"I grabbed his pistol and began to squeeze the trigger…" Faces Of Recovery: Diane Rauma

Hi. My name is Diane Rauma. I am a recovering alcoholic/addict and I have been clean and sober for 20 years.

I had my first taste of alcohol at 6 years old. Alcohol was the norm in our house and my grandmother said it was good to have a nip before bed; it helped a person sleep better no matter what their age. So she gave me a shot glass full of white wine before bed at night. It did help me sleep and I liked how it made me feel.

I grew up with four older brothers and a much older sister. I was the baby. Three of my brothers turned me onto pot at age 9 and hard liquor. My dad made wine all the time so alcohol was always readily available, that was the beginning of me becoming a full- fledged alcoholic/addict. I smoked pot, drank and started on the harder drugs like acid, speed, mushrooms, peyote buttons, opium, and hashish, all through grade school and high school. In high school at 16 years old I became an IV drug user and became addicted to crystal meth.

I was shooting meth into my arm at least 3 times a day, every day. I dropped out of school at age 17; I was going into the 11th grade. I began dealing drugs to make money to buy more drugs. I became promiscuous in my sexual behavior and I would do just  about anything and sleep with anyone as long as they supplied my habit. Life went on this way until I was into my early 30s when I sobered up.

I was sexually abused by 2 family members from the time I was 9 until I was 16 years old. I left home at 16 years of age.

I had met a man and I knew him for 3 days and moved in with him and 1 year later we went to Alaska. I was in Alaska for 6 years, all the while still selling drugs, sleeping around and shooting dope. I had short lapses of sobriety but they didn’t last long – maybe a week or two while I was waiting for “supplies” to come in and then I would relapse and be back at the using lifestyle.

The relationship began to get physically abusive on both parts but we stayed together. I became pregnant and I stopped using everything except pot for 9 months, I didn’t smoke everyday, but on occasion, so in my mind that made it ok. I gave birth to a healthy 7lb 3oz baby girl and as soon as I could I was using again and we continued to fight. I decided it was time to leave so I packed up my daughter and went to South Dakota where his family was because I sure wasn’t going to go home to my abusers. I moved in with his sister and she took care of my daughter while I went back to my old ways of partying, sleeping around, and shooting dope.

He came to South Dakota and we tried again and this time the abuse got out of hand and he beat me up bad. I had a black eye, a bloody nose; choke marks on my neck and a lot of bumps, scrapes and scratches. I left his sisters and moved into my own place. The relationship ended and he went back to Alaska. I was a single parent and that was fine with me.

I stayed in South Dakota and I met another man in a bar and I married him 2 years later. He was an alcoholic but I was going to “fix” him. Our relationship was rocky and it was physically abusive right from the start, I became pregnant and sobered up for 9 months except for pot and an occasional beer, as the doctor said it was good for the baby to have one a day so I did. I gave birth to another girl she weighed 6lbs 2 oz. and she was healthy.

I was using as soon as I could except I didn’t sleep around as I was married and I honored that vow. The physical abuse along with verbal and emotional abuse and numerous times being beaten and raped by him became so bad it put me in the hospital with bruised ribs, black eyes, a near miscarriage (2nd daughter), internal damage, bald spots on my head from hair being ripped out, bruises, scrapes, cuts and permanent facial damage. The doctor, who was a friend, told me to leave him before he killed me, but I was married for life in my eyes. He said if I didn’t leave he would get social services involved and start proceedings to take my kids away. 

On the home front, my parents had left the Twin Cities of Minnesota and moved to Duluth and my brothers and sister all had their own homes. I felt it was safe for me to go home and I called my parents and they welcomed me home. I left my husband in the middle of the night while he was at work and I took my kids and the clothes on our backs and went home to Minnesota. I moved in with my parents for a short time until I got my own place.

As soon as I got settled I was using hard again and my parents were more than happy to watch the kids on the weekends. I was full blown using, smoking pot, shooting dope, drinking and sleeping around. My husband showed up in Minnesota and promised me things would be different and I let him come back. Within 2 weeks he was beating and raping me again, after a night of getting beat up by him, I decided I was going to kill him when he passed out, which he always did after a night of hard drinking and drugging.

I went to the closet, grabbed his pistol, placed the barrel near his head and began to squeeze the trigger knowing that the abuse would be over forever in a few short seconds. I heard my youngest daughter cry from her room for me. I instantly “came too” put the gun down, my hands shaking uncontrollably, and went to her room to see what she wanted.

I got her back to bed and called the police and they came and removed him from my home and I went to my parents with the girls, for the remainder of the night.  I divorced him shortly after that. I went into hiding as he was threatening my life.

I met yet another man that needed a nanny as he was a single dad with custody of his kids.  I jumped at the chance as he lived in an old farm-house out in the country where I knew my “ex” would never find me. I stayed there for 1 ½ years and was in full blown using mode again – smoking pot, using drugs, shooting dope but I didn’t sleep around as I needed the job and I was sleeping with him. I now had 4 kids, two were his, and two were mine and I was high all the time. The relationship wasn’t physically abusive, or verbally abusive. He was a nice guy that just wanted someone to love him and take care of his kids. It was peaceful for that 1½ years and I could use and do whatever I wanted. And I did.

I met a woman about 6 months into my stay there and we became friends because our kids played together. She would often talk about Jesus and I listened, but I said, “Jesus gave up on me a long time ago.”

To make a long story short she brought me to Jesus and I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I still used but I was curious about this Jesus. So one day, July 14th 1992, it was my youngest daughter’s birthday, a girl I used with and I were going to take our kids to the beach and celebrate my baby’s birthday. We got pretty high before we left and I had to shoot up at least one more time before we left. We got to the beach and had a great day. But the night before I had had an argument with God telling Him if He was real to show up and change my life. Well… He showed up that day! 

The day at the beach was a blast and we decided it was time to go home. So my using friend and I went in the van I was driving and smoked up – I did another shoot up session and we rounded up the kids and headed home.

On the way home the dope had kicked in and I was feeling good when all of a sudden we came to the train tracks and I forgot how to drive the van. I was stuck on the tracks while the train was coming! My arms were both down and I was in the middle of the tracks. I tried to back up and I broke the arm but I couldn’t go back far enough to get off the tracks. I tried to go forward but I couldn’t seem to get the gears right my friend was screaming at me as she knew we were going to get hit by the train but I couldn’t hear her voice.

Everything was in slow motion. I saw people getting out of their cars as they knew I was going to get hit, and all of a sudden I “came too” and I broke through the front arm and drove off the tracks! I looked in my rearview mirror and the train went by blowing its horn like crazy.

As I sat in my van stunned, shocked and trying to catch my breath, a man with the most amazing eyes I had ever seen came up to my van, looked me in the eyes and said “bad brakes huh?” and then he was gone.

My friend got out of the van she was screaming at me now and I heard every word. She said some pretty awful things to me and ended our friendship right then and there. The kids were crying and shook up in the back of the van and I was doing my best to calm everybody down while still in shock myself. I realized I was instantly sober and I drove home about 5 miles per hour trying to figure out what had just happened.  I got home and called my Jesus friend and told her what happened. We prayed together and I have not had a drop or a drug since that day – July 14th 1992.

Now you may be wondering what happened to me…

I married my Jesus friend’s brother. He was a Christian man but the relationship didn’t last as I still had issues to work through from my past that affected the marriage so we divorced. We were married 5 years. The good thing was that he introduced me to Alcoholics Anonymous and for the first time in my life I felt “at home” and safe.

I met a man in A.A and I married him in 2003 and we have been together ever since and though the road is bumpy at times I can honestly say I am happily married. God is very much a part of our lives. My husband and I are both Pastors. We are affiliated with The Crossing Church where we lead a recovery group. We are seeing lives get changed through the 12 Mile Markers and the love of Jesus Christ and His Grace. We are also helping and teaching other churches that want to start recovery groups how to do that.

I am a full time student and am working towards a BS in Psychology and counseling. I have a heart for broken abused women and I am in the process of starting my own non-profit business so I can help more women that suffer from addictions, abuse, incest, rape, and other issues, so they can come to know Jesus and His unconditional love and He can heal their wounds and make them whole again, just like He did with me.

This is my life verse that I say daily – I even have it tattooed on my arm so I always remember where I came from and it’s a great conversation piece: Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.

Jesus changed my life and the miracles that have happened since I met Him are just that: miracles. I should have been dead many times over but He had other plans for me. I let Him in and He changed my life for the better, forever. All the Glory goes to Him. My Jesus, my Lord, my Savior.