Amanda's Story

I was deep in my addiction before I got here. I’ve been here before. I graduated the program 6 years ago. I stayed clean for about 2 years, but I went back out.

What caused my relapse was: I got pregnant. I had a 30% chance of getting pregnant and I did. But I lost her at 5 and a half months. I got mad at God and began a downward spiral. I was deep in my addiction. 

When I didn’t want to live anymore. Becky from VRM reached out to me and said “come home”. I made a beeline for safety and I knew this place was safety. 

Amanda & Becky (VRM's Women's Ministry Director)

Amanda & Becky (VRM's Women's Ministry Director)

I’m going to do things differently than before and stay connected the way I should have the first time. What feels different this time is that I’m going to work on my relationship with God.

I’m learning that I don’t need to always drive. I need to sit in the passenger seat. Letting go of control is hard for me. I’ve always had control of my life; letting go is hard to do, but also comforting. 

My family is all clean and sober now. But growing up, my dad was gone. My mom was deep in her addiction. She put me through a lot and I blamed her for everything. I have abandonment issues because of my mom leaving. I always chased her and wondered why she kept leaving me. She’d always leave me and I was angry at my mom.

But there’s been a lot of healing in our relationship over the years. For a long time I was angry, but things are healing and are only going to get better and I know that’s all been because of God.

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.