I wanted to get clean, but couldn’t figure out how to get there on my own
My husband and I looked at each other in desperation, wondering how we could get the help we needed to get off drugs and stay off them. I called various programs I found in the Yellow Pages, but we knew we couldn’t quit our jobs and afford the high prices many programs charge. Where were we to turn?
My name is Angel, and I’d been in and out of drugs since the age of 12. I had a rough childhood, with a mother who was an addict and a family member who sexually abused me. When he left the picture, I started drinking and smoking pot. I liked the way it made me feel; I’m shy and withdrawn, and the drugs and alcohol made me more outgoing. When I was 15, I started dating a 27 year old. By the time I got pregnant at 16, I was strung out really bad. I had my baby at 17 and was clean for 6 years. The baby’s dad went to prison just a year later, and I worked and took care of my son. He was my motivation to do well.
Then I met a new guy, not realizing at first that he was into drugs too. Soon we were using together. My mother got custody of my 6 year-old son, and I went through a roller coaster of periods of sobriety, followed by relapse. I always believed there was a God, thought church (which I attended here-and-there) was a good idea for some people, but I just couldn’t wrap my mind around Jesus and what He had done for me by dying on the cross.
In 2011, I found myself in a deep depression that lasted for months. I felt hopeless, worthless, and honestly believed that by taking my life I would spare the other people in my life, as I felt as though I was hurting them. I swallowed a bottle of pills, thinking I would just fall asleep and not wake up; I found myself in a tremendous amount of pain instead. I told my boyfriend what I’d done, then (while out in our driveway), I stopped breathing. He started screaming for help, which God had already arranged. A police officer “happened” to be next door. He rushed over, administered CPR, and I was taken to the hospital.
I was placed on life support and was in a coma. When I started breathing on my own two weeks later, I struggled and fought the medical care they were giving me. I was strapped down yet still pulled out the chest tubes. God spoke to me and I heard Him saying, “Be still”. I knew then with every fiber of my being that God was real and that the Jesus I had heard about was sent to redeem us. After a month and a half in the hospital, I came home with no lasting effects.
My boyfriend and I married, which created a problem as I was clean and he was not. I started using again but hid my drug use, keeping people at a distance. We both desperately wanted help, but didn’t know where to turn – until the day I came to Valley Rescue Mission’s Family Services department. We were using all our money for drugs and I came in to ask for help with food items. I picked up a brochure in the lobby there and read that there was an addiction program for women at Damascus Way Home for Women and Children, and that there was no fee. Although there is usually a waiting list, I was able to get in immediately.
I have learned a lot while here. The classes cover all the bases, including setting boundaries, finding your individual strengths, and using failure as a tool from which to grow. The staff applies examples from the Bible for all the problems we’re facing, keep me focused, and are always encouraging me. My husband too has joined the men’s program at the Howard Mott Center, and we are growing together. My goal is for us to get our own place, have my son remain with us, stay involved with a church, and for me to go on to school and have a career. I want to thank all the donors and tell you that it is a huge blessing that there is a place like this supported by people like you.