My name is Shea Madden. I am 24 years old. I grew up in Amelia, Ohio. I have two sons, Carter (2 years) and Bryar (11 months). I entered Teen Challenge Cincinnati in July of 2017.
I was broken.When I came to Teen Challenge, I made the decision to step away from everything I owned to start my life over again. I didn’t realize that the void I was trying to fill needed to be filled with the Lord. I had difficulty letting go and allowing God to guide me. I was the decision maker.
My life before Teen challenge was miserable. I struggled with severe depression. Doctors would give me medication to help and temporarily, it would. But eventually, I would always fall back into the same patterns: I was depressed and discouraged. I never finished the things I started. I coped with my problems by using drugs. They made me feel happy.At seventeen,I started abusing Heroin. My life was out of control and stayed that way for the next 6 years. I went to six different, inpatient rehabs where they told me; “I was an addict and I would always be one.”
I overdosed many times. As a result of my last overdose, I lost custody of my oldest son. The pain was too much to handle.It was excruciating to not be able to see my son: to not have him in my care. My drug use got even worse. Seeking help, I went into a treatment program for medical detox and I found out that I was pregnant again. Now, I was on Suboxone and I thought I would never be able to stop using. I didn’t want my child to be born addicted to any drugs.
My friend insisted I go to Teen Challenge. I thought it was my last chance. I had already tried every other way to change my life. Everyday, I was still struggling with the decision to use or to not use drugs. God was never a part of the equation for me.
When I came into the program, I went from seeing my son every single day to only seeing him twice in two months. It was hard for me. I didn’t want to stay away from him, but I was making this choice for our future. My mom was done with me and had to protect him from my choices.
In my past, I lacked motivation. So, when I made the choice to do things differently, I started by diving into my studies at Teen Challenge. I learned to how to pray and how to forgive.I forgave myself for all the wrong things I had done in my life. With help and support, I was able to successfully detox off of Suboxone. My son Bryar was born without the weight of addiction and completely drug free. Eventually, I started to see my prayers being answered. It took time, but I knew God was working in my life. As my relationship with my mother healed, I started seeing my son every weekend. Through prayer and small steps of obedience, all of my relationships with family were being restored.
The women that work at Teen Challenge were great examples of who I wanted to be. And upon completion, I got to go home and live with my son. I graduated from the program in February of 2018. I went to live with my mom. I could finally be with Carter. Bryar was born on February 10th, 2018. He was perfectly healthy, and so was I.
Over the last year, I have accomplished a lot of my goals. I regained custody of Carter. I work 30 hours a week at Amazon. I attend Gateway Technical and Community College.
Without Teen Challenge, I know that I wouldn’t have the relationship with God or my family that I have now. I know that I wouldn’t have the ability to be a successful student and parent. I am on my way to getting my college degree and making a better life for us. I am thankful for Teen Challenge Cincinnati and all of the tools they gave me.