port of harlem magazine

April 4 - April 17, 2008


The Middle Passage - Stories of Survival:
 My Ex-Husband, The Church, and I
by Allison Miller as told to Gregory Bearstop
  in the Feb-Apr 2008 Print Issue of Port of Harlem

I was hysterical and just could not take it anymore.  My husband was drowning my sAllison Miller emotional and verbal abuse.  I just had to get away.  So one day I finally grabbed my keys and began driving from Bowie, Maryland to my hometown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

As I made my way up I-95, I contemplated driving my car off an embankment to my death.  However, I realized that instead of dying from the crash I may just become severely injured.  So I turned my car around and wept.  When I returned to Bowie, I called New Life Clinic and reached out for professional help. 

It took a week for my insurance company to approve the Clinic enrollment and for my Mom to arrive to take care of my toddler daughter.  As I peeled back the layers of my emotional distress, my counselor at the Clinic advised me that my problem seemed to reside in my marriage and the church that I had recently helped establish.

I had centered my whole life around my marriage and church.  My husband was a deacon.  I sang in the choir, ran the book store, participated on the praise team, and even became a deaconess. With such a deep connection to the church, I could not accept my counselor’s advice.  So, rather than face the possibility of aborting my life as I knew it, I aborted treatment. 

My marriage continued along its rocky path and we soon began marriage counseling sessions.  Because of our active roles in the church, we felt comfortable seeking help from our pastor. However, those sporadic sessions turned into a scrimmage where it seemed that the pastor and my husband colluded to mar and discredit me.  I did not stand a chance.  My husband called me inflexible; yet, he never addressed how he was emotionally unavailable.

As tension mounted in our marriage, my health began to deteriorate.  I experienced arrhythmia, anxiety, and panic attacks.  I took medication just to quell my anxiety.  Having reached the point where my physical health was in jeopardy, I finally decided to take drastic action to change the course of my life: 

Bearstop presents "The Middle Passage: A Story of Survival" in every other print issue of Port of HarlemClick here if you have a story to tell.  Read Allison Miller’s full story only in the current print issue of Port of HarlemClick here to subscribe

TO CHANGE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS:  Click "SafeUnsubscribe" below, then
click here to register your new address