I started to dabble in drugs when I was in my early 20’s. It started off with me smoking marijuana and then I was introduced to prescription pills. Pills became my go-to very quickly. I learned from taking various pills that I could numb myself so that I didn’t have to feel the things in life that I did not want to deal with. They numbed my feelings and my emotions. After having my 2 boys at the ages of 24 and 26, my life really started to spiral out of control. I was going through a divorce and didn’t really know how to be alone. I started letting people in my life that I shouldn’t have. I had my daughter at the age of 31 and 6 weeks after giving birth to her I was arrested on charges of dealing a controlled substance. I had sold pills to someone who was a confidential informant. I was sentenced to 6years with the Indiana Department of Corrections. I felt like my world had just came to an end when I was given that sentence. I did my time and got out when my daughter was 3yrs old.
Life was going good for a few years. In February of 2014, I married my wonderful husband. He’s involved with church and works all the time: having the same job for numerous years. I thought this is it, life is going to continue to be great but as with any marriage, we had our ups and downs. With me not ever learning ways to deal with things, I did what I knew best:
I let my addiction creep back into my life to help me deal with things that I didn’t know how to deal with, to numb the pain and emotions. My children were older at this point and my relationship with them became rocky. I had several arrests at this point but still wasn’t ready for the help. I honestly didn’t think that I had a problem because the pills were prescribed to me and I wasn’t getting them off the streets like I had in the past. My attitude towards other people was horrible. Others tried holding me accountable but I just was not having it. It always ended up in arguments and screaming matches between my children, my husband and my children’s father. I lied to get my way, I never did any wrong, I was selfish and only thought of myself and not what my actions and behaviors were doing to the ones who loved me the most. I didn’t have a good relationship with anyone at this point and I hated my life.
I always felt alone, I always felt like nobody really truly cared, I had trust issues and I was not happy with life one bit. Depression was deep and although I had been to secular counseling I didn’t trust them and just told them what they wanted to hear. I knew deep down that I needed to get help, but I was always so worried about what others would think of me, not stopping and realizing that my actions were already causing people to look at me in a negative way, and admitting that you need help is a tough one to swallow. In April and September of 2018 I got arrested once again. As I sat in that jail cell something came over me and told me that it was time to just give in, give up and get help. So I called my husband from the jail to tell him that I was finally ready to get the help that I so desperately needed. When I was able to say those words to my husband it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
In October, I was accepted at Through the Gate. I had heard of the place but didn’t know much about it. When I got sentenced in December, the judge allowed me to come to TTG. Although extremely nervous, I finally felt some hope for my future: that things could finally start looking up for me! The first in a very long time. When I arrived it was very intimidating because I had stopped going to church when I became a teen. Then my husband got me back into church, although I was not applying Gods word to my life. In part, because I didn’t understand what I was reading and hearing and was too afraid to ask questions. But I knew if I was going to succeed in this program then I needed to put my worries behind me. In order for me to grow, I had to learn that God was in control. Being pushed out of my comfort zone was all part of growing! Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” I had to learn early on in the program how to do this.
Trusting in the Lord was a hard thing to learn because I had never really trusted anyone in my life. So now I had to learn how to trust in someone that I couldn’t even see. As I started to get into the program, I began to understand Gods word and what it meant. I was seeing Gods blessings in other people’s lives around me and I wanted that. I wanted some of those same blessings. I began to see just how selfish and prideful that I was. It opened my eyes to a lot of different things in the way I treated people and acted towards others. I was definitely living in my fleshy desires of the world and I no longer wanted to be that way. I wanted to walk by the Spirit. I wanted to bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I had seen these things in people and thought that could never be me. But as the Lord continued to work, I started to see these things take place in my life. I saw how serving others felt satisfying to me when I was always chasing things of this world to give that same exact feeling.
I learned how to communicate with others without attacking them, which was always a problem for me. Now I can communicate and set healthy boundaries and not feel bad about it. I have been given the strength to rid the people of my life that are no longer healthy for me. God has replaced those people with ones that genuinely care for my well-being and love me; ones that want to see me succeed, help me continue to grow as a person and in my walk with the Lord. The past 20 years of my life have been full of ups and downs. Never one time did I think that I would be where I am today but here I am, a new creation! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here”. Today my relationship with the Lord is so much stronger than it was just 8 months ago. I have learned to lean on Him: not just in the easy times but the hard times too. I may not always get the outcome in situations that I had hoped for, but I now know that it’s all in His plan and I have to trust in that.
My relationship with my children, my husband and my family is stronger, healthier and happier. I give all the praise to the Lord for all the work that he has done in my life, and continues to do in my life, always giving me the desire to want to do better! To my children, husband, and my parents, thank you all for being who you are: for being so much stronger than I ever could be. Thank you for never turning your back on me. Thank you for believing in me when all I saw was darkness. Thank you for never losing hope. You all gave me the courage to vow to myself each and every day to do better today than the day before. Thank you for the tough love and the honesty that you have given me over the past years but most importantly these past 8 months. You are my gifts from God and I will continue to treat our relationship as so, I love you all so much.
Nikki, God brought you back in my life to help me through the darkness that had taken over my life. You have taught me that I have a story and that my story matters. More so, you have taught me that other people need my story. You inspire me to be the best version of myself. You have taught me so many things and I want to thank you. Thank you for inspiring me in life, thank you for making me want to be a better person. Thank you for always understanding. You never judged me. You accepted me. And your open-mindedness and compassionate heart always comforted me. Thank you for being you. I just love you.
Steve and Janet, God knew what a handful I was! He knew I was going to need a second set of parents in my life so He placed you both in my life. I can never thank you for all that you both have done in my life and continue to do. You have given your lives to serve people like me. You have sacrificed so much to help others and myself get our lives together when we couldn’t do it on our own. Thank you for challenging me and then helping me live a life of meaning and purpose. Thank you for seeing what I could be through the power of Jesus Christ and not just what I was. Thank you for demonstrating grace, love and patience. Thank you for always believing in me and allowing me to continue to be a part of this amazing journey with TTG. I will always be forever grateful for all that you have shown me and taught me. I love you both. Lindsay, Morgan, and Bella: you all are excellent examples of how I want to be and live. Thank you for being such wonderful friends and sisters in Christ. I appreciate all your love, kindness, and support. You both inspired me during a difficult time when I needed words of encouragement. You don’t even know how much your help meant to me. Few people have the privilege of having such supportive and loving friends and I’m beyond lucky to have that from all of you. I’m truly grateful from the bottom of my heart that God placed you ladies in my life and gave me the special gift of our friendship. Thank you for just being who you are. I love you so much!