Only with God🙏
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.
flyingsober Chapter 1
I wake up freezing with my face just inches from the cracking paint of a ceiling. As I reach down to grab the covers, of which I find there are none, my eye catches the first glimpse of orange. Like pumpkin orange, but even brighter. My memory starts to come back, along with a horrible, pulsating headache. The shaking starts, then the tears come. I’ve done it again. I’m in jail somewhere, and even with my foggy head and slow memory, I know it has something to do with alcohol. I realize that I’m on the top bunk of a metal bunk bed. Below me, someone is snoring quite loudly. What time is it? No watch on my arm. The lights are flooding into the room, or now I know, the cell. I can see my breath. I’ve got to get out of here, I will freeze to death. Well actually freezing was the least of my worries. The room was about the size of my bathroom at home. Oh, I just want to go home. I can vaguely remember my husband Todd, refusing to pick me up. Did I call anyone else? I can’t remember. Lord, I need a blanket, or coffee, or both. So getting back to the small room, uh, cell, it was small. Yes I said that already, sorry. Anyway, the bunk bed took up most of the space, and then there was a half wall with a toilet on the other side. I vaguely also remember two drawers attached to the wall. Drawers? Maybe there was a blanket, a sheet. I would even take a t-shirt right now if I could find one. I looked down over the side of my top bunk. I can see a human form under some blankets. Yes blankets. As in two. Well if I had a blanket I now know where it is. Maybe I can just go down there, politely tap her and say “Excuse me for waking you, but could I please have one of your blankets?” But first, I need to find the ladder, there has to be a ladder, right? How do they expect for me to get down from here. On second thought, how did I get up here? Well I looked up one side and across the foot. No ladder. The other side was attached to the wall, so of course no ladder there. How about the foot. No ladder. Tears came even harder, and I realized I needed to go to the bathroom. Well only one way down. I would have to jump. The thought of landing on that cold tile, or whatever it was floor, made me procrastinate until I had no choice. I slid as far down the side of the bunk that I could and then dropped. My ankles were on fire. I hopped over to the facilities, and did my business. I stood up to flush, and that’s when it happened. A thundering voice from under the blankets yelled, “Don’t ever do that again!” I think I just met my cell mate. I can’t remember her name, or even if she gave it to me, but I do remember those first words to me. I also remember not caring at all what she had to say. How could anyone hurt me anymore than I had already hurt myself.
So just how did a Christian wife, mother, flight attendant, end up staring at the ceiling of a jail cell? The answer, simply put, alcoholism. However as you will hear in my story, there is nothing simple about alcoholism. The journey through alcoholic hell took me about 8 years to stagger through. There were six rehab centers. Jail stays, yes stays, as in more than one. A psychiatric facility. One homeless shelter, and 2 half-way houses. I stayed in the homes of 2 friends that I met in recovery and also graced my parent’s home, back in New Mexico, for what I am sure was a long 30 days for them. They didn’t know how to help me, which was understandable, how do you help a crazy person! I was even taken into the home of a dear Pastor and his sweet wife down in San Antonio Texas. I had a few come to Jesus moments, but still didn’t put down the drink. It was only in desperation that I finally took steps which enabled me to surrender my will to Christ and begin another journey. One of simply put, freedom, freedom from bondage. The bondage of my own self will. The will that kept me from being the person that God wanted me to be, the will that kept me from his plan for me. The will that started the ball rolling, and plummeted me and my family into the nightmare of alcoholism. This is my story.
You don’t want to miss this! Stephen, atheist at the time, eventually comes to the end of his drinking and drugging life, while walking barefoot on Venice Beach, LA believing he is Jesus Christ. Listen to the miracle God does in his life.