very disappointing for those other men who had played with him for quite some time. But business is business so Toby Keith solo artist was about to get his big chance.

I excused myself to the ladies room, and on my way back out, Toby and I were face to face in the small bathroom entryway. We were both speechless really. I think I let out some kind of immature girly squeal and hugged him. Neither one of us could have fathomed the road that lie ahead.

It was several months before recording actually started. The project fittingly titled
Toby Keith, was recorded at the famous Music Mill Recording Studio in Nashville.
The label staff were throwing around the idea of which song to use as the first single. They decided on a song, which would later be given the title of the most played country song of the 1990’s. That song, Shoulda Been A Cowboy was Toby’s first number one song, and still one of my favorites.

I continued to stay close to Toby and his career that first year.  I can remember thinking, wow that was easy!  But in reality I would come to learn that these types of success from an artist on their first album are pretty rare.  Many times it takes lots of trial and error, and even then there are problems such as record companies closing down, and getting radio to even play your songs.  Yes, I learned a lot during that time about the business of music.

One afternoon Toby called me up, and asked me if I would be interested in working with his Fan Club. I immediately said yes, but fear shot up through the back of my neck like it was on fire.  He asked me to get back with him about a time that we could talk about the details.  I said I would, and hung up the phone.

What have I done?  I don’t know anything about a fan club?  Did he say, “working with his fan club” or “running his fan club?”  What if I screw it up.  What if I don’t know what I’m doing….what if….what if
What if he can’t pay me….I can’t quit my Flight Attendant job.  So here is where I did what I had done so many times in my life, I didn’t respond back to him, out of fear.  I was afraid to try.  Afraid to fail.  Afraid of disappointing him.  Afraid that in the big world of the Country Music business, I would look stupid.  Fear and Pride, the bondage that kept me from trying to do a job that might have eventually led me to my dream of working in the Music Business.

Over the years we have kept in touch and my family and I make it out to a show when we can. I still love music, but God has given me another passion, to help others in recovery, and serve him. Through Toby’s support, we are able to give Life Recovery Bibles to the women in the jail ministry class. God is good, and he knows what he’s doing, even when we have no clue😊

Finding A Star……Continued

Who said timing is everything? In this case I guess it was pretty close. I pulled out a tape of songs written and recorded by my friend Toby and the Easy Money Band. Perfect! I love his music, maybe Mr. Mercury will love it too. I popped it in my topper pocket, and headed toward his seat. For a split second, I almost turned around. If I give him the tape, thats the only one I have…..Funny when I think about that today, but that is the truth, I didn’t want to give up my only tape of my friend. I thought better of my turn around plan and decided to give up the tape.  Approaching his seat, a little nervous, I wanted to say the right thing.

“Excuse me, I just remembered that I have this tape of my friend Toby from Oklahoma. He is a really good singer, and I really like the songs that he writes. Would you be willing to listen?”
“Oh ok, I’ll listen to it in the car a little later, I’m a bit tired right now.”
My heart sunk. He’s giving me the brush off. My only tape……Oh Lori, maybe he is just tired, besides you have always thought that music sounded better blaring in the car anyway, right? Then I realized the tape I handed him had a name and only a name. That wasn’t very smart. I quick scribbled my name and number on a piece of paper and headed back to Mr. Mercury.
“I’m sorry to bother you again. I realized that if you like the tape, you will need a contact.”
He was very polite and said, “Oh yes thank you. Is this you?”
“Yes it is.”
“I will give you a call. Thank You Lori.”
“You are welcome. Thank you for being willing to listen.”
Ok, now that was a little better than, “I’m tired”. Maybe he will listen. Maybe he will like it. Maybe…….Oh there I go again…big dreams…..
The trip ended three days later, and I walk in the door of my apartment in Nashville. Just a one bedroom, but it was nice to have my own place. In New York we lived four to a two bedroom, which was fun for a while but not a life I wanted to live for too long. I did what I always did coming home from a trip, I went straight to the answering machine to see who called me when I was gone. This was before the days of affordable cell phones. The only cell phones out there were about the size of a good size paper back book, with a long antenna sticking up on top, and not yet affordable for most people. I pushed the flashing button to see who had called. The first call caused me to sit straight down on the nearest chair.
“Ah hello there this is Harold Shedd with Mercury Records. I have a tape here that you gave me on my flight to LA….ah let’s seeToby Keith? I listened to his music, and I was pleasantly surprised. Could you give me a call back? I have some questions for you. Thank you, Goodbye.”
Nervous I grabbed the phone. I couldn’t wait to talk with Mr. Shedd.
“Mr. Shedds office.”
“Yes hello my name is Lori Hardin, I am returning Mr. Shedd’s call.”
“Just one moment………Lori, please hold for Mr. Shedd.”
“Thank You.”
“Hello Lori nice to hear back from you. I’m interested in hearing more from Toby. Did he write the songs on the tape?”
“Yes he did.”
“Do you know if his publishing is open.”
Publishing open……not sure what that means….
“No I don’t but I can find out.”
“Yeah why don’t you do that, and do you have any more of his music I could hear?”
“Yes I have a project he recorded about a year ago with his Easy Money Band”.
“If you don’t mind, drop that in the mail to me, my assistant can give you the info., and then find out about publishing and give me a call back. Will that work?”
“That’s fine. I will get right back to you.”
My heart was pounding. In my gut, I somehow knew that this man was truly interested in Toby, and I also knew he had the power to give him his big shot. Only one problem. How do I get in touch with Toby? The only time I would ever see him was when he was performing somewhere. I didn’t have a phone number, address, anything. I did have a number for one of his band members, I decided to start there.
I called this gentleman and he actually answered the phone. I explained the situation and asked him for Toby’s number.
“I’m sorry Lori, I don’t think Toby would want me to give out his phone number.”
“Are you serious???? Do you know how big this could be!!!!! Here is my number……….call him right now and tell him to call me it is urgent!”
Somehow the seriousness of the opportunity got through this guys head and he said, “OK, I’ll call him now.”
In what seemed like forever, my phone starting ringing…….. 

I’m really having trouble finishing up with this story. Not that it isn’t a great, fun story, but as I was reading through what I had written, I wondered why I was writing the story at all. I started it out wanting to share how fear had been such a huge part of my life when I was younger, and that was my focus. But somehow I got into what I think sounds more like, look what I did, I am so wonderful.  That really wasn’t my beginning intent. But you see I  have this thing called the flesh, and the flesh really likes to feel good. It really likes to pat itself on the back.  I am going to try to continue this story in a more appropriate way, that might have some hope for others as well.

The phone was ringing. I picked it up quickley, and yes on the other end was Toby Keith. I explained to him the details of my flight and that a Mr. Harold Shedd was interested in his music and wanted to hear more. He knew right away who Mr. Shedd was, and before the days of Google, he was able to enlighten me as well. I asked him about his publishing, which was open, and if he could send me more music.

The next few weeks, Toby sent me more music and I delivered it to Mr. Shedds office. At one visit he asked me if Toby would be performing anywhere the next weekend, he had some free time and would like to fly out and see him. Toby happened to be playing at a club close to his hometown on just that weekend. Thats perfect, said Mr. Record Guy. I will have  Joyce book my flights. Now, are you going as well………These words made fear race from my shoulders all the way up my back. I had never thought about that. Then he said, “You did put this all together……” “Sure I can do that.” Oh Lori what are you saying. You don’t even know this man, and all you know about the music buisness you have read in books.

Here’s where the fear began to really torment me. What if something goes wrong……what if he doesn’t even like Toby when he hears him. What if he is not a nice man……then what. You are pretending to be something you are not Lori. You know nothing about the music buisness, you just have a good ear for music. You are acting like a manager, and you are not.

I wish I could go back to that young girl and tell her that she does have talent. I would tell her, “You are a good communicator, people like to talk to you. You are a hard worker, and yes you do have a great ear for music, the kind of ear that instinctively knows what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try.

The week passed and Mr. Shedd and I flew out to Oklahoma City to watch Toby perform at a club called Chastains. When we walked in the door Toby was on….and I do mean ON! He was singing a cover of The Kentucky Headhunters Song called Walk Softly on this Heart of Mine. Mr. Shedd had just signed the Kentucky Headhunters about a year earlier, and they were hot! Another moment of great timing.

As the night went on Toby sang many songs that he had written. Blue Moon, She Ain’t Worth Missin, Wish I Didn’t Know Now. These songs in the very near future would top the Billboard Charts.

Finding a Star, When Your Afraid To Shine

It was my dream.  I’ve never really talked about it, somehow I knew it wouldn’t come true.

When I started with American Airlines in 1988, I was sent from Clovis, NM population 30,000 to live in New York City, population way too many.  I was scared out of my mind, but so excited I could explode!  I never really felt like I fit in back home, more my insecurity than anything, so NY was a fresh and exciting start.  I lived with three other young women. in a two bedroom apartment, in Kew Gardens, NY in the borough of Queens. We were the first Flight Attendants to move into the new building.  To this day, it is known as a flight attendant favorite, crawling with blue uniforms, Travelpro suitcases, and five am taxis to the airport.  I loved New York.  I loved the city and all the excitement, but never saw myself staying.  Instead of a bed, I purchased a futon type “thing” and put it right on the floor.  Six months later, American announced they were opening a Flight Attendant Base in Nashville, TN.  They were recruiting for the base.  Here’s where my dream comes in.

From the time I was a little girl, I loved music.  Specifically Country Music.  I can remember sitting in my room playing Ronnie Milsap and The Bee Gees.  I know The Bee Gees weren’t Country, but they were….  The Bee Gees.  As I grew older, I enjoyed many genres of music.  I just loved good music.  I especially had a heart for the songs. To me, a songwriter was in a whole league of their own.  They were gifted people.  Lyrics and Music.  That was my passion.  I find as I write this, that I am still embarrassed to share my heart.  I wanted to work in the Music business, or possibly even sing.

The Flight Attendant base was opened in Nashville, and I got my transfer.  There could not have been a happier young lady on the planet.  The airport held a luncheon at Opryland Hotel for all of the new Flight Attendants and to announce the opening of the base.  We were treated  special, like the city was waiting just for us. It was such an exciting time for Nashville and particularly the airline industry.

I found an apartment close to the airport and settled in.  If you asked me then, and even now, I would say, “I was born to live in Nashville!”  I met another Flight Attendant who liked music as much as I did and we instantly became friends.  Her name was Tamara and she was from Kruger, MS.  Being from a small town also, I had a lot in common with not only her, but the way she grew up. We always had some concert or event to go to on our days off, and because we could fly for free and had the energy of 20 somethings, we stayed busy.

Here I was,  living in the perfect area to pursue my dream.  It wasn’t hard to meet people in the Music Industry, they were everywhere and I was amazed how easy I could strike up a conversation.  That was not me.  But when it came to music, I really had a passion that was hard to turn off.   It also didn’t hurt that I was young, somewhat cute, and could fly around the world.  That leads me to the finding of a star.

When I was in college at New Mexico State University, my girlfiends and I loved to go dancing and listen to live bands. One band that was very popular in the area was The Easy Money Band. The lead singer had also written a lot of songs so they would do original material instead of just cover songs.   I remember thinking that the way they traveled in that beat up school bus, there was no way it was easy.  I loved to dance but I really loved to sing.  My roommate and I became friends with the band and somehow I convinced the lead singer, Toby, to sing a duet with me. We practiced during the day at the club, and he allowed me to sing it with him at night.  We sang a Crystal Gayle song, “Makin Up For Lost Time.”  I shutter now to think how bad I must have sounded, I could never go on stage without a sip or two of encouragement.  I loved it.  Those were some of my best memories of College.

Now here I am in Nashville,  flying, going to concerts, and hanging around a country music crowd.  I was had no idea how a simple flight to Los Angeles would make my life to come so exciting.  I also had no idea that flight would change another persons life, in a really big way, for the rest of his life.  I was picking up trash in Main Cabin, not First Class, when a gentleman asked me for a market bag like the one I was picking up with.  I said sure and retrieved him a bag.  During the flight the same man would listen to cassette tapes, think late 80’s early 90’s, then toss them in the market bag. Sometime later, he handed me the bag and asked me to throw it away.  Ok, just for the record, when you ask a flight attendant to throw something away, we usually take a looksy first.  Can’t help it, I think we were just made that way.  I took a look and saw what to me looked like demo tapes.

“Wow, some poor people have poured their hearts into these tapes. Oh Lori, don’t be so dramatic. They are probably just looking for a song for an artist. Not like someone’s career is on the line or anything.”

I couldn’t help it, I was dying to ask, so I did.

“You listen to a lot of music.”  I must have sounded like a total airhead.

“Yes I do that’s my job, he said. Then he went a step farther and pulled out a business card and handed it to me.

Without looking at it, I muttered a few, wow you must like you job, and how exciting, do you need anything? Then went on my merry way right back to the galley to take another look. Not sure I even noticed the name but there was the title:

President Mercury Records

Woah…….I was wrong. Careers were potentially made by this man. Someone on one of those tapes may get their chance, or not.  I just threw a bag of dreams in the trash.  Certainly those people have given tapes to other important record people, hopefully.  Nothing against this man, he has a job to do, but wow what a job.  Then I remembered something I had put in my tote bag……………. 



Be Ware of the Hair Salon

On the way to the airport this morning I watched as several men crossed the road adjacent to the Davidson County Jail. I pass this road at least once a week. The faces change, but the pain can always be felt. It may be in their dirty clothes, their faces, the words on the cell as they beg someone to come get them. But the pain can always be felt.
This is always a familiar sight, and sometimes brings back memories of my own journey. This morning, I think of a particular time that my drinking didn’t quite turn out as I wanted…..surprise surprise surprise.
It all started at the hairdresser. You wouldn’t think anyone could get into trouble at a hairdresser, right? Well if you are an alcoholic like I was, then the idea seems quite reasonable. I was trying out a new hairdresser in my home town. Everything…

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Throw Back Thursday/Missed Blessings

Cole receiving a Pride Award at Poplar Grove School. He was 6 years old. I wasn’t there that day to see his sweet smile. I was in a Treatment Center in Utah. Cole would receive another award that year. I missed that one too. Looking back I’m so grateful to the Aunts, Uncles, Grandma’s and friends who stepped in to try to make things seem as normal as possible. There was also Coles sweet counselor at school. She kept an open door policy for him, and if he needed to talk he could. I would encourage any parents who have issues at home, don’t be afraid to reach out to the school counselors. Most times the children won’t reach out themselves, but as a parent or a family member, you can talk with the counselor and they are more than willing to reach out to the child. That certainly was my experience, and I will forever be grateful. Cole has shared many times the huge impact this woman made on his life.
Today, I am present with all my heart and soul! I am grateful for Gods gift of another chance in life. Next time, I will be there, because I don’t want to miss a thing!
God Bless You


Finding Betty A Story Continues

As I scrolled through my blog today, I decided it was time to continue a story I started quite some time ago. If you would like, you can read the Finding Betty posts in my archives. I will try to catch you up a little here.

After a wine filled day watching Montel Williams, I decided it was a good time to find my birth mother.  I was adopted, before I was born and had found my birth mothers name when I was in my twenties, but never really considered trying to find her.  I think I was afraid of what I might find, good or bad, or that maybe she wouldn’t want me to find her.  But fueled with alcohol, it seemed like the perfect thing to do.  Her name was Betty Jean Ducham.  I used the tool that Montel had said was a great source  “Find Anyone Anywhere.somethingorother” I typed in the words Betty Ducham. My heart started to pound out of my chest as I saw a number come up 78.  Your kidding, only 78 found, this might actually be easier than I thought.  There were several Duchams listed in Michigan, but I was born in New Mexico.  There weren’t any listed in New Mexico.  Well, maybe she moved.  Such a small number….I quickly search my own name Lori Payne.  Just to give some perspective, there were 48,000 people with the last name Payne that were in the database, and only 78 Ducham.  I knew at that moment there was no stopping.  With half of the names in Michigan I started there.  There was no Betty, but many others.  I chose one picked up the phone and dialed, without a second thought.  That was always the way I did things when I was drinking, no second thought, just do it.  A male voice answered on the other line. Hello….. Hi there, I said while holding my breath.  My name is Lori Payne.  I believe I might be a relative of Betty Ducham, do you happen to know her?   Yes I do I’m a relative of hers.  Oh that’s great, I say as I start to shake. If I give you my number could you please pass it along to her and ask her to call me?  Even as I write this today, years later, my hands are quivering.  Such a huge decision to have been made so recklessly, but then again that is how I lived my life when I was drinking.  The voice on the other line said, “sure” and I proceeded to give him my number.  What would happen next was even more shocking, not weeks later, not days later, but two hours later my phone would ring.  “Hi Lori?”  Yes this is she.  “My name is Alan, I am Betty’s Son.”  I know my breathing sounded like a woman going into cardiac arrest. Oh hi there, thank you for calling me back. I fumbled through my words and managed, “Did Betty ever mention maybe having a …….daughter?”  Yes, I was told I had a sister out there somewhere, but I never knew how to find her.  Is that you?  The tears started to flow, as I said, I think so.  We talked for a moment and he asked me if he could scan and send me a photo of Betty over the computer. I immediately said yes.  This is what came up on my screen.  I was speechless.   I knew it was her.

Betty Jean Ducham
Betty Jean Ducham

My Testimony

My name is Lori Payne. I’m a believer in Christ in recovery from Alcoholism.
He was the most beautiful baby in the entire world. My heart was so full, and I couldn’t imagine anything better than being his mom. Todd stood next to the hospital bed, his face wet with tears. We had been married four years and the time seemed perfect to start a family. Really everything seemed perfect at the time. Todd was working with a Christian Record Label, I had been a Flight Attendant for nine years, and we had just built a beautiful new home. Soon we would leave the hospital with Glen Cole Payne, our sweet gift from God. Life was good. I guess you could probably call this the calm before the storm. Satan hates it when God’s children smile. I had no idea at the time, but soon I would open a door, that would give him the foothold he needed, to begin his evil beating of me and my family.
I grew up in New Mexico with my mom and dad, and one older sister. I had been adopted, before I was born, from a women, that I would later find out was forty years old and suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My dad was a truck driver, and mom stayed home with me and my sister Brenda who was six years older than me. My memories of that time are really very few. I do remember living in a mobile home, and one afternoon an awful storm came through. It blew our mobile home right over on its side with me and my mom in it. I can still picture the breaking glass and my mom crawling on her bloody knees to get to me. My mom was one tough lady. I thought she could do anything.
Eventually my dad left the trucking business and we moved to Clovis, NM where he leased, and began running a gas station. It was long hours, but my mom and I stayed there most days until Brenda got out of school. Mom worked just as hard as dad did and then had to make dinner at night. Around this time, my dad also started drinking more. He would come home at night and drink beer usually until time for bed. When he drank he was verbally abusive to my mother. He would call her names, and put his finger in her face to degrade her. During this time my mom also started using my dad’s belt to discipline me. She would hit me way too hard and say mean things to me. There were many days I had red whelps on my legs. I had started first grade and we had open stalls in the girl’s bathroom. I would try to cover the marks on my legs with my arms. I felt ashamed of myself. I didn’t know why I was so bad. It seemed like I couldn’t do anything right. Looking back now I know that my mom was just taking her frustration with my dad out on me. Dad became more abusive to mom at night, and I started taking my food into my room at dinner. I wanted him to just leave. I began to develop a weight problem and therefore became an easy target for bullies at school. I cried most nights. Fear started to take over my life. I was afraid of people, places and things. When my sister turned 15, she got married and left home. I was nine years old.
Not much changed the next few years, but then at 16 I tried alcohol for the first time. I loved the way it made me feel. I felt skinny, pretty, fun, and everything I did or said was acceptable. Yes that’s the word. I finally felt accepted. Whether it was true or not, the alcohol made me feel that way, that euphoric feeling that everything was great. I continued my drinking into my college years, but with little problems other than the occasional hang over. I couldn’t decide on a career path so in 1987 at the guidance of a family friend I was hired as a Flight Attendant with a major carrier. I had started exercising and lost a lot of weight. My roommate taught me how to do my hair and makeup, and I started to have more confidence than I thought ever possible. I left college and started my Flight Attendant Career. I loved it. I quickly became friends with another Flight Attendant. She liked to drink like I did, so we got along just fine. We traveled for work, and we traveled on our days off. We had a blast. I could still put the drink down when I wanted to. I liked drinking, but if I wanted to stop, I could. This would change all too soon.
At 27 I met and married my husband Todd. He was a Christian man from a good family and treated me like a princess. I immediately fell in love. The next four years were spent working, traveling going to church, and generally just enjoying our lives together. Todd was not a drinker, nor was his family, so I cut way back myself, and I rarely drank in front of Todd. We built and moved into a new home, and when I was 30 years old our son Cole was born. As I shared earlier this was the calm before the storm.
The first few months of Coles life, I went through what I now know was Post Partum Depression. It started almost immediately when we got home from the hospital. I was sad, and crying for no reason. I thought, “What is wrong with me. This will go away, it has to. Maybe it’s just normal, you know, hormones and all that stuff.” But after several months, it still hadn’t gone away. I would hate myself for being sad. I would hear things in my head like “You are so ungrateful, you have this beautiful healthy boy, and here you are crying?” I would put on a mask when people were around, I didn’t dare let them know I was hurting inside. Somehow, that would make me a bad mom. My pride wouldn’t allow that. 1 Peter 5:5 says “You younger men accept the authority of the elders. And all of you serve each other in humility for God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” This marriage, home, motherhood, all of it was going to be great or at least acceptable, or I would die trying. That’s almost what happened. I said earlier that I opened the door for Satan, and yes I did. Instead of reaching out to God and others, I started self medicating with alcohol. It somehow calmed my tears so that things felt acceptable, and sometimes even great. It worked for me for a while, then by the age of 35 the bottom fell out, and it was no longer working. My drinking had gotten progressively worse to the point that I was hiding bottles and drinking mostly straight vodka, because someone told me you couldn’t smell it. Todd confronted me, and I went to my first treatment center. I put on that mask again and lied about my whole life. I couldn’t be an alcoholic that would mean that I couldn’t drink, ever, again…No, those people were crazy. I could just cut back. I got out of treatment and stayed sober 30 days. I got my first DUI in a church parking lot. Clearly my alcoholism had progressed. We were members of The People’s Church, so I went to see Pastor Rick White. He suggested that I start attending a 12 Step recovery program, which I did. I also got a sponsor, and said and did all the right things. I was a good student. But I would not let any of this recovery knowledge even come close to my heart. In my heart, I needed alcohol. It had become my best friend. It was the only thing I had found to calm my tears, and it had taken away the fear that had engulfed me from the time I was a child. Isaiah 54:4 says “Fear not, you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth, and the sorrows of your widowhood, will be remembered no more.” I was also filled with so much shame and guilt. How would I ever make up for the time I lost to be a good mother. A good mother, one who was truly present, not a mask, with a plastered on, alcohol induced smile. What I learned later was that God would carry me through all the pain, shame and guilt if I would let him. But I wasn’t there yet. I continued to go to 12 Step recovery meetings, but my drinking just got worse. I also continued to make an attempt at surrendering my will to God. For me, looking back I realize that without my complete brokenness, I would never surrender my will to Christ. So what did my complete brokenness look like? It wasn’t pretty. I went to Father Martin’s Ashley a beautiful rehab outside of Baltimore MD. This time I told the truth about my life. I shared many painful memories that seemed to tear me apart inside. I truly worked hard on my recovery, and discovered things about myself that I had stuffed deep inside for years. I came home and stayed sober again only 30 days. Here’s what I think was going on with me at the time. Father Martins had certainly given me all the tools that I needed to stay sober, but I still had my own self will to contend with. During those 30 days sober, my eyes were clear and wide open. Wide open to the truth of what I had become. The guilt and shame flooded me so strongly. My heart would start to pound, my tears would well up and a familiar voice would say “You know how to fix this”. You can’t drink Lori. I would make the mistake of trying to argue with my own self will. I would convince myself that it would only be a small amount of alcohol, just enough to stop the pain and get me through the day. I now know I should have immediately reached out for help. Once the argument started, myself will, when left alone, would always win. I needed to cry out to Jesus and others in recovery the second the thought of drinking started. Psalms 118:5 says “In anguish I cried out to the Lord, and he answered, by setting me free.” It wasn’t long until I entered my third treatment center, home 30 days and drinking again. The next 2-3 years were an absolute nightmare for me and my family. There were countless trips to the emergency room and a stay at the Parthenon Psychiatric Ward. I registered a 3.4 in the emergency room on one occasion, which was enough alcohol to kill me. I actually, in my sick mind, liked when a Dr. would treat me as a psychiatric patient. Then maybe I could be given a drug and I could eventually drink like normal people. I also felt like it took some of the blame off of me. I can’t help it; I have a mental disorder, that’s why I’m drinking. This avenue of treatment also failed, or myself won again I guess you might say. I decided to try and make my life look normal again. I hadn’t flown in quite some time, so I decided to go back to work. I flew up to New York where I am based, and gave my return to work interview. I said and did all the right things, and was cleared to go back to flying. See things, aren’t so bad. I’m still a Professional Flight Attendant based in New York City. I think I’ll have some drinks to Celebrate. My husband told me later that he tracked my credit card to TGI Fridays. I was missing in New York for 3 days. I had to return to leave of absence with the airline. I was in no way ready to fly again. By this time, Todd had enough. I really can’t imagine how he endured all these years. He told me later that he knew in his heart he would never be able to face our son one day, unless he could tell him “I did everything I could to help your mom”. In short my husband fought for me, even in the face of friends and family telling him to give up. I’m sure he would have been justified in every way, but that is not what God had planned for us. He asked me to leave our home. He could no longer trust me with our six year old son. My sponsor picked me up, and promptly took me to a homeless shelter. She had plenty of room for me in her home, but she too had to draw a boundary.
Not only was my alcoholism getting worse, so were my consequences. By this time, I was physically and mentally, addicted to alcohol. My mind was so clouded from the alcohol, and the lies it had me believing, that I couldn’t even hear God, much less listen to him. I was spiritually bankrupt. I spent three months at the homeless shelter. I left one sunny afternoon on foot searching for a drink. I found a drink. Then later a UPS man found me lying on a curb on the side of the road in downtown Nashville. He was kind enough to take me to the hospital. I went to another treatment center for 30 days. When I was released, I was going to live at a half-way house for a few months. That was the plan, but my car took a detour to the liquor store, and I got my 2nd DUI, and went promptly to jail. This time, there was no one willing to bail me out. My husband loved me, but he had to protect our family, he filed for divorce. I was alone. I sat in my jail cell broken. I was 39 years old. My hair had started to fall out, and I was hearing voices. I wanted to die. Could I tie my sheets together and just hang myself from the bunk? No I couldn’t even do that. I was afraid it would hurt. At this moment my self-will was broken. I was tired, hurting and desperate, desperate for God. I was a child again. Matthew 18:3 says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. I cried out to him in a way I never had. I knew that I was done without him. Without Jesus, I would die. I begged him to forgive me and to help me. The next thing I knew, they were calling me into some office, and asked by a man behind a desk, I still don’t know who he was, if I would like to go to a half-way house. Two women picked me up the next day and took me to a place called YANA, which stands for You Are Never Alone. These ladies didn’t know it, but I knew I wasn’t alone. It was because of Jesus that I was even out of jail and given another chance. I spent 3 months at YANA. I moved back into my home and got a sponsor. She was a very tough sponsor and just what I needed. I did have one slip a few weeks after getting home. I call it a slip because it only lasted a day, and I was really trying to stay sober. Things had changed in my heart and I was a new person. That drink on June 12th 2006 was my last drink of alcohol. Since that day, God has changed me completely from the inside out. As I write my story, it’s hard to recognize this once broken woman but yet I don’t want to ever forget her. Through her brokenness, I was reborn in Christ. Today, as long as I let him, God uses me to give hope to others who are struggling. Eventually Todd withdrew the divorce papers, and we continue to grow closer with each day. My relationship with Cole can only be called a miracle. That sweet baby boy is now 16 years old and towers over me. He stoops over to kiss me, and tells me that he doesn’t even think of the past anymore. God you are so good! I serve on the Celebrate Recovery team at my home, The People’s Church. I love my church, and I am so grateful for our leaders that see the brokenness in people like me, and choose to help instead of turn their backs. I am honored to serve with them. I have also been blessed to share a Celebrate Recovery meeting with the women at the Williamson County Jail. I know what it feels like to be right where they are. I also know what it feels like to be delivered from that place. One of the ladies that I ministered to in that facility 4 years ago is now my co-leader for the meeting in that same facility. She had 2 years of sobriety. She is a miracle. I am a miracle. Yes God is good. In 2012 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. As the saying goes “Ain’t nobody got time for this”. That’s exactly what I thought. Not now God please. I’m just now learning how to serve you. How can I serve you if I’m at home sick? I begged God to heal me, but he said no. It was his plan for me and him to work my way though Chemotherapy, Radiation, and all the pain that comes with the dreaded word cancer. God and I made it through and today I am Cancer free. I said in the beginning that I opened a door for Satan’s beating of my family. I’m grateful to say that he lost the fight.
For the new comer, I would say never, never, never give up, and never try to do recovery alone. God put us here for community and to help each other. If you reach out for help, God will meet you wherever you are. He’s always there he never leaves you, just reach out. You are a miracle waiting to happen. May God Bless You. #flyingsober

Finding Betty/Continued

As I sit at the computer somehow an ounce of sanity finally hits me. My parents……you know Lori, Mom and Dad, the ones who raised you? The ones who provided for all you needed. Sat up all night with you when you were sick. Sat at the hospital for 21 DAYS when you were a sick baby and they thought you had a heart damage. The parents that showed waited up until the prom date brought you home safely to the door. The Dad that bought your first car, a beautiful MGB convertible. The parents that took in every stray dog that you found and “just couldn’t leave them there”. Yes those parents. My wine filled head decides that I at least owe them a “courtesy call”. I lift my hands from the keyboard, grab the phone and dial. Mom picks up on the second ring. I say hi and cut right to the chase. ” Mom I was watching T.V. and they advertised this service where you can find people on the internet”. “Oh?” she said. I think she knew what was coming. But after all, wasn’t it her who gave me her name in the first place? I told her that I wanted to just see if I could find my birth mother. Probably wouldn’t come up, but you know, you never know. I was surprised by her response. She almost sounded excited, as if, you know, she was curious too. I also heard my Dad in the background giving his approval. She told me that the counselors told them when I was born that the natural curiosity to find my birth mother might come up at some point in my life. She said they were prepared, and they would help me find her in any way that they could. Wow….that was easy. I hung up the phone after telling them how much I loved them,and that I would only find her with their permission, and how great they were, and wine induced bla bla bla…………..The minute I hung up the phone, my hands went back to that keyboard, sweaty palms by now, heart beating out of my chest, and I type www……………com. Ok…..Find Anyone Anywhere, click here…………….Click………Name Address Phone Number, Credit Report, Police Reports, Arrests, Deaths…Click here, or just Name Address Phone Number click here……..Click………Please enter credit card number for one time fee of $59.99. Ok, here we go #### ### #### ##. Congratulations! Who would you like to find? This is it, no turning back, I know the information I am about to get, is going to change my life forever. Wait stop right there Lori. As I write this, I realize that, no, in the state of mind that I was, I did not, and could not, realize that it would change my life forever. Not to mention the other lives it was about to change.em>

Finding Betty

This is an excerpt to a chapter in my book.  Please tell me what you think.  It is not edited at this point.  Thanks, Lori

One day after a few too many glasses of wine, I made a decision that would interupt many other lives, and take on a whole story of its own.  I was adopted.  In 1966 most adoption’s were closed.  My adoption was also closed.  What that meant basically was that both sides, the birth mother and or father, and the adoptive parents would not have any personal information about one another, including names.  When I was in my early twenties, I was visiting mom and dad, and mom and I were in a conversation about my adoption.  We were looking through the papers when I clearly read, “baby girl Ducham”.  Mom, what’s this?  What does this mean?  Right here, look.  What is this……baby girl  D U C H A M.  My mom looked at me as if she had waited for this moment.  “That is your birth mothers name”.  she said.  “It wasn’t suppose to be on any of the papers that were sent  to us, but someone made a mistake”.   You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I sat there stunned.  I’m now in my twenties, and all this time her name was right here.  Right here in this little lock box that mom kept in the closet.  One of the biggest secrets of my life……my birth mom.  Why now?  Why would I see this now.  At the time I had just started flying with an airline I had moved to Nashville, I was really enjoying my life.  I don’t have time for this.  I don’t want to know this, not now.  Maybe not ever.  My head was spinning.  I had a million questions that I wanted answered.  But I also had a heart full of fear, and in my life at that time, fear always won over.  I planned to put Ms. or Mrs. or whatever she was Ducham, back in that little lock box and forget I ever saw those words…….Ducham….staring back at me.  I felt very uncomfortable with my mom.  I wanted to ask her some questions, but I feared the answers.  I did look at the rest of the pages and found that not only was her name on A paper, it was all over the adoption papers.  My birth mother, Betty Jean Ducham.  Betty gave birth to me, Lori Jane Hardin-Payne on September 26th 1966 in Albuquerque, NM.  

Here I am at home in Franklin, TN and like I said before, after a bit too much wine, I am watching the Maury Povich show.  Now normally watching Maury would not be such a dangerous thing, right?  I can’t even tell you what the show was about, but at the end there was this ad that popped up.    Find Anyone Anywhere   www……………………

I have her name……Oh Lori, don’t even go there, she probably wants nothing to do with you.  I have her name……..I wonder where she lives?  Is she alive?  Is she O.K. ?  Was she young and had no choice?  What does she look like?  Do we have similar interests?  My mind began to go places that I had never allowed it to go before.  The wine had thrown all caution to the wind and I think before I even touched the keys on the keyboard, I knew I would find Betty. Continue reading