Soldier’s book shares healing experience

Published 6:50 pm Friday, January 6, 2017

Adriene Odom remembers lying awake in her bed all night, fearing for her life if she dared fall asleep next to her abuser.

Adriene Odom has written a book about her experience as a domestic abuse survivor.

Adriene Odom has written a book about her experience as a domestic abuse survivor.

She recalls quietly waking her three young sons early one morning, packing them into the car and fleeing their Danville home with $5 in her purse. She told her batterer that she was taking the boys to get haircuts — and she never returned.

In early 2007, Odom and her three sons spent 60 days in Suffolk’s Genieve Shelter, a refuge for domestic violence victims and their families. She and her kids were homeless, living out of their car and motel rooms from June 2007 to January 2008, Odom recalled.

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Her life has changed dramatically since then, said Odom, who is now a disabled Army veteran who was injured while deployed in Afghanistan.

A teen mother who never finished high school, Odom was 33 when she enlisted in the military in October 2010. Her oldest son dropped out of high school to care for the younger two while she served; he is now 24, has completed his education and is launching a clothing line. One of her other sons, now 19, has also joined the military, she noted.

Her military service helped her refocus on goals and rebuild her life, despite an accident that left her permanently disabled, Odom said.

She is poised to release a book about her life lessons, “The Making of a Soldier,” in February.

“It had gotten to the point where I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person I had become,” said Odom. “I was broken, scarred and didn’t know who I was anymore.

“In the end, I had to leave my children to see the soldier that had always been inside me grow,” she said. “After I was deployed, I realized that was where I was supposed to be.”

Military service – particularly her Afghanistan deployment — helped her find self-worth and better appreciate life and its adversities, she said.

With some encouragement from her uncle, Odom decided to share her story of survival and hope.

Although her message could have meaning for anyone, it is aimed at domestic violence victims and teenage mothers, Odom said.

“I want to tell victims never to give up on themselves or to feel like their own dreams and goals don’t matter,” she said. “I want this book to empower, encourage and uplift women who are suffering.

“I’m blessed, and I see God in every area of my life,” said Odom. “If I had not gone in the military, I would not have this story to share.”

She and her husband met during her deployment and they have a 2-year-old child.

“The Making of a Soldier” will be available of Amazon by the end of February, Odom said. It can also be ordered from her website,

Odom plans to donate copies to the Genieve Shelter, where she now volunteers, and to other local women’s shelters that will make them available to domestic violence victims for free.