My childhood can easily be characterized as normal. I come from a great family that loves me and is invested in my life. I was an active young person and enjoyed sports. I was social and always had plenty of friends. As I transitioned from childhood into early adulthood, I developed a more rebellious spirit. At the age of 20, I began to experiment with opiate pain
medications and I became addicted.
For the first couple of years, I thought I was managing my addiction and keeping it a secret from my friends and family. It wasn’t until I got pregnant with my son that I realized that my life had spiraled out of control. I was a full-blown heroin addict at that point. I was abusing drugs on a daily basis and without my notice, 6 years had escaped by. I spent much of that time in and out of jail, rehab, and sober living homes, often being kicked out for breaking one rule or another. I had an authority problem.
One afternoon, after being released from another facility…I prayed for an answer. God must have known: this wasn’t just another meaningless attempt to be “Okay” for a few minutes. He HEARD my cry. Within hours, my parents called and my prayers were answered. I was offered an opportunity. I was invited by my family to go to Teen Challenge.
When I arrived, I was overwhelmed. I was fearful of opiate detox and I was uncertain if I was going to make it through the physical withdrawal. I didn’t sleep much for the first 7 or 8 days, as my mind and body began the difficult healing process. Sticking it out was the best decision I’ve made in my life, even though I tried to give up and leave on more than one occasion. I am grateful for the people who fought for me (and with me) and those who encouraged me to stay.
In the beginning, I struggled a lot. I had control issues. I was a bully to another girl in the house, because I was completely insecure. I had done terrible things to the people who loved me the most and I struggled with my identity because of it. Battling with insecurity was my biggest challenge before TCC. I didn’t know my own value. I hid behind sarcastic humor and a ton of makeup.
Contract studies required me to read books that I never would have read otherwise. These books stirred up so many questions. I began to ask and to seek the Lord for myself. I was pointed to the story of, “The Widow’s Offering.”
“Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything— all she had to live on.” -Mark 12:41-44
I wanted to be a woman willing to give God everything she had. I made a connection, I knew I didn’t have much to offer, but I could offer ALL that I DID have. At that moment, things which never made much sense began to open up to me. I continued to study and to pray. Through my studies, I began to see how God restored relationship with us through personal sacrifice, through His Son. These truths became personal, real and living. I reached back for Jesus… My perspective began to shift.
As an act of love and obedience, I put my heart into my relationship with God. I started to REALLY pray for the wisdom to understand what I was learning: not just so I could understand it, but so I could LIVE it. Nothing has been the same since…
After graduating from Teen Challenge Cincinnati, I go to church and I am growing in my faith. My family is restored. My relationship with Jesus is something that I hold dear to my heart and value. I am married and
together, Brad and I have 4 adorable children. We are raising them in a Christian home and teaching them the Bible. I love my job at the day spa. I volunteer at the Women’s Home and give back what was so freely given to me.
I am forever grateful and thankful to be the woman God always had in mind when He made me. Today, I am no longer the woman that I was: lost and hiding. I am a child of God. I have value. I am no longer a slave
to addiction. I am all in.