How he purged the voices in my head telling me I was worthless.
I grew up in a loving middle-class family in Lubbock, Texas, a farming and ranching community famous for raising cotton, corn, peanuts, and cattle.
As a five-year-old, I experienced a severe trauma while walking to school with a classmate after eating lunch together in my home. Stopping by my friend’s house to say hello to her mom, we were shocked at her mother lying motionless on her bed. She was dead. Several years later, my best friend in fourth grade died of cancer. Because of these tragic events, I carried an unhealthy fear of death into my young adulthood.
At some point between ages nine and ten, I began experimenting with pot and alcohol. Serious Texas-style partying followed in high school. On weekends teenagers hopped into pickup trucks and drove along back roads to homes, barns, and fields away from town. We drank and laughed, danced to country music, and got high on cocaine.
Schoolwork was a breeze. Even with partying, I earned high grades and honors. I ran cross country and was active in the chess, math, and science clubs. Yet I was insecure, standing at just over five feet tall and weighing no more than 100 pounds. Alcohol and drugs made me feel powerful and fearless.
Big dreams filled my 17-year-old mind as I stepped into my dorm room at Angelo State University (ASU) in San Angelo, Texas, where I was enrolled on a pre-med scholarship. I imagined a bright future helping people as a caring ob-gyn physician. It never happened.
During my first ASU semester, I joined the uncontrolled world of sororities and fraternities. I drank hard liquor daily and did ecstasy and LSD. The new freedom away from home and the cool social life excited me.
For a few hours at a time, ecstasy provided feelings of euphoria, …