Photo by Nicole Tarpoff
I was raised in a divided home. My dad was a party guy and drank a lot. My mom dragged us to church every Sunday and Wednesday, but was very angry. Her life didn’t end up the way she expected, and there was a very disappointing feel in our home most of the time. Growing up I thought I would much rather be like dad because he was having much more fun. He was eventually hurt at his job in the coal mine and there was no financial help for us after that. My mom worked with a direct sales company to make ends meet, and this meant I spent more time with my dad and we got even closer. After my dad got hurt, he got depressed. My mom began to resent him even more because he wasn’t providing for our family.
I was a good kid and made good grades, but I always compared myself to others. In high school, I pulled away from the good group of girls, and started hanging out with a different crowd. When I was 15 I took my first drink of alcohol and it was like I couldn’t go back to being good. My view of God was that He was harsh and you had to be perfect to come to Him. I felt like I had destroyed being able to be loved by Him, so I began a downhill spiral. When I was 17, I was in a car accident and got my first prescription for pain pills, and things quickly got out of control.
I used the MRI I had from the car accident as the “proof” I needed to get pain pills. I graduated with honors from high school and then went to college. When I was 19, I met a man at a bar and after knowing him nine days I dropped out of college and moved to Columbus to move in with him. I thought I was okay through all of this. I was using drugs daily, even though I had a job as a dental assistant. I lived with the man four years and the relationship was very abusive. His main source of income was selling drugs, and that became a big part of my life too. His mom died and she lived in Kentucky. So, we moved to Kentucky and were living in a car for six months. When it started getting cold out, I went back to my mom’s home. The man died a few months later.
After he died I started getting in a lot more trouble. The next year and a half I worked on and off at a gas station. I became an IV drug user and then could not function. It was then that I realized that I really had a problem. I could no longer hold down a job. I started stealing and getting arrested. In 2010, I was in a really bad car wreck and the money to pay my medical bills came to me and I kept the money. I became worse than I had ever been. I got arrested and then got a DUI and went to court. The prosecutor said, “I’m going to make sure you do a year in jail if you don’t get help for your addiction.” My mom stepped in and talked me into doing drug detox. On December 2, 2010, a residential Christian addiction recovery program opened in my town and I began my journey to recovery there.
I was really scared. I didn’t know if I would ever have a sound mind again. I had racing thoughts. I would read and not recall anything I had read. Things just didn’t click. I had been intelligent in school and it was terrifying to think I may not ever be able to function normally again. But it kept getting better. I can remember the first time I could remember a scripture verse and write it without going back to look at it. I finished the program and was offered and accepted a job at the Christian addiction recovery center I had attended. Eventually, I went back to college and finished my degree in psychology.
Recently, God has helped me discover more about who I really am. I have transitioned from working at the Christian addiction recovery center to a career in business, but there is still a lot of ministry involved in my job which I truly enjoy. I’ve discovered that I thrive in leadership, especially when I am provided opportunities to encourage and inspire people.
God is so good and so loving and always working things out for good even when we don’ know what He is doing. He never left me through all of the dark days of drug addiction. He was there every step of the way, calling me back to Him. I am so grateful for the changes He has brought about in my life . . . and I am most grateful for His love.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.