Tonight's special guest is Heather Steele from Orlando, Florida, who grew up in Upstate NY in the Jehovah's Witness community in a very religious family. Her father was a cop, her mom a homemaker. Heather was repeatedly sexually abused, starting as an infant, by a friend of her father, who began giving her alcohol as a child. At about 10 years old Heather ended up testifying against him and her rapist went to prison. "I learned by 1st grade how to 'drown my sorrows'," she says, "and I continued to do so for most of my life" During her school years Heather hung out with abusive men, and got kicked out or ran away until her mom decided Heather was a 'bad example' and needed to stay away from her siblings. At 16, Hearther rented a small cabin with a friend. She graduated high school but continued to drink heavily and do drugs, and she had several attempted suicides. Heather was in and out of psych wards, sometimes for 8 weeks at a time. She managed to have one semi-decent relationship that lasted 7 years, and had a son at 25 years old. But there was no one around to help raise her son other than Heather's mother. "She was very controlling about my parenting, extremely nosy and judgmental." She goes on, "My son has epilepsy and other issues, so it's been an enormous struggle." Sobering up in 2010, Heather began healing. She's in counseling, and is dealing with the trauma of her childhood. "Every day is a new day to get through," she says. But she notes, "Helping others that have gone through the stuff I did helps them but it also helps me." Heather has offered to volunteer at NAASCA and we're looking forward to her active participation.
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