I was homeless, I was cold, I had nowhere to stay, and it was a really hard time for me. I was out of money and I was out of drugs, I was at the lowest point in my life and I just did not care anymore. I had no self-worth, my spirit was gone, my spirit was dead.
My Grandparents raised me. My mom was a heroin addict, I do not know my dad, but he was a drug addict as well. When I was twelve years old, my grandmother died, and then a year later my mother died. Shortly after that, my Grandpa died and I was alone. I went into the system and that is when I rebelled. My brother tried to help, but he could not control my behavior. I was passed from family member to family member, but I was a burden, I was not their child. I did not belong anywhere. The world was against me and I was against the world.
I dealt with abuse, physically and mentally at a young age. I never had a home. When I would see what other young adults had in life, it felt like a dream, it was never going to be my reality.
I have a heart condition; the abuse I put my body through using drugs and drinking had caused my heart to function at 20%. I have been at the mission more than 90 days now, and my heart is now functioning at 45%. I was near death; the doctors said I would not live more than 5 years if I kept up my lifestyle. Since I have stopped using drugs, and started asking God for help, I am healing. The mission is helping me in so many ways.
The first two weeks that I was at the Visalia Rescue Mission, the staff helped me get my birth certificate, an ID, and my social security card. I have never had all these legal documents at once. The times I would get them, I would lose them because I was in my addiction and I did not have a safe place to put them. They are helping me gain knowledge about having a job, the tools I need to have when I leave, and I am learning about the bible. The most significant way the mission is helping me is restoration. They are helping me restore my family. I have a 17-year-old daughter. For the first time ever, I was able to give her a wrapped Christmas present. She cried and told me she was proud of me. That is something I never thought I would hear.
If it was not for the Visalia Rescue Mission, I believe I would be dead. I would not be able to tell my story. God has shown me that I have a purpose in life. I can reach other people who are in the same boat I was. I put God first now, and he fills all those holes in my heart.
I believe God was always with me, always holding my hand. He even sent angels to watch over me, like my dog that was always by my side when I was on the streets. It may sound funny, but my dog is also in recovery now. She is learning to live with other dogs; she is learning rules and how to behave, she is learning just like me. I look forward to working hard each week, doing my classes, doing everything I need to so that I can see my daughter and my dog.
Just because I was once a drug addict, I do not have to be that anymore, I can be a recovering drug addict. The Visalia Rescue Mission and the Life Change Academy for women is awesome, it rocks!