By Mary —

My name is Mary Kominska and the story of my life may sound like something out of a novel or tabloid magazine. I say this because I have survived:

  • Teenaged parents totally unprepared for parenthood
  • Addiction to multiple drugs
  • Three marriages and three pregnancies
  • Job layoffs
  • And losing loved ones who supported me

Yet at 51, I’m doing well and get better every day. Here’s my story, how things changed and how I continue to succeed… 

By the time I was six months old, Dad was gone and Mom, with multiple addictions, fled Chicago to follow her mother to California. For years, every day was chaos. 

Mom’s addictions included men. This included a three-year marriage, then living with a guy while having others over when he was at work. The only time I felt safe was when I could visit my Grandmother Dee who lived in Lake Havasu City.

Then, in 7th grade I met Tammy Schlador at school (my other safe place). Tammy invited me to church and for the first time, I experienced life with what a family should be. 

From then until my senior year, I would live with them when not staying with Mom.  It meant being stretched between light (with the Schladors) and darkness (with Mom).  You see, living with Mom gave me open access to drugs and alcohol. Once she even held a knife to my throat. This paved the way for the Schladors to obtain custody of me.  

So I worked hard to graduate with my class of 87. Sadly, I was pregnant in the spring of graduation…and deeply ashamed of letting the Schladors down.  I graduated and gave birth to a girl. 

I also went back to my mother. 

Once there, I knew I did not want my daughter to repeat my life! I put her up for adoption through Christian Family Care, returned to the Schladors and met Scott Kominska. Had I been ready to let Scott into my life at that time, the next 24 years would have been totally different.

Instead, my choices made my life spin out of control. 

It started with joining my birth parents who had reunited in Chicago. It was disastrous and I returned to Arizona. The next blow was losing Dad Schlador whose steadfast love and support had been a lifeline. His death left a gap I struggled to overcome.  I got pregnant from a one night stand and this time had an abortion. I continued to drink and drug.

At age 23, I met James who like me, was broken. His problems with the law forced us out of Arizona to Kokomo, Indiana where I gave birth to our son Bryan. We married, started going to church and got baptized.  But this too wouldn’t last.   James was arrested and extradited back to Arizona. 

I finally kicked my meth habit but at 29, drink and prescription drugs were still part of my life. I divorced James and looked for love in all the wrong places. This led to marriage to Beau – another broken person. 

When I turned 37, I added an Avon business to my full time job because I needed extra money. Then I got laid off from my full time position.  Beau wanted a divorce (which would prove to be good) but another major loss, Mom Schladors death – reopened old wounds.

For the next six years, selling Avon, now my current business was the only thing working.

But life would finally get better when I turned 43 in 2013.

Scott came back into my life and we married. Two years later I contacted my mother. Nothing had changed – but I told her I loved her and forgave her. I’m grateful we had one last time to talk. In six months she would be dead from brain cancer and in spite of all she put me through; I felt God showed me where forgiveness needed to happen. 

Things were good, but we still had hurdles.

In 2018, James died and our son Bryan came to stay with us. Our suspicions of heroin use were confirmed and we detoxed him. But his relapse and subsequent arrest (I called the police) made me come to terms with the fact that I was hurting him more than helping. It was a painful revelation.  

Then in 2019, he reached out for our help. Once again he was off and on – the last relapse due to forced working at home because of Covid. But he completed counseling with my counselor.

Scott and I had another problem. After two bankruptcies in my previous marriages, we avoided a third through the help of Financial Peace University. This was through Central Christian Church, and there was so much more. I embraced their Boundaries program, facilitated three Rooted Experiences and started a bible study at Streetlight USA.  

I progressed further with conferences by Christian author Joyce Meyer and attending PALs (Parents of Addicted Loved Ones). Last year I shadowed my Boundaries facilitator and now facilitate classes (currently on Zoom) with him. 

So often this rollercoaster life was overwhelming.  I felt like Humpty Dumpty, teetering on a fence where I could have fallen to good or bad. I understand the searing pain when trusted family and friends die or let you down. And I know how frustrating life is when nothing seems to work out. 


It’s why my faith in God and learning about Jesus has been so instrumental in uplifting me. I’ve been so lucky to have Scott and the Schladors in my life. Yet even with their presence, its taken most of my life to find the right path.

I know there are others, maybe you, who are overpowered by enormous obstacles. 

You are not alone.  

I hope my story helps you find what you need to keep going. And I’m here to tell you that no matter what’s happening in your life right now…

Please don’t quit…for tomorrow is a new day!

To learn more about Mary’s journey and what she is up to now, click here.

Mary’s personal story was written by Nancy Tossell, copywriter.