I don’t think there is a reality star out there who shares more brutally honest and humble reactions to episodes than Return To Amish star Sabrina High. A recovering drug addict, Sabrina has held nothing back in her numerous Facebook posts about her road to recovery and her successful attempt to regain custody of her daughter Oakley. Most recently, she addressed the on-screen criticism she received from co-stars Rebecca and Abe Schmucker, as well as the off-screen criticism from viewers who had negative things to say about how she looked on the show.
First up is Sabrina’s letter, addressed to Abe, after he had some very harsh things to say about her due to his experience dealing with his brother Andrew–who also has drug addiction issues. Abe argued that his brother had caused them a lot of emotional torment over the years, mostly because the family continued to remain hopeful that he would get sober. Abe added that what Sabrina needs is a “reality check.”
In her letter, Sabrina argues that her situation is a lot different than Andrew’s, and that she, quite simply, is not him. She includes a heart-breakingly detailed account of how she lost custody of her daughter Oakley, and how the loss motivated her to go from pills to heroin. She says that that was her reality check.
Sabrina mentions that she teared up while writing the letter, and I pretty much guarantee you will, too. Here it is (with a few paragraph breaks added), proceeded by Sabrina’s intro:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So I’m watching the second episode and I just saw the part where Abe declares that “Sabrina needs a REALITY check!” So here is a letter that I wrote….
Dear Abraham –
Hey, it’s Sabrina. Just wanted to let you know that I received a very big reality check in October of 2014. I had moved to Delaware with my biological family in an attempt to have a stable place to live for Oakley. It was during the 60 day mandatory investigation that Children and youth had opened on me due to reports of me being homeless. At that point, I had taken four or five drug tests and had passed every single one. In my mind, moving to Delaware was the best choice I had at the time.
I informed Children and Youth that I was down there. I called them and checked in with them on a Tuesday and told them my phone would be off for Wednesday and Thursday and that it would be turned back on, on Friday. I didn’t have enough money to turn it on until then because I chose to buy baby formula for my daughter. Friday morning, I called them and was informed that they had filed for emergency custody on Thursday due to the fact that I had left the state and because my phone was turned off, even tho I had explained it to them. They told me I had until 5 pm that evening to return Oakley to Lancaster or else I would be charged with kidnapping. No one had told me that you cannot leave the state when CYS has an open investigation on you.
I should have known better, but I was desperate to do what was best for my daughter. As I write this, just remembering makes the tears fall. I drove her back that afternoon, signed the papers, and handed her over. It was the most heart breaking thing that has ever happened to me. I was too misinformed at the time to realize that I could potentially get her back. I thought she was gone for good.
The pain of losing a child is indescribable. I became desperate to numb the pain. That evening, a friend shot me up with heroin for the first time ever. (I had tried it once before, a long time ago, but it was ingested differently and I hadn’t had any desire to really use it again. Until then.) I had kicked my pill habit but the day I lost Oakley I relapsed.
That day changed my life in so many ways. Going out and doing heroin after you lose your kid obviously isn’t a smart thing to do. I’m not proud of myself for allowing myself to do that. Unfortunately, I can’t change what I did. Had I known I would become physically addicted to it, I would have probably not allowed that to happen. I was in the midst of a nervous breakdown at the time and I wasn’t thinking right at all.
I wish I could say that things got better then, but they didn’t. I had to stay in Lancaster to be able to work with CYS, and therefore I didn’t have a place to stay. I lived out of my car and my addiction continued to worsen. You know the rest of the story from there.
I say all that to tell you this. Honey, I hit rock bottom. I was forced to face reality, whether I wanted to or not. I CHANGED my reality. You can look at me and compare me to Andrew all that you want to. I am not him. I am so incredibly sorry that he has hurt you in the deepest of ways. I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better, but I don’t. I wish I could fix you and Rebecca’s hearts and take the pain away. But I can’t. The only thing I can do is continue to live in the best way that I can.
Actions speak louder than words. I know Andrew has hurt you so often that the only way you know to protect yourself is to close your heart off to everything to do with addiction and close your heart off to the addicts themselves. I don’t believe that you do it to be cruel – you do it to protect your hearts. You can’t stand the thought of being hurt one more time. Acting tough towards me is the only way you know how to protect yourself. That way if I do relapse and end up on the street again, you won’t be disappointed. And I understand. It’s ok.
You don’t have to believe in me. Trust me, I have found it hard enough to believe in myself at times. So I can’t blame y’all for not believing in me either. All I can do is continue to live my life and do the next right thing. Being angry at you for your hurtful words doesn’t hurt you, it only hurts me. I don’t want to be that kind of person. True recovery doesn’t allow that.
I’m sorry that Andrew has hurt you. It is my goal to be an example and my hope is that one day too, Andrew can find the grace and freedom that I have found. Addicts don’t use because they love themselves, they use because they hate themselves. Andrew doesn’t love himself. Andrew had dreams. He wanted to be somebody. No one likes to be an addict.
God loves us unconditionally, no matter what we do. I lived one of the worst lives imaginable, and yet God still loves me. The grace of God has covered all of my sins. All God asks is that I accept that grace and strive to be like Him, because God IS love. So, I choose to do that.
I love you and Rebecca unconditionally. I love Andrew unconditionally as well. It’s the least that I can do. God loves me even when I’m unloveable, and as his daughter, it is my responsibility to offer unto others the same Grace that Jesus has shown me. Does this mean I’m perfect or am going to be perfect? No, not by a long shot. I am a sinner. That’s why I need God so much.
I am praying for you guys. Let me know if you need anything. I love you!!!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I hope there is a Return To Amish Reunion Show and I hope Sabrina reads that letter aloud! Wow. That is some seriously humble wisdom right there.
Here is another post that is even more humble — I think too much so, in fact — that Sabrina wrote after she received lots of criticism over the way she looked on the show:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I read the book called “Just for Today: Meditations for Recovering Addicts” and yesterday’s reading was absolutely great. I’m going to write it down so that y’all can read it too.
July 14. “Social acceptability does not equal recovery.” – Basic Text, p.22
“One of the first things that happens to many of us in recovery is that we start to look better. We get healthier; we bathe; we dress more appropriately. And without the goading of active addiction, many of us finally stop stealing, lying, and hustling. We start to look NORMAL– just by removing the drugs.
Looking normal is very different from being normal. Acceptability in the eyes of the world is a benefit of recovery; it is NOT the same thing as recovery. We can enjoy the benefits of recovery, but we must take care to nurture their true source. Lasting recovery isn’t found in acceptance from others, but in the inner growth set in motion by the Twelve Steps.
Just for Today: I know that looking good isn’t enough. Lasting recovery is an inside job.”
This morning, I woke up and picked up my phone. One of the first comments I read was a lady that accused me of slurring my speech and she also shared that my appearance is awful and that she would never ever hire me for a job simply because of the way that I look. She stated that I desperately need a makeover and said some other negative things about my appearance as well.
I put my phone down and looked over at my sleeping daughter and thought what in the world am I doing??? And then I remembered the above, which is what I read yesterday. You know, my first reaction would have been to fire off a response in defense of myself but I chose not to. There is really no point in me even acknowledging that lady’s words.
The fact of the matter is, that particular episode was shot last year, back before Christmas. My producers actually took me shopping when we started shooting and got me some new clothes. Being an addict wipes out your finances. Every thing that I owned was either a thrift store item or something cheap from Walmart.
The day they took me shopping overwhelmed me. I hadn’t had nice things for so long and it meant soo much that they cared enough to try to help me look better. However, judging by the comments I’ve received as of late, the new clothes apparently didn’t help my appearance as much as I thought they did at the time. I shudder to think what people would be saying if I hadn’t gotten some new clothes to shoot the show.
I am fully aware of the fact that I don’t look as good as I used to, and it saddens me. As viewers, you will see during the course of the show where Kate was kind enough to take me to get a makeover. I cried alot that day. Not because I wasn’t thankful, but because doing that for myself and looking good made me feel incredibly guilty for some reason.
I don’t know how to explain it really. I am very ashamed of what I have done and what I allowed myself to become. My teeth started decaying, and as a result of continued drug use, my skin broke out and I have hideous acne scars all over my body as a result of getting high and picking at my skin.
I don’t really enjoy talking about these things, I am just being blatantly honest. Addiction ruined me. I am working on myself and doing everything I can now to take care of myself, but I’m so far from perfect. I wish I could sit here and say that I feel beautiful, but I don’t.
It is my hope and prayer that the inside of my heart shines so brightly that no one will notice my scars and the fact that I am not as pretty as I used to be. However, that has not really been happening and so I decided to share a little bit about why I look the way that I do.
Now that I am clean, I take care of myself as much as I am able to and I practice good hygiene. I shower every single day and I comb my hair and straighten it. I am trying so please do not think that I am a dirty person because I am not. I do not have the money to dress like Kim Kardashian every single day or I would. I try to be clean and neat as much as possible and make the most of what I have.
I realize that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for things, but I am choosing to share this in the hopes that people are able to understand. I am working on the inside of me and I feel that that is more important than the outside of me.
I have never been the kind of person to buy expensive clothes in the first place. People seem to think that because we are on tv, we are rich and therefore have access to stylists and makeup artists, ect. That is NOT the case. The only time we ever get our make up and clothes done professionally is for photo shoots, the reunion shows, and when we do press. The rest of the time we do our own hair, our own makeup, and our own clothes.
I would just like to reiterate that I don’t expect everyone to like me, nor do I expect everyone to like the way that I look. It’s like Kate told me, “I know that you don’t judge people by their appearance and I know that you don’t think they should judge you by your appearance, but they do. It’s a fact of life. People judge you by the way that you look and there is nothing you can do about it.” It’s so true and I am realizing how true it is even more, now that the show is airing.
I have never placed alot of importance on the outside, simply because of the way that I was raised. However, I do not want people to think I am dirty either. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hear you and I am trying to do better with those things. I am sorry for being a bad example and letting people down. I want to look good I really truly do. I have a little girl that loves when Mama allows her to play with makeup.
I am slowly but surely getting my life back together and I’m sorry that it’s not fast enough for some of you. Bottom line, true beauty comes from the heart. I would rather look like sh!t and be a kind person, versus being on the best dressed list and look awesome, but be a nasty, cruel person to others. And I will never ever apologize for that 🙂 #ReturntoAmish #notperfect #doingmybestest #IWantToBeAGoodMama #kindnessisthekey
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Again, I believe Sabrina was being too humble in that post, and was judging herself WAAAY too harshly. Focusing on the inside should DEFINITELY be her priority, and f*** all the shallow folks unable to see in more than two dimensions. This damned internet sure can bring out the bottom of the barrel when it comes to humanity.
To end things on a slightly more positive note, here are Sabrina’s reflections on what’s next for her:
You can keep up with Sabrina on her Hope For Recovery Facebook page. (Oh, and in case you missed it, Sabrina is currently pregnant again!) You can also see her in new episodes of Return To Amish airing Sunday nights at 10/9c on TLC. And speaking of Sabrina and Return To Amish, here she is confronting Rebecca Schmucker in a dramatic preview clip: