Sarah Testimony

Before I came to Through The Gate, I struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was born in Logansport on December 15th and have remained an only child ever since. My parents were married in the beginning but I don’t remember a whole lot. It was mostly a blur of constant change and relocation. My mom was somewhat closed off and avoided confrontation, including anything that would agitate our relationship. We were more like friends than mother and daughter. I think it is safe to say that I never truly had any guidance. No one was telling me wrong from right. There was no role model setting healthy boundaries, disciplining me or pushing me to achieve more.
 
My parents divorced twice in my youth. In second grade while my dad was at work, my mom decided to leave my father. Before he had time to react, our things were packed and she took me with her. She had a lot of boyfriends and because of this we were constantly moving from place to place. My dad tried keeping the relationship alive during all of this but it never worked out. In 9th grade my mom decided to move to Michigan. My dad didn’t want me to go, so  I made the choice to live with him instead. My father always expressed having faith in God but he did not have a lot of knowledge of God’s Word. So, I didn’t learn much about Christianity growing up. He had taken me to church a few times when I was much younger, but that was all the exposure I had.


 
                 I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t depressed.

 

Whether it was circumstantial, clinical, or what, I never knew for sure. But I started drinking at age 15 with a troublesome circle of friends. It started out as something I did for fun whenever I could get away with it. And in school, I was merely passing with the bare minimum amount of effort. My parents only showed mild disapproval and always gave me the benefit of the doubt, never wishing to cast their daughter in a negative light.
 
During my junior year of high school, my 3 best friends moved away one after the other: including my boyfriend who cheated on me beforehand. I felt abandoned and lonely and could hardly bare to get up for school. That year, I decided to drop out because of my depression. I had no relationship with God during this time of loss. I might have talked to Him a time or two but I didn’t really know Him or understand the gospel. I was not familiar with His promises and faithfulness.
 
I went on trying to suppress my problems by drinking excessively. All I really cared about was how I was going to get money for another bottle. I tried going to IVY Tech twice, switching majors from teaching, to accounting, to business before my lifestyle got the best of me. I wound up missing a lot of classes and flunked out both times Then in 2008 I met Zach. He was the man I thought I was going to be with forever. We had a baby boy named Cameron in 2010, but six months into my pregnancy I went into labor and our child did not survive. We were both completely devastated. We had already been regular partiers but after that, it became a coping mechanism for us both. Then in 2011 Zach was stabbed to death by a 15 year old boy. In the midst of this, I received news that my grandfather had passed away as well. The feeling of loss and abandonment came rushing back stronger than before. I was lonelier than ever.
 
At this point I was constantly drinking. It went on that way for almost a decade. I entered in to an abusive relationship with a mutual friend of Zach’s. We found comfort in each other after his death. I clung to that relationship through the darkest valleys. And because of my mother’s pattern of constant dating, I learned to idolize relationships. After that, I entered into a new unhealthy relationship with an old friend who came back into my life. He did everything he said he would never do. While I was pregnant with our daughter, I quit drinking but he continued using drugs and cheating. It only took one time of using down the road which lead me into a pit again. He sold my vehicles to feed his habit, I lost my job, and these damaging patterns progressed. Until finally, after two years of this we separated. He is now in prison.
 
Then I returned to an old relationship where we were drinking and getting into physical fights. He tore me down every chance he got. We got our own place, but our addictions got wildly out of hand. The house was a disaster. It was deemed unsafe by child protective services, we were labeled unfit, and my daughter was given into her grandma’s custody. While I was determined to get better so that I could have my daughter back, I did well at staying sober. But after legal guardianship was turned over, I figured I didn’t have my daughter so why try? When Zach’s birthday came around, we started drinking again. It was our custom to celebrate it that way but it lead to a downward spiral.
 
Soon after that relationship ended, I got a job at Tyson’s in Logansport. After work everybody would meet up at the bar, which added to my problems. It was only 6 months before I lost that job too. I was able to find employment again at Indiana Packers in Delphi and that is where I met my husband. I was drawn to his sense of humor and the fact that we didn’t have a past together. But one day, he took me on a trip and I discovered he had his own addiction. He told me not to watch while he did it, but I found out it was heroin. I didn’t know anything about that at the time. He had his problem, we both drank to excess and have struggled together for 3 years.
 
In 2017 we got married. He got sober for the first time in 10 years and it lasted for about 8 months. We got our own place and he started working a lot. During this time, I was still struggling with substance abuse and was not being a very good wife. I think my choices and the pressures of trying to stay sober on his own will power was too much. He ended up relapsing and everything fell apart. We  had to cancel the court-date for guardianship and he began writing bad checks to support his habit. I was so discouraged and storing up anger in my heart. Because of our addictions we lost our house and had to move in with my mom. It was there where he got arrested for failing probation and was sentenced to prison.
 
It just got worse for me after that. I didn’t know how to handle everything. I stayed in bed all the time and fell deeper and deeper into despair. I became irate after a two week binge and got into a fight with our neighbor for trying to take a bottle. It resulted in property damage and I finally realized I needed to get help. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Ten years of trying to stay sober always failed. I wasn’t strong enough. I was finally willing to try to do something different from what I had always done before.
 
My dad heard about Through The Gate through some associations with Trinity Life Ministries and told me about it. He left it up to me to decide if I wanted to go and offered to pay for it. I was worried they were going to force God on me in a way that would turn me away. But I really wanted to learn more about the Lord and for something to work. But I was so scared. I didn’t have much of a criminal background, never spend any time in jail, and had never been to ra rehab program of any kind. I was used to my own little comfort zone and have never even been out of state. So, I had no idea what to expect but I was definitely afraid of failing again. Plus, at the time 8 months seemed like forever. I applied and waited about two weeks before I was accepted into Through The Gate. The transition was difficult. For the first few days, I just cried unexplainably and couldn’t stop. I had never dealt with my emotions or anything else really. I never had to or really even cared to. It was easier to drown it out. Responsibility and structure were strange and scary.

 
   The entire experience has been overall the best thing that has ever happened to me.

 

I would have always said that I believed in God before and I did have a sense of what was right. But being here at Through The Gate has taught me so much about God’s Word. The biblical counseling class taught me about communication. I’ve learned to take my thoughts captive. I have a tendency to overthink everything and I have learned that all my thoughts are not as relevant or urgent as they feel. I have become excited about God’s plan for marriage. I have learned that the role of a husband is to lead and the wife to submit, that respecting him is the way to practice love, and that the husband is supposed to love the wife with sacrificial love: the way that Christ loves the church. My husband and I have been doing a bible study together and I look forward to implementing these new principals into my marriage.
 
I have a new outlook on motherhood which has changed my relationship to my daughter. I realize now how important it is to disciple my her and how significant I could be in bringing her to God. I just want her to learn at a young age so that she can grow up knowing what I didn’t know. In my life, I had always done something to lose the people close to me or they just left me. I struggled with loss and feeling abandoned and lonely for so long. But maybe God takes them because I idolized them. Maybe it was the Lord pursing my heart. I want my daughter to know that God is there for her. I want her to have that best friend when nobody is around, to know that she is never alone.
 
I just want to thank God for His sovereignty and everybody that has anything to do with Through The Gate. I’m so grateful for Bella for being there for me. And Morgan and Lindsay for being good friends and role models. I want to thank Aurora and Jason for counseling me. I know that isn’t easy. I am grateful for my father for sticking with me through my failures. And I want to especially thank Steve and Janet for the whole program and how much they put into it. For how much they pour into our lives and how much they love us. You have all put me in my place when I needed it.
 
And to the ladies going through the program now, I would like to say that no matter how you feel or what you think, God can pull you through it. I don’t know ho wmany times I thought a certain way and had the wrong perspective, just for the purpose to later be revealed or good to come from it. It is worth it!

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