Author shares her story of overcoming generational trauma
At age 41, Beverly Hart is a wife, grandmother, mother, insurance broker, and ordained minister with Recovery Ministries in Brooklyn Park. Through sheer will and determination, she writes of how she overcame the shame and guilt of being a high school dropout who turned to drugs and alcohol for comfort. She became an alcoholic and junkie who occasionally supported her drug habit by selling her body starting at age 16, becoming a teen mother at age 17
Hart chose to put all of those details on page one in chapter one of her book NO Worries (A Life Reshaped by the Hands of GOD) released in May of this year. “My soul was damaged,” says Hart. The book, her first published, tells her story of transformation, finding purpose and empowerment through faith.
A homeless man who lived in a cardboard box near her home would regularly offer Hart cigarettes, alcohol, or whatever he had when he saw Hart on the street. Those encounters added to her sense of being damaged, since even a man living in a box seemed to be doing much better than she was at that time.
In her past, after countless attempts at alcohol and drug treatment, Hart finally found a way to be clean and sober in 2002. She was forced to recognize her strong will and “newfound determination” after she was threatened with losing custody of her daughter due to neglect. So while still in treatment, Hart says that she gave her life to God, got her GED, was later released and found a job and her own apartment.
“My purpose is to serve God first and to help people develop spiritually in their life,” says Hart (BH) when asked about discovering her purpose. MSR spoke with Hart about her journey from ministering to the homeless to helping people in recovery in the United States and in Africa, first asking her about the trauma she experienced early in life.
MSR: What was the worst damage to your soul?
BH: I think the realty as a child just realizing the environment that I had been born into, looking at life at that time, asking why is my life so different from other people.
MSR: Where did you grow up?
BH: St. Louis, Missouri
MSR: When did you come to Minnesota?
BH: I didn’t move to Minnesota until I was 11 years old.
MSR: What was your environment like growing up?
BH: I can remember as a little girl we lived on a busy street in St. Louis. We lived across the street from two taverns. There was always chaos going on over there on Friday and Saturday nights. You look out at night and see shootouts, fights, or people getting stabbed, and always a host of rough characters out there.
Now, during the daytime, you look out the window and see all of the people going to and from work with nice cars. It would always make me feel like I was born to the wrong family. I carried a lot of shame.
It was worse as I got older. Especially realizing that most of my role models were drug dealers, prostitutes, drug abusers and the like. But somehow I always had a sense of God, even as a little girl. I didn’t know then that God wanted more for me and more out of me.
MSR: What gave you the courage to tell it all in your book without fear of ridicule from family or friends?
BH: I know that the only way that I can continue to grow is to be honest with myself. I realize today that I don’t have to let my past define all of who I am. If I can be open and honest about my past and it inspires or helps someone else, it’s worth it to be an influence for others who may tell their truth. It was important for me to show the contrast and transformation in my life so that readers get the lessons and the purpose.
Hart’s book covers three generations of dysfunction, and she says she lived to realize that turning her life around has broken that negative cycle. She tells the stories of a grandmother who was a drug dealer and a booster and had 16 children, all but one an addict or in and out of jail. Hart’s mother gave birth to her as a teenager at age 14, and Hart witnessed her mother abuse drugs and alcohol. Hart has nine siblings on her mother’s side and 16 on her father’s side. All, but two siblings are still living.
Hart says that her journey into the belly of the beast called street life was an important experience that later helped her deliver several folks during her Mission trip to Uganda, Africa, mentioned in her book. When she told some of the people there struggling with drugs or alcohol that she was a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser, many of them immediately opened up to her and the other missionaries with her.
Hart has reached many of her goals after turning her life around, like obtaining an undergraduate degree in human services from Metropolitan State University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from St. Mary’s University. She is currently working on a doctorate in theology at Faith Bible College.
Writing the book was liberating, she says. Now she wants to focus on helping others emancipate themselves so that they experience no more worries, no more guilt, and no more shame.
For a copy of NO Worries (A Life Reshaped by the Hands of GOD), contact Beverly Hart at Recovery Outreach Ministry by going to www.recoveryoutreachmission.org or email email@example.com.
James L. Stroud, Jr. welcomes reader response to firstname.lastname@example.org.
James L. Stroud, Jr. is a contributing writer and photographer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.