Bailee Thomas: “I’m not broken any more”
by Glen Doss, major –
As the sun peeped over the horizon, the young woman stepped outside The Salvation Army residence, cast a morose glance about at the surrounding grounds, and then dropped into a chair. A picture of doom and dejection, she gazed out at the sunrise. “God, please give me a sign,” she murmured.
“I had never felt such agony,” recalls Bailee Thomas, 37, of the 2002 incident. “I felt a separation from God like I had never known before. I knew I needed my relationship with him to be complete if I were ever to be made whole, so I asked for a sign. A little bird lit upon a branch and cocked its head toward me. It was so beautiful that my heart broke! There were tears and a rush of emotion; and I knew God was there with me! From that point on I knew I had something no one could ever take away. I could give it away—my fullness in God—but no one could ever take it from me. It’s the same with my recovery—I can give it away but no one can take it away.”
Bailee’s arduous journey toward wholeness began in Pocatello, Idaho, where she was the third of four children in a single-parent household. “My mom held two jobs but was also an alcoholic. She supplied all our material needs, yet I had to raise myself. Inside I always had this wall about me.”
By age 14 she was drinking alcohol and using cocaine, acid, and marijuana. Sexually assaulted the same year, afterwards she became promiscuous. “I thought sex and having boys love me went hand in hand. Everything I did, I did to the extreme.” At 16 she became pregnant, and again at 21. “I was heavy into cocaine, raising two sons on my own and selling drugs to help support them, with no clue at all how to raise my children.”
At 24, Bailee accompanied a man to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, who became abusive toward her. When he started stalking her, Bailee took shelter in a church mission. “I was an atheist,” she recalls. “I didn’t believe in any God who would allow such bad things to happen to me as happened when I was a child. But it was there that my eyes were first opened to the love of God.”
After relocating to Boise, things seemed to go well for a while. “I had a good job; then I met a guy at work and started using [drugs] again automatically.” Seeing his mother was high once more, her youngest child called his grandmother to come and get him. Once her children were safe in another’s care, Bailee plunged deeply into her addiction. Wiping her eyes, she relates: “I knew I had lost everything, so I gave myself totally over to the drug. My family couldn’t find me.” The difficult years that followed were punctuated by a string of failed efforts at attaining lasting sobriety.
In 2002 Bailee took the step that was to change her life. “My brother was working for The Salvation Army in San Francisco. I contacted him, and he called the ARC.” On Oct. 8, Bailee checked into the Pinehurst women’s program.
“At the time I was aware of a void: I knew there was this God out there, but I wasn’t sure if he could help me or even wanted to. The staff explained that God did not cause the horrible things that had happened to me; they were a result of man’s free will, and I just got caught in the crossfire; but God was there carrying me all along. They showed me how to open up my heart.”
Bailee completed the program in May 2003. “Today I’m going to college; I’m working two jobs; and I have been reconciled with my family,” she says, beaming. “While I was driving to work one day, God told me: ‘At this moment you are 100 percent complete.’ I was so excited—I had been broken all my life! Although I’ve still got things to work on, praise God—I’m not broken anymore!”