I AM STILL LOOKING FOR YOU!

THE POWER OF ADDICTED LOVE

EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK – The Power of Addicted Love
Outside the house, I heard an all too familiar sound.  The car door had slammed. It was that all too familiar “slam” that made me cringe.  I knew in an instant the man who was about to walk through the front door was not the same sober man who left earlier that day. 
As Greg stumbled up the driveway to the sidewalk, I could hear the sound of his… feet shuffling.  God, I didn’t want to go through this again.  Why can’t he just stay at a friend’s house and sleep it off?  Why does he constantly have to come home intoxicated, making a fool of himself?
As he approached the door, no one ran to greet him.  Even the girls learned that being around a drunk was no fun.  Greg walked into the kitchen and wanted my attention.  I…

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I AM STILL LOOKING FOR YOU!

EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK – The Power of Addicted Love
Outside the house, I heard an all too familiar sound.  The car door had slammed. It was that all too familiar “slam” that made me cringe.  I knew in an instant the man who was about to walk through the front door was not the same sober man who left earlier that day. 
As Greg stumbled up the driveway to the sidewalk, I could hear the sound of his… feet shuffling.  God, I didn’t want to go through this again.  Why can’t he just stay at a friend’s house and sleep it off?  Why does he constantly have to come home intoxicated, making a fool of himself?
As he approached the door, no one ran to greet him.  Even the girls learned that being around a drunk was no fun.  Greg walked into the kitchen and wanted my attention.  I don’t know what it was about him always needing my attention when he was drunk, but I wasn’t going to give it to him.  I knew better than to try talking sense to a drunk.
He was slurring his words, swearing and cussing at me.  Have you ever witnessed a drunk swearing and cussing?  They don’t make any sense!  If it had been anyone else, I would have started laughing.  But past experience taught me to be very careful.  Don’t laugh, don’t move, and don’t say a word.
At that moment, I reached down to pick up my purse.  Knowing his condition, it was best for me to take the kids and leave the house.  This man was being stupid and I didn’t want to wait around for him to sober up again.
My purse contained everything I needed in order to leave.  I made it a point to make sure I had some extra cash, a credit card, identification and car keys in my purse at all times.  If ever anything was to happen, all I needed was my purse and off I could go.
Only not so fast.  Greg grabbed the purse from my arm, breaking the leather strap that was attached.  We had a pool in the backyard, and he tossed my purse into the cold water.  I tried to go after it, but he wouldn’t let me get close.
I watched in horror as the contents of my purse got soaked in water.  Pictures, makeup, pieces of paper, checkbook, all destroyed.  At this point, Greg was pushing me toward the door.  The girls were starting to cry because all they could see was their drunken daddy hurting their mother.  They wanted him to stop, but he refused.  I didn’t have any shoes on and the girls were half dressed.
I pleaded with him to at least let me pack some clothes for the girls.  But he absolutely refused to allow me to bring a diaper for my youngest or shoes for anyone else.  Whatever clothing we were wearing was what we were allowed to leave with. 
As I stood on the front porch with five small, half naked children, Greg slammed the door behind us.  I knew I needed to stay strong, yet I didn’t have a clue where we could go.  I guess I could have walked to a neighbor’s house, but I didn’t really know the neighbors.  Besides, our neighbors liked us.  They didn’t have a clue what really happened behind closed doors, and I was too embarrassed to have them find out.
I turned around and rang the doorbell.  I wanted to plead with Greg to give me the car keys.  The very least he could do was allow me to take my vehicle.  Greg came to the door, but would only scream “GO AWAY!” through the door.
Knowing if I pushed my luck any further, I could be risking my life.  Instead, I reluctantly turned around and headed down the street. With my youngest daughter on my hip, the girls and I walked very slowly down the sizzling, hot sidewalk.  My feet began to hurt as I hurried across the blistering pavement.  My 4 year old began to cry, so I put her on my back.  While carrying two of my daughter’s, and having two other by my side, not to mention my little niece who was only there for a visit, I didn’t know what to direction to take.
I found myself walking a mile up the road to the nearest payphone.  There, I dialed 911 for help.  I wasn’t sure what kind of help they could provide, but at that moment desperation had set in.  I couldn’t go home, yet I had no place to go.
Two police cars arrived shortly thereafter.  As I stood by the patrol cars, I tearfully explained what had just happened.  One of the policemen told me he would drive back to my house to see if he could get Greg to open the door.  At the very least, he would try to get some shoes and clothes for us so that we could get properly dressed.
The police arrived at the door and demanded to be let in.  Greg was clueless that anyone was even knocking on the door.  Apparently he had passed out on the living room couch and didn’t know anyone was knocking.  The policeman told me he walked around to the side windows of the house where he saw Greg sound asleep.  After several attempts to get his attention, the police stopped trying.  I was told that in the state of Arizona, unless they had a search warrant to physically enter the house, their hands were tied.
The officer drove back to where the girls and I were standing and gave me a list of domestic violence shelters we would stay at for the night.  They also gave me the name of a cab company that would provide transportation.  I immediately called for the cab and we were driven to the shelter.
The cab left, but too soon.  I found out the shelter was filled, no vacancies.
There I stood inside this shelter with five small children feeling very homeless and scared.  By this time, night was beginning to fall, and street lights were beginning to come on. 
The woman at the shelter didn’t have the heart to turn us away, yet she legally couldn’t allow us to stay as there were no beds available.  She began to call around to different hotels in the area asking the manager of each hotel if they would be willing to put us up for the night, free of charge.  After several failed attempts, she finally reached a manager who agreed.  Not only did he agree to one night, he actually agreed to three free nights. 
I was pleasantly surprised and so thankful that this woman went the extra mile to find us a place to stay.  At that point, I didn’t care where we slept, as long as it wasn’t at home with that drunken bum who was passed out on the couch. 
The woman called for another cab, and within minutes we were on our way across town to the hotel.  The cab operator was very talkative and easy going.  She was an African American with a wonderful sense of humor.  She was curious in her own way and felt comfortable enough to ask me what happened.
As I proceeded to explain to her what had taken place, she became more and more willing to listen.  For the first time that evening, I actually had an adult to talk to.  The cab ride seemed like it took hours.  As we talked, the more the cab driver seemed inclined to help.  When she asked if I had any money, I told her I wasn’t allowed to bring my purse.
Would you believe she drove the girls and me to a grocery store?  She went inside while we stayed behind.  She came out with this bag full of groceries, and told me that the food and milk was for the girls and me to eat over the next three days.  I don’t remember a time in my life when I ever felt more grateful.
When we arrived at the hotel, she helped the girls and me to our room.  I don’t know her name, but I will never forget her smile.  The look in her eyes was like an angel looking over me.  I gave her a big hug, and said my goodbyes.  The girls and I settled into our hotel room and took showers prior to turning in for the night.  The night seemed so calm and peaceful.  We watched a little television and fell asleep.
At 2:00 a.m. the telephone rang.  I knew it couldn’t be Greg, as he didn’t have a clue where we were.  I couldn’t imagine who could have found us, yet I was curious to find out.  I answered the phone.  The man on the other end told me there was a suitcase in the lobby for me.
As he had awakened me from a sound sleep, I didn’t quite understand what he was telling me.  I decided to get dressed and go down to the lobby to find out what it was about. There, the hotel clerk stood holding a suitcase.  He proceeded to tell me that an African American woman had dropped it off about thirty minutes ago and wanted to be sure I received it.
I couldn’t imagine who he was talking about until it dawned on me that the lady who drove us to the grocery store and hotel was African American.  I took the suitcase and went back to my room.   When I entered the room, the girls were still sound asleep.
I unzipped the suitcase and found a tremendous amount of clothing, shoes, hairbrushes, makeup, underwear, diapers, bottles, toothbrushes, paste and shampoo.  There was a small note tucked inside that read, “I came back home tonight and went around to all of my friends and neighbors collecting goods for you and your children.  I hope I have given you the right sizes.  God bless you!”
I sat down the edge of my bed and shed more tears than I ever had in my life.  Not because I was feeling sorry for myself, rather, I was so appreciative of the fact that this complete stranger helped the girls and me through our very tough situation. 
I never got the chance to see or meet her again, and I didn’t even know her name.  But to this day, I still call her my guardian angel.  She was my savior that night, and I will never forget the wonderful gifts she gave us.  How lucky and blessed I was to have met someone with such a loving and giving heart.
For the next three days, the girls and I had one big pajama party.  We watched HBO, played miniature golf and laughed a lot.  For the first time in months, I was smiling and having some fun.  Everything I wanted in life was in the same room as me. 
My thoughts would occasionally drift to Greg, but not as often as they should have.  At this point, he still didn’t know where we were, as I refused to call him.  Since I didn’t see my picture on the 5 o’clock news as a missing person, I figured he didn’t care anyway.
The girls and I went home on the fourth day.  I called Greg to pick us up at the hotel.  He arrived smiling and happy to see the girls.  I still felt angry with him and didn’t have anything to say.  It was very difficult to hold back my emotions when my kids were present.  What I really wanted to do is rip his heart out for the pain he had caused my daughters and me.  
 
But I knew it was senseless.  He was too drunk to remember all the fine details.
That was the difference between Greg and me.  I refused to forget, whereas he refused to remember. 
We arrived home a few moments later, and as I walked into the house, I noticed Greg had pulled my purse from the bottom of the pool.  Everything was spread all over the kitchen counter.  He was attempting to dry everything out.
The pictures were ruined, as were most of the contents.  There wasn’t much I could to do to salvage what was left, so I simply turned to Greg and gave him a “look” and walked away.
He knew he was wrong, but was too proud to apologize. ___________ Fast forwarding my life to 2013, I am on a new mission.  I have a message I would like to send to my angel that night. 
“DEAR ANGEL:
I want to thank you!  You are out there somewhere in this big world of ours.   You know who you are and what you did for me and my family.  I will NEVER forget you.   You were the taxi driver who worked in Glendale AZ back in the 90′s who picked up my family and brought us to safety.  Someone knows you……you’ve shared my night with others because you went around collecting clothes, shoes and diapers from your friends to give to us at the hotel.   You spent your night’s wages buying food for us. 
Please help me find you……I just want to tell you how much you have changed my life.  You………are an angel! “
My heart still carries this angel with me wherever I go.  I think about her all the time and I hope that she is well and safe.  She saved my life that night.  Imagine being on the street without an I.D. and few clothes on your back…no help…no place to sleep…no money…no food…5 kids. Imagine going back to the person who did this to you. You’ve just imagined codependency.  This was my life for 14 years.  I no longer live that life, but I have been on a journey ever since to help women who do.  I want to pay it forward and be an angel to someone else.  I want to show people who live in abusive situations that they have a voice.   I hope now my voice can be heard loud and clear.
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PLEASE HELP ME FIND HER!

PLEASE HELP ME FIND HER! 
(Will you please share this on your social networks so I can continue my search for the angel who helped my family that dreadful night).
DEAR ANGEL: 
I want to thank you!  You are out there somewhere in this big world of ours.   You know who you are and what you did for me and my family.  I will NEVER forget you.   You were the taxi driver who worked in Glendale AZ back in the 90’s who picked up my family and brought us to safety.  Someone knows you……you’ve shared my night with others because you went around collecting clothes, shoes and diapers from your friends to give to us at the hotel.   You spent your nights wages buying food for us.  
Please help me find you……I just want to tell you how much you have changed my life.  You………are an angel! 
Teresa Hamilton
mylilsaab@gmail.com
Chapter 12……..The Power of Addicted Love
Key Features In The Power Of Addicted Love, Chapter 12
 Guardian Angel:
•Still Living On Handouts,
•Shattered Plate On Head
•Fighting Calmed Down
•Kicked Out Without Clothes/Purse
•Police Couldn’t Help
•Shelter Closed
•Angel Drives A Cab
•Teresa Returned?  
 
Imagine being on the street without an I.D. and few clothes on your back…no help…no place to sleep…no money…no food…5 kids. Imagine going back to the person who did this to you.
 
You’ve just imagined codependency.
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR HOPES STORY WILL INSPIRE OTHERS

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR HOPES STORY WILL INSPIRE OTHERS.

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR HOPES STORY WILL INSPIRE OTHERS

In support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Teresa Hamilton, a Maricopa resident and survivor of a toxic 17-year marriage posted her story on Facebook for the first time, in hopes that others might hear her story and be inspired to leave their abuser.

“I was the mom who always had a smile on her face, the Girl Scout leader, but behind closed doors I was living a nightmare,” Hamilton said.

In 2005, she penned a memoir titled “The Power of Addicted Love,” and shared her journey and escape from domestic abuse with the world.

“I was living with an alcoholic, a drug abuser, a cheater and I was addicted to love, to fixing the relationship, and in return, I lost myself,” Hamilton said.

Her husband would return home reeking of alcohol and ready to pick a fight. He broke plates of spaghetti over her head, called her worthless, poured milk on her in the shower and even kicked her pregnant belly.

“Had I been healthy, I would have packed up my kids and left forever. I was an enabler and a huge co-dependent,” Hamilton said.

The decision to post her story on her personal and work Facebook page at the end of last month came after an email from a young mother who shared that Hamilton’s book inspired her to leave her abuser. After that, 16 more Facebook friends came forward and said the book had helped them to do them same.

One in four women have been victims of severe domestic violence from an intimate partner and one in twelve men have experienced the same, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“He always told me ‘I’m never letting you go…I’ll break everything you own before you can bring it out of this house,’” Hamilton said.

After one drunken binge, Hamilton and her four kids were forced to find refuge at a domestic violence shelter. Her husband stumbled to the pool, threw her purse in the water and pushed everyone out the door. He locked it behind them and passed out on the couch, forcing them to walk on 100-degree Arizona pavement to the closest pay phone to call for help.

No beds were available at the shelter, so they took a cab to a hotel as part of the shelter’s voucher system. The cab driver asked what happened and Hamilton shared her story. Then the female cabbie drove Hamilton to the grocery store, bought them food for the week and dropped them off at the hotel.

Later that night at 2 a.m., the hotel phone rang and Hamilton’s heart stopped.

She thought her husband had found where they were.

“But wouldn’t you know, that woman came home after her shift, collected clothes, shoes, socks, diapers, underwear and left a suitcase for us at the hotel,” Hamilton said through tears. “I called her my angel.”

After two decades of mental and physical abuse, three attempts at filing for divorce, and four kids later, Hamilton realized it was a relationship that couldn’t be fixed. She rented a storage space under a fake name and number, then slowly started moving her stuff out of her abuser’s home. Her parents showed up with a moving van weeks later and her divorce was finalized within 30 days.

As a co-dependent, she enable the enablers, says Hamilton.

“I kept going back for more because I wanted to make it work,” she said.

Domestic violence is nothing new. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, it’s been a social issue throughout history but experts just now understand the depth of its consequences, which include not only mental and physical pains but also chronic disease and higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.

In a recent poll conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, 90 percent of people believed that questions about interpersonal violence should be asked on health surveys.

Torri Anderson, an eight-year board member of the Pinal County non-profit Against Abuse Inc., describes domestic violence as “bullying or taking a person’s ‘self worth’ away.”

Against Abuse Inc. has provided Pinal County with education, prevention, social and behavioral health services since 1981. It is one of the only facilities in the area to also provide emergency domestic violence shelter for adults and children, transitional housing and case management.

Anderson became involved with the nonprofit because of the need to provide families a safe place to heal and get back into society.

“Recovery is different for everyone,” she said. “Some may never recover but instead, learn to survive.”

Arizona ranks eighth in the nation for highest in phone calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In the first half of 2013, the hotline received an average of 20,000 calls a month from all over the United States.

Hamilton, like the more than 1.3 million women, wonders “how did this happen to me?”

“There are a lot of people who are in the situation currently who are afraid to speak, who are afraid to use their voice for fear of retaliation, therefore they say nothing,” Hamilton said. “If my story helps one person, than I feel it was worth writing and sharing such personal details.”

After graduating from Arizona State University and obtaining her second degree, she met her current husband, Tom. They happily reside in Maricopa, close to her four daughters and three granddaughters. Hamilton says she never thought in a million years that life would ever be good again, but it is. She’s no longer a victim of domestic abuse, but now a survivor.

Every October, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, individuals wear purple to bring more attention to this serious issue. The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence shared 31 Facts for 31 Days and #DVAM has been trending on Facebook and Twitter the entire month of October.

“You have to love yourself enough to say enough is enough,” Hamilton said.

Visit your local Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com for “The Power of Addicted Love” or email at mylilsaab@gmail.com

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HELPING TO INCREASE AWARENESS RE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Maricopa resident Teresa Hamilton still remembers how hopeless she felt watching her purse sink to the bottom of her family’s swimming pool.

The summer sun was bearing down, and her alcoholic and drug-addicted husband had just returned home intoxicated and looking for a fight.

Hoping to keep her four young daughters and a visiting niece safe, Hamilton tried to flee – but her husband wouldn’t have it.

He ripped her purse from her grip, threw it into the swimming pool and locked the family out of their home.

“Here I am outside with half-naked children who had been playing in the pool, and I didn’t know what to do,” Hamilton said. “I was forced to walk with a baby on my hip, a child on my back and three children a mile down the street with bare feet burning on the pavement until I found a payphone.”

This is just one incident in the 14-year abusive marriage Hamilton endured before she made the decision to leave for good.

In 2005, the now 49-year-old grandmother published her story in a book called The Power of Addicted Love. And just three weeks ago, the entrepreneur decided to once again share her story with the 10,000 customers who follow her on her business Facebook page. Hamilton’s decision resulted in 17 women stepping forward to share their own experiences of abusive relationships.

In recognition of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness month, Hamilton now hopes to reach the community of Maricopa with her story.

“I live in Maricopa, so why not let the people of Maricopa know?” Hamilton said.

She added, “I know there are more Teresa’s out there who need help.”

To reach the other “Teresa’s,” Hamilton has donated countless boxes of books to local and national domestic violence shelters and organizations. She said she has no idea how many books she has actually sold, but said it doesn’t matter.

“I don’t care if 10,000 people share one book,” she said.

Teresa’s book chronicles her deeply personal journey from her first failed marriage and time as a single mother with thyroid cancer through the end of her 14-year marriage to a man who at first appeared nice, but ultimately turned out to be abusive, addicted and unfaithful. She shares about the time he shattered a plate of spaghetti over her head, leaving pieces of porcelain in her skull and the day he kicked her pregnant belly.

And finally, she shares about the moment when she decided to leave for good and how she safely made her escape.

“I was more addicted to making my relationship work as a co-dependent and disregarding my own life and feelings,” Hamilton said. “I had four little kids to take care of and I knew if I didn’t get out of this relationship, that it would kill me.”

Carol Gardner, 72, of Maricopa, and her husband Roger, 77, have known Hamilton for years, but are just now reading her book for the first time.

“She was all alone here and I keep thinking “Oh my goodness, how did she ever make it throughout without losing it?’” Carol Gardner said.

Gardner calls Hamilton “a treasure” and said she has been like a daughter to her, since her own children live in other states. Gardner sheds tears when she talks about Hamilton’s past.

“I hope this book helps the thousands of women who are in bondage situations, because it’s something that can save a lot of women’s lives,” Gardner said.

Marcia Roeder, 50, of Glendale, who is quoted in Hamilton’s book and also has survived an abusive marriage, said she and Hamilton helped one another with the “internal battles” they faced after leaving their abusers.

“There’s always the physical, but the mental is sometimes worse, because they convince you that you asked for it and that you deserve it,” Roeder said.

Despite painful pasts, Roeder is all smiles when she talks about her friend. Roeder described Hamilton as “a magnet that draws you in” and someone who “shares a piece of herself with everything she touches.”

“I admire her strength, her courage – and God – the amount of love she has,” Roeder said. “I hold her in the highest esteem.”

Hamilton is now happily married to a husband who treats her with respect and love. She is retired from a 20-year career as a paralegal and runs her own business called Teresa’s Creative Gifts, which sells quality boutique accessories and gifts. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her four grown daughters and grandchildren and taking cruises around the world.

For more information on The Power of Addicted Love, visit www.amazon.com and search by book title and to reach Hamilton, email mylilsaab@gmail.com.

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