Cheryl Testimony

I was born and raised in Crawfordsville. I grew up an only child in a loving home with my mother and father. Although I was an only child, I did not feel alone. I had plenty of neighborhood friends who were like brothers and sisters to me. I spent a lot of time with my mom and dad. They included me in their vacations and they never left me out of their activities or pushed me away. I had a very good relationship with both of my parents. My mother had a spunky personality and my dad always encouraged me to strive for more. He was an intelligent business man who loved animals. Even though I didn’t always apply his lessons well, he made me feel loved. I could often be found on the outskirts at my uncles house playing with our horses and dogs.
 
I was an A, B, C student in school and an active member on the cheerleading squad. It motivated me to keep my grades up. I always believed in God, but didn’t have much knowledge about him growing up. We would thank him at family gatherings and my mother and I occasionally went to church. After football games, my friends and I would meet up and drink for fun but I never thought it could be a problem.
 
After graduation I went to work at Plastenes in Crawfordsville, where I ran the injection molder. I was content there for 14 years until they closed down. It wasn’t long after that I entered in to my first marriage at age 21. That lasted for 9 years. There was nothing horrible about our marriage, except that I felt neglected and alone. After we divorced, I was sure I would never marry again. That outlook didn’t last. My next marriage was good for a few years. But it wasn’t long before I saw that he was abusive and unfaithful. I blamed myself at the time because I thought I must have done something wrong. That was the start of my lowest point.
 
I used alcohol to cope with the depression and I was working a lot of overtime to escape my reality. I thought drinking would make everything go away but it didn’t. I was trying to keep my mind off of it all but it’s difficult because we lived in a small town and he was harsh. We lived only two blocks away from each other. I got my first DUI around this time but I did not think much of it. It was just another thing I had to deal with. But it didn’t cause me to stop drinking and driving. My 3 closest friends knew that I was struggling and they tried encouraging me. However, that only went so far because they weren’t in my shoes. I still felt alone. It took me a long time to get over that. During this time, I felt disappointment towards the world. I was disappointed because things had not turned out the way I always thought they would. This is when things started going downhill.
 

I would drink to fix the problem but when I woke up, the problem was still there.

 

I started working at a bar, where I didn’t feel bothered by the alcohol. However, I ended up getting another DUI. The judge continued allowing me to work at the bar as long as I took screens for probation. I was still young and dumb and just thought, “here I go again.” I still didn’t think I had a problem then. You tell yourself it isn’t going to happen again. The amount of time between my offenses and the fact that I had went almost two years sober only added to the delusion that I had control. But I was still holding on to a lot of anger and resentment. My ex tried coming back into my life around this time. He kept filling my head with lies and false hope. My life with him was even worse the second time and I finally decided I wasn’t going back. I just kept running to my job to fill the time but it was not fulfilling me. I was getting burnt out from all of the overtime hours I was taking.
 
In 2015, I got another DUI. I remained sober on house arrest. On house arrest, I married my husband. We had known each other since we were young. He never lied or cheated and put me before himself. He was always concerned about me and wanted the best for me. I wasn’t really used to that in relationships. We were both on house arrest, so we could only hang out 3-6 hours once a week at first. We would ride his Harley and go to cookouts. He made me feel comfortable, like I could talk to him about anything. I didn’t have to worry about abuse for my feelings and we could relate to each other. I didn’t feel judged. He never put me down for anything.
 
Unfortunately, I violated probation by drinking again. Because of my decisions, I was sent to jail for six months. Jail sucked. There was no one in there I bonded with. I knew I was in jail because of my own fault. I felt bad because of the time I had lost with my family and my husband. Then, in jail my lawyer told me about Through The Gate. He told me about how he had sent two other girls there before. From what he heard and experienced, he said it was a better place to go than the other places he checked out. Despite his positive ideas, I was pretty sure I was going to prison because the judge was against it.
 
My judge was saying rehabilitation programs don’t work. She wanted me to serve a 3 year prison sentence. When I heard this, I was terrified. I kept thinking she was going to reject our request for rehab because she kept looking at the papers my lawyer wrote and shaking her head. But once she agreed, my lawyer said, “hurry, sign these papers real quick before she changes her mind” The judge said to me “do your 8 months on ankle bracelet and good luck with your life”.

 
I weighed my options. I could go to Through The Gate, where I would have freedom, see daylight, and learn about God…or I could go to prison. Rehab sounded much better. I went to court at 1 and got out after 3, not in time for intake at TTG. So, I was transported by the jail first thing the next morning. I arrived at Through The Gate in shackles. When we pulled up I was filled with fear because of all the uncertainty. It beat pulling up at prison though. By ringing the buzzer I scared everyone who was asleep. The first person I met was Tisha, and then Amanda and Eunice (who I was in jail with). We sat at the table and talked, they offered me food and made me feel welcome.
 
This program has improved my relationship with Christ. I had always believed in God, but I learned a lot more being here than what I knew before. One thing I have learned is not to get so angry about things.


                    God gave me a peace and calm within myself.

Before coming here, I had a bad attitude and was very irritable. My family has noticed my temper is better and that I am more encouraging even to them. I am glad that I came to Through The Gate, I would recommend women to come here. I have seen what it has done for other girls in the house. And I’ve seen girls from other programs and they are not doing so good. I hope that the girls that are doing the program now get a peace of mind and change of life. Once I graduate I look forward to getting a job with a new perspective on work. I want to spend my pay check on good things that build up my marriage. I also have friends and family ready to be my support system.
 
I want to thank my family and the program in general. Thank you for all of your support and help.

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