A Memoir of Addiction, Gun Violence and Finding a Life of Purpose
by Wendy Adamson
It never should have happened. None of it ever, should have happened.
That’s what Wendy Adamson thought as she sat handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car. She was a devoted wife for over 20 years; a little league mom who attended her sons’ countless baseball games.
This wasn’t how she was supposed to end up.
In fact, Wendy could vaguely remember a time when she had dreams of making a difference in the world. So how was it that her life had gotten so far off track?
Maybe it was all the methamphetamine she and her husband, Max had been doing lately. Or maybe it was because she hadn’t slept in days. But Wendy knew one thing for certain: if Max hadn’t been cheating on her with that 24-year-old Tweaker, she wouldn’t have shot the bitch in the arm.
And while she felt justified in that particular moment, when the meth eventually wore off, Wendy would realize just how much this one senseless act would impact her two boys whom she loved so much.
Later that night, while Max was moving the other woman intoherbed, Wendy tossed and turned on an English muffin-sized mattress in the county jail where she would remain for almost a year.
With all that time on her hands, Wendy ruminated on her own mother’s suicide when she was only 7 years-old. While Wendy felt hurt and betrayed, she swore she’d never be like her mother once she had her own kids. But saying ‘never’ was like giving the universe the exact coordinates as to where she would later land – Wendy had a psychotic break at the same age as her mother was, who cut her wrists and drowned herself in the bathtub.
While she wanted to do so much more with her life, as a drug addict Wendy didn’t think she’d ever be able to stop. As her release date grew closer she was afraid of what her future might hold in store. She had no money and nowhere to go. But then a woman who taught self-esteem classes in the jail found her a bed at a women and children’s shelter where she could stay with Rikki, her youngest son. Unfortunately her eldest boy, Jerry, who had followed in her footsteps, was locked up in juvenile hall.
While living at the shelter, Wendy, who had always been an unwavering badass, had a hard time accepting help from others. As a result, she teetered on the edge of sobriety, until a fatal Mother’s Day, when another shooting occurred. This time, however, it’s a young boy whose been shot four times in front of where she was living. Wendy had never showed up for anyone else before unless she received something in return. But on this occasion, Wendy ran to the boy’s side and stayed with him until the police arrived.
That night, Wendy couldn’t sleep. Restless and uncomfortable, she felt all the classic signs of a panic attack taking hold. Then suddenly, in a moment of silent terror a white light emanated from the ceiling and cascaded into her chest. In an instant she was filled with an absolute state of peace. A feeling she had never experienced. Was it the boy’s spirit who came to thank her? Was it God? The Universe? In that exact moment, she didn’t know, but it didn’t matter, because the experience would ultimately catapult her life in an entirely different direction.
Wendy was now determined to stay sober but her past actions came back to haunt her when her son, Jerry, now 18, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon – the same charge Wendy faced one year before.
Determined to tip the cosmic scales towards ultimate justice, Wendy showed up in court to speak on her son’s behalf, only to find the judge about to determine her son’s fate, was the same judge she had faced on countless prior occasions. Standing in front of the judge, Wendy made amends not only to her son but to the judge as well.
This is a story about Wendy’s undoing, and the long and delicate reassembly it would take to put her life back together again. A life that is beyond just existing, but a continuous celebration of all things living – because when you stand on the precipice of addiction, the only way to survive the jump is to live each day like you may never have another. Living becomes the ultimate privilege. Motherhood becomes the ultimate gift, and Wendy knows that the only way to keep what she has is to continue to give it away.
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“Every one who either is or knows someone who has been a drug addict, alcoholic, or prescription drug user – and I think that covers all of us – needs to read this book. Wendy gives you an honest and no holds barred insight into one woman’s struggles with addiction, and what it took to transform herself into the creative and gifted woman she is today. An amazing and truly inspiring read.” — Hawk Koch, Former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Veteran Movie Producer and Author.
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“I just learned that Wendy Adamson’s book, relating her trajectory from gun-toting, meth-head momma with a sofa-sized chip on her shoulder to gentle, sober therapist, could be on its way to the public. What a boon that will be to both the curious and the recovered. With great humor and humility, she tells how she traveled that road and arrived, scabby but upright. I am breathless with anticipation!” — Meredith Baxter – Actress, Author, Activist
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“Wendy’s writing pulses with action, drama and the power of truth. And a winning wink of humor that lightens this riveting hero’s journey from rage and destruction to redemption and wholeness. I can’t wait to read her book and I’m sure it’s destined to reach an audience that are hungry for great story telling, great characters and an unlikely heroine telling her mesmerizing tale.” — Torie Osborn – Political Activist and Published Author
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“Wendy Adamson is a brilliant, masterful storyteller with amazing, incredible stories to tell. Funny, dramatic, poignant, wild and entertaining… I can’t wait to read her new book!” — Jim Hecht – Screenwriter, Ice Age: The Meltdown
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“Wendy’s raw and truthful tale begins with the downward spiral of addiction, a crazed path bent on a dead end. Luckily that struggle brings her to her knees and from there towards the reckoning of recovery. This book is about waking up and living to tell what life is like on the other side. “ — Alex Hedison – Photographer
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“Wendy’s powerful story of recovery is told with honesty, humor and soul. Her journey from the dark of night to the promise of a new day is filled with a powerful redemptive force. Her writing lifts the spirit, taking us to a place of grace with a message that no matter how far we fall, love will always help us find a way back, if we can just find the courage to let it in.” — Rick Lawley – Founder and CEO of Whitehouse Productions
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“Wendy Adamson shows us how the human spirit has the infinite ability to heal despite the adverse side effects of childhood trauma. In Mother Load, the reader witnesses one woman’s fierce determination to heal the impact left on her children through drug addiction by tipping the cosmic scales towards recovery and ultimate good. A raw, inspiring story and one that should be read by anyone who has ever struggled to forgive themselves for their past mistakes.” — Paul Hook-Partner-ICM Partners