In May of 2015, the unthinkable happened…I was involved in a multi car unavoidable fatal accident. I had been drinking earlier in the night and made the horrible, emotional fueled, irrational decision to drive to my now husband’s home.
During the confusion of the unfolding events, my emotions and behaviors were erratic and fear driven, both by the accident and a total broken process during the aftermath. The legacy of the tragedy is that a life was lost and a life was saved. But for the grace of GOD go I.
“I’m sorry” will never compensate, but the dedication of my life’s mission, and what I can do to change the legacy of this event, will not squander the gift God gave me…a second chance.
To do it better, for others; Honor my circumstance, honor the legacy.
Anything less would be unforgivable to myself…but more to those that now rely on me. I can affect change through my story and pain, and transparency.
I now live my life in the hopes that my story touches others, not only about the impacts of drinking and driving and how it CAN happen to YOU, but how we as women, can live a life FREE from the bondage of our emotions and let GOD handle our spirit!
I know for me, my life changed instantly when I realized my mind is rational and value driven, and my heart/spirit is HIS and where my emotions live! It’s very simple.
I don’t have to make choices fueled in those emotions…I trust in HIM now and life is full of grace and joy like I never dreamed possible! I am no longer held hostage by my past hurts and traumas. I got out of HIS way.
This is my story and how I got from there to here…
My parents loved me very much as a child. My Father, a very prominent physician, my Mom kind, warm, elegant-she was everything to me. I grew up provided for, yet grounded, educated, traveled and experienced. I was loved! Yet, I always knew something was off. I was adopted within my family. A sinister situation. Things turned when I was a pre-teen, and the love turned to anger and resentment.
As a result, I began acting out and was sent away. I was only 12. HELL broke loose.
I was imprisoned in the experimental Brookhaven, NME/PIA rehab in the late 80’s, and as a result, I trusted no one in mental healthcare. To date, it is the largest mental health reform lawsuit ever filed and settled. I was under court settlement gag order for years. I didn’t even know what the hell that meant! My imprisonment truly met full circle from adolescence and adulthood. I was broken. I was trapped. So I did I what did best-persevere. I reinvented myself over and over.
I was masking my past traumas from childhood-brokenness of a confused adoption within my family, coupled with adolescence abuse outside my home in the broken mental healthcare system.
As a young adult, I found early success in sales, rapidly climbing the ranks in corporate America. I traveled the country, lead many great teams, all the while dying inside pushing myself to the brink. Money flowed and so did the wine.
I married,divorced, hurt people close to me, yet devoted my spare time to many causes and social, family efforts. I burned the candle hard! Life seemed good. My real love affair with wine developed during this time. I tried off and on to “fix” me-but the typical ways, AA and secular therapy-nothing worked! What I didn’t realize was I wasn’t an alcoholic. I was a broken person-masking my pain and trauma. If didn’t step back from life, drop everything as I knew it, I would never change, never heal, and the cycle of my destructive patterns would continue.
Then the hammer hit!
My older healthy sister had stage 4 esophageal terminal cancer…2008. She fought like a lion for her kids and family. It was a devastating time for all of us, and I lost my relationship with my niece and nephew in the process, as I could not cope. It was at this time, my drinking raged and my poor choices led to a DWI. She died shortly after, in late 2009. However, my life in the corporate world was flourishing at AT&T, yet I was on a downward spiral.
I threw myself into animal welfare at this time, and I was very active in the Dallas social scene. This was a recipe for disaster. I so loved saving the animals, fostering them, raising money, chairing events, and more, but the crazy schedules, appearances and drama involved, was too much to bear with my work life and personal life. My drinking became so problematic, it started impacting all my relationships and behaviors. I was like a trapped hamster on a wheel…running and running-ending in the same place.
Life again took a total turn, I found my biological father, divorced yet again, married yet again, and I was seeking and searching but nothing seemed to “fix” me! I went to church off and on, thought I knew God, but I didn’t know Jesus!
Knowing if I continued this crazy lifestyle, I would continue these patterns, I again drastically made a change-I abruptly(unprofessionally) resigned my high profile job at AT&T, resigned my volunteer positions and really just went quiet. At this point, I was deep into depression. Little did I know the plans God had for me!
I was on bond for 3 years from 2015-2018, completely cut off all social media and the world, and tried to figure my life out. A new world emerged: Bond reporting, weird devices attached to my body and rules, shame, extreme guilt, sadness, fear, even suicide. The first year, was such a horrible time. I thought about ending it all-and often. I made a desperate relationship choice in the beginning, with an old flame, still reeling. I was worthy of nothing! It was an all time low.
Slowly, my mother was just as sick as I, with dementia, and dying. But God had yet another plan. He was going to heal us together. God sent the angels, my mentors, that helped me as I packed 45 years of my parents belongings, got out of my own house, moved my father again, moved myself, all while caring for my mother every day in a home across from my new apt. It was truly a blessing in those crazy times. God’s nest.
Wow, was my world so new. I still hadn’t driven in years, uber, pinching pennies, I was blowing in devices, showing up to courts-it was nuts. I was in church, classes, my therapy, mom’s therapy, DR’s, you name it-I was in a cocoon of whatever it took! I was determined to do the hard work, to lean in and finally get the help I needed and to take care of my Mom. I trusted for the first time, and I was alone no distractions. Just me, Mom and God. I totally fell apart in the realization my “very together” life of high performing career, family and social status was nothing but a facade…I found humility and the meaning of grace.
I met my rock, Carolyn, my mentor in Christ. I have the blessing of several key influential women in my life. They are the foundation for my business model today.
NO one has ever changed my life more than Carolyn. She scraped me off the floor in a heap and saved me. She literally brought me to Jesus and walked me through my traumas. She spent 100’s of hours on me and still does. Without her guidance, accountability, unconditional love, example and humor at times, I would not have made this journey. She also so loved Susie, my Mom. She loves and supports anything of importance in my life, as do I in hers. It’s a wonderful place to be healthy now, to mutually reciprocate the love she gives me.
Thank God I got free before I faced my prison time!
I took a 10 yr plea deal and went to Texas Prison(TDCJ) in April 2018. God’s miracle…I made my first parole in July 2019, 450 days confinement. I will share about that experience in other posts and video blogs. The lessons and blessings of the women inmates I met, forever changed my direction and course of my future.
The Rusty Diamond Network was born behind those walls. Prison Justice Reform, mass incarceration, and women’s well-being are now in my blood…it is my life mission.
The women I met and now mentor are my heart to protect their future success entering society. I will never ever forget one minute in the Texas penitentiary and will spend my life working with the system, reform, and most importantly women and victims on both sides of crime to improve this epidemic in our society. The victim line is sadly flipped in the majority of the prison population.
Educating the public why this matters to us all, and the social impacts to our ever degrading culture, are critical.
I am now happily married-hallelujah!- to my best friend of 18 years. Peter and I live in our home in Plano, TX. are committed to giving back to the community and women’s issues around incarceration. I tease him, “I waited 16 years for you” in reality, God prepared me all these years so I could be a Godly wife to him.
God brought me to my knees on May 15, 2015. I stay humble in that reminder and grateful to know that life now is HIS and I must share it with others.
I can never change what happened that night, but I am determined to change the legacy I leave.
For HIS mercy and grace alone…pay it forward! You never know the impact you will have on that person until you do.
She is a daughter, a wife, a sister, a mother…her child will thank you….or she just may be….ME.
Nicole, my girls call me, Momma Diamond