• Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson

The Truth Will Set You Free

I believe we are only as sick as our secrets, and that as Christ said “the truth will set you free”, so here goes.




A little less than 3 years ago I was a broken woman. I had been struggling for 6 years since the death of my husband Read from a long and horrific battle with cancer, losing everything financially, trying to balance running my non-profit and raise our autistic son Wyatt. I never allowed myself to grieve. I thought God had abandoned me when in fact I had abandoned God. I had struggled off and on my whole life with drug and alcohol addiction and found myself hitting bottom. I was on 4 Xanax a day, 4 anti-depressants, Ambien to sleep, all washed down at night with a bottle of wine.


Thank God for friends and my brother who helped me go into detox at a hospital for a week, then into rehab for 2 months at the oldest women’s recovery center in the country, Friendly House. Here is my goodbye to drugs and alcohol letter that I wrote while in treatment.


LOVE AFFAIR

We’ve had a relationship

for five decades now, the longest

love affair of my life.

I’m sick of your lies.


You conned me into believing

you could make

the depression and anxiety go away.


You lied to me.

You made me lose contact

with family and friends

from the age of 14 on

when I started using everything

from pot to LSD

Qualudes to heroin, anything to give me

a sense of comfort.

What a false comfort it was.


The one-inch scar

on my hand from shooting

with an infected needle

at the age of 16

is a permanent reminder

of your damage.


You made me believe

you could make the pain

of an alcoholic mother, the shame

of a brother with Down Syndrome

go away. Despite your help,

I still had to watch as you robbed her

of much of the joy of life.


Even with all your power, you couldn’t

erase the pain of my childhood and teenage years.

With you by my side, I entered

into sexual relationships that left me with

self-loathing and disgust.


You lied to me all throughout

my first marriage, when you told me

I was never enough

never pretty enough

never skinny enough—you told me

all those feelings could be erased

by the bottle of wine

I drank on a nightly basis.


It didn’t matter to me

that for all those years

I risked my health and happiness

to keep our relationship going strong.

I thought you were a way

to escape all my problems. All lies.


You tricked me

into believing I could escape

the pain of having a child

with autism, but when you wore off

you left me

with reality.


I numbed myself with you

to help me deal

with my husband’s cancer.

You were there with me

on the day he died in my arms. I thought

it was so much easier

with you by my side.


So many times I tried

to quit and failed. I just couldn’t

say goodbye to the effect you had on me

the way you transported me

to a place where my problems

melted away, your chemical high

seducing me every time.


This breakup has been

one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

I need to remember

the sick feelings of dread and fear you gave me

when I needed you most.

I need to remember how you left me

trembling and shaking without you.

I need to remember

the Hell of detox, so I’ll never be tempted

to get back with you again.


I want to quit you for good. I want

to leave treatment as a woman

of grace and dignity

with my head held high.


Dear drugs and alcohol, I’m ready

to break free of you. I’m ready to face the truth

without you.


Through treatment and AA, I have been able to rebuild my life. I no longer regret the past or wish to shut the door on it. And if my story can help others, then I know I am living in God’s will.

I’m excited for a new chapter in my life. With the amazing Eva Lund, we have started a new program at Special Spirit called Recovery at The Ranch, a half day utilizing the healing power of horses and animals to help those in drug and alcohol recovery. If you know of a rehab facility that could benefit from this, please let me know. Go to www.specialspirit.org to learn more.


With the help of loved ones, God and AA, I have finally found the meaning of the quote inscribed in my Grandmother Diddy’s bible:

I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see.

I sought my God, but my God eluded me.

I reached for my brother, and I found all three.


35 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

For updates on our programs, blog posts and more.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter.