I was born September1997 in the midst of my mother’s addiction. While she was out making poor choices, my little brother and I lived with my grandparents in Greencastle. It was a good environment to grow up in. My grandparents were wonderful people and brought us up in the church. Their home was a safe place and everybody always ended up back there After learning that my grandma wanted to adopt us, my mother hit rock bottom. She got her life together and moved in with us as a teachers aid. We were one big happy family.
At the same time my mom came home, my birth father stepped out of the picture. Our relationship was only kept alive by my mom and grandma, who decided to stop. He had always been irresponsible and ended up choosing to live a homosexual lifestyle out of state. I wouldn’t see him again until adulthood. But knowing that he didn’t want me was the beginning of my identity as a worthless person.
My mother married my step dad when I was about 11. I absolutely loved it, we had a real father again and life was good. The two of them are still together today. But after my mom went in the hospital for a weight loss surgery revision, everything changed. She got really sick and was hospitalized for a year. We only got to see her a couple of times and her absence took a toll on both my brother and I.
We were staying with different people and longing for our mother. I had to grow up fast to take on the responsibility of caring for my little brother. He needed me to be someone he could look up to: helping him deal with his feelings and keep up on his school work. So I learned to cover up my emotions and be strong. But I did not deal with those emotions in a healthy way. I started smoking pot and my life took a drastic turn for the worse. In order to release everything inside, I started self-harming by cutting my wrists. It was something spur of the moment that I could control. I wanted to feel loved and accepted so I started sleeping around with guys. On top of that, suppressed anger over the abandonment of my father was turning into depression and bitterness. I just wanted answers.
My first dangerous relationship began as a teenager and began my life with hardcore drugs. At this point I was already blaming God for everything. From my perspective, I deserved every bit of abuse I got. After all, not even my own father wanted me. I endured this for a year, hiding my addiction from my family. I told myself that they had more important things to deal with. The abuse even surfaced in school, where I was getting bullied every day. They were shoving me around, calling me fat, mooing at me and shoving my hand in lockers. My self-esteem was bad enough and that just tore it down the rest of the way. Finally, my mom thought things would get better if we moved schools.
At 17, I felt I was somewhat back on track. I was attending a private Christian school and doing what needed to be done. There was still bullying, but at least it was not physical. The pretty girls always tried to make you feel like crap. By my senior year I was filled with hate. After getting falsely accused and suspended, I never went back. I believed in God but I couldn’t understand why He would let horrible things happen and I chose to deny Him. If He could let bad things happen, I felt He wasn’t worth my time. I moved out of the house and started partying. There was nothing but drinking and smoking pot for 6 straight months. I was doing things I’m not proud of for men so again, trying to be liked because that was most important thing to me. I thought being liked would boost my self-esteem and I was caught up in people pleasing.
It wasn’t long before I was living with a guy who I thought I was in love with. He was sober but very mentally abusive. If I didn’t do what he wanted when he wanted it, he would threaten to go after my family. I was trapped in that relationship and creating distance from my family. I thought I deserved it so I couldn’t explain to them what was happening. In my eyes he was wonderful. After coming to my senses, I moved back in to grandmas. I told you, everyone always ended up back there. I thought I was doing great for a couple of months: getting into a routine, staying away from bad people, staying sober and focused. But then I made the mistake of hanging out with old friends again. The thrill of getting away with doing wrong drew me back into the chaos. Everything I was told I couldn’t do, I wanted to do. My addiction got worse than ever before.
I started injecting drugs and made friends with the wrong person. She left me in a man’s apartment and they shot me up with heroin. After I passed out, the men proceeded to carry me out to my car and drove off with me in the backseat. When I woke up we were in Indianapolis and they were selling drugs out of my car. They said they would keep me high but that I couldn’t leave. And I was ok with that at first because all I wanted was the drugs. But when they ran out of people to buy my nightmare began. They took me at gun point and said it was time for me to make some money. I wasn’t sure at first what that meant but we showed up to a real trashy run down motel and I was dragged from the vehicle. They shot me up again and I couldn’t move.
The next thing I know they were taking pictures and men were coming in and out having sex with me while they stood in the corner with their gun out. I was there for a while until they took me out in the car one day and I got so paranoid from being high that I jumped out of the car. They drove around and told me to get back in but I refused. They said if I told anyone they would find me. So I ran to the nearest store and called the police. I told them that there was someone in my car that was swinging around a gun and they didn’t believe me because I was high. They told me my option was to go get a medical exam. I was scared to go to the hospital because I was high and didn’t want to get in trouble or arrested, so I walked away. For two days I walked around not knowing where I was.
I met a guy in the middle of the night while wandering the street and I had sex with him for a place to stay and for more drugs. The next day an old man let me use his phone so I called my grandmother to come and get me. I ended up in a psychiatric ward of Saint Vincent stress center because I said I wanted to kill myself. I hated it there because it was not what I needed. I needed someone to talk to and they only wanted to give me medicine. Following another drug spree, I tried to jump off a bridge and ended up in the stress center again. It wasn’t what I needed.
A 30 day rehab took me in and I thought everything was going to work out. I then stayed sober about 4 months and moved in with a guy, where we started drinking a lot. He was an alcoholic. This led to a violation of probation and 15 days in jail. With all the drugs that were snuck in, I ended up coming out higher then I went in. That caused my next strip of being high. At the same time my mom and step dad were fighting bad and my mom became an alcoholic and didn’t see that I was high because she was messed up herself. I then went crazy rebellious and had sex with a lot of guys and then I met my next boyfriend. After three days of being high together we thought we were in love. Drugs they make u think crazy things. I was with him for about 2 months when I found out I was pregnant. We were on cloud 9, thought he was it and we were going to be a happy family.
But we shattered everything and we were going to stop. I then found out that the child wasn’t his and that I got pregnant before I got with him. He promised to stay anyways. When I thought we were both only smoking pot I caught him sneaking around and getting high. I was very mad at him but I gave him another chance. But not long after, I relapsed on meth with him. I discovered he had a warrant after we got pulled over and he went to jail. I had his car and I immediately went to the needle. I went crazy for about a month or two I don’t really remember but I was having random hookups because you can’t get pregnant again. That was my thinking.
I was selling drugs and almost got caught one day that’s the it clicked and I decided to go home. Being sober, I was able to get my own apartment was doing well babysitting with my mother. I was sober throughout the rest of my pregnancy up until my 21st birthday. I wasn’t ready to give up being high yet though. My best friend and I started going to the bar. First freedom I had had since my son was born. Then it was lets drink again and I could never have enough until I just left my son at my moms and took off.
I relapsed hard for a couple weeks then I came home and apologized. Moved in with my grandparents again to repeat the cycle of getting clean and finding work. But with my first paycheck I started getting high. I would miss work to buy some and act like I went to work come home and fake sleep and leave to get high again. Until I took off in the car and didn’t come back. Again I left my son with my family and I was gone for two and a half weeks going crazy until I got arrested. While in jail for 68 days, I decided I would go to rehab when I got out. That landed me in the half way home. I was there almost three months when I decided I would leave after gettingin trouble for cigarettes there. It was just another excuse to get high. I was legally required to finish that program so I immediately had a warrant. I was on the run for a month and sought refuge and my grandmas.
I had heard about Through The Gate at halfway home, where the ladies thought it would be a better place for me. My grandma researched it online and I filled out the application. While waiting to get accepted, I went everywhere trying to get admitted for the meantime: to stay sober. The first day I got there I was scared and quiet. It was new and I was having a lot of second thoughts about it. It was going to be a long time and I was going to miss my son. I knew I couldn’t control my addiction though because I had tried everything and failed. There was a little bit of fear about changing my life and what it was going to be like. This chaos was all I knew. I also knew there was a lot of things I had done that people would judge me for. And I was terrified of confronting my past.
At first, I just wanted to get everything done in hopes of getting out early. I was going stir crazy because everyone was just telling me to ‘be still’. Then I started forming bonds with other residents who were helping me understand what it meant to be still and listened to me, encouraging me with scripture. I started getting into my classes. I learned things about faith I never knew, even after growing up in church I never knew about sanctification. I learned how to defend my faith, to back it up, and that I could make friends that were good influences. People who I thought were better than me turned out to be like me and not judgmental.
It took almost 4 months before I started recognizing my own sin, I even packed my bags to leave a couple of times prior. It took me a while to realize people took me as a harsh person who comes off strong. I thought that I was being super nice but people were intimidated by me. My view of God has changed a lot. I realize God is not to blame for the sin of the world, and that everything that I have been through could be used as a tool to bring people to faith. I am still trying to seek the Lord. I’ve grown closer to Him and have a better understanding of who He is after the program. There’s an overall feeling of not being alone and I don’t have to try so hard to be liked.
I learned about my habit of people pleasing and how it showed up in everything that I’d been doing. So I don’t have to get anxious over other people’s opinions or labels because I am made in God’s image. Knowing that there’s someone in control over all existence, who cares enough to do everything He’s done, has meant everything.
After being graduated a few months, I have encountered some difficulty putting what I have learned into practice. Then the seclusion from Corona was a real struggle for me. But after experiencing the Lord’s presence at TTG and seeing that my life is better with Him, I have found strength. Knowing that I can help my son achieve that relationship with God also keeps me motivated. I hope to continue growing in my walk with Christ by continuing to study and strengthen my convictions. I want to view exposure of my sin as a good thing instead of getting offended. My advice to the women in the program is to stick with it, even when it’s hard. It’s worth the wait and the struggle.
I would like to thank everyone that is involved at TTG because if it wasn’t for them doing what they are doing, I never would have seen the light or be changed. I never would have learned the truth or seen an example of what God can do in someone’s life. I’d also like to thank my family for not quitting, for sticking with me through my stubbornness and caring for my son. And even though my grandpa is not around I want to thank him for always believing in me and being there for me every time I screwed up.
I’d like to end with my life verse, 2COR4:16-18: 16 which says,” So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
This verse gives hope and says the things of this life are just temporary. It’s the things not of this world that last forever. No matter what I go through in this life, it’s worth it in the end. It isn’t just for nothing.