Denise's Story

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When I was a very young child, something happened to cause me to be angry at the world and angry with God. I grew up carrying a secret that made me always feel lonely and scared. I was afraid if anyone knew; they would hate me or judge me. I was molested, that was my disturbing secret. As I got older, I allowed myself to be taken advantage of by ungrateful men, I didn’t feel I was worthy of anything else.

I watched my father abuse alcohol and he and my mother separated when I was 10 years old. My mom and I were not close when I was growing up, and my dad was out of the picture. I was introduced to drugs when I was 13 years old. I was able to keep my grades up and I graduated, but I had an addiction already, an addiction my family didn’t know about. I was able to do drugs when my mom was at work, or I would go to friends. At that time, we were doing crank. I believe I started to abuse it when I got into an abusive marriage.

I had my first son with a boyfriend, we broke up and I knew our relationship was not going to be reconciled. I started to date the man I married; we only dated about 5 months when he proposed. I accepted the proposal, kind of knowing what I may be getting myself in to because the abuse had already started. The cops were called numerous times, but I lied for my husband so he wouldn’t get in to trouble. I started using more to deal with the abuse. At first, my husband didn’t want me doing drugs, but eventually he preferred it. If he gave me drugs, he could go out and do whatever he wanted and I wouldn’t bother him. He was selling drugs. I was pregnant with our second child when our home was raided. That was the worst day of my life. I lost my children to the system.

I am thankful; my mom got guardianship of my daughters, and my son went with his father.  My husband did two years in prison, and was deported. The charges against me were dropped and I was released from jail with five years’ probation. I was still in my addiction during this time. I heard about Visalia Rescue Mission from my cousin. She did the program. I came to Visalia Rescue Mission in 2013. I completed the program and I lived in sober living for about two and a half years. I went back to Corcoran and I stayed sober for a while. I relapsed in 2017. I wasn’t utilizing all the tools I had gotten. I didn’t stay in contact with my mentors and my support people and I stopped going to church. I disconnected from everything.

Visalia Rescue Mission is somewhere I not only have friends, I have family. It was a safe place for me to come back to. I am learning how to deal with my anger issues, and I am learning more things that I didn’t know about myself. I’ve been through a lot of difficult circumstances while I have been here. However, I know this is where I need to be and I know that I need to be sober, I’ve stuck it out. I am trying to build a stronger relationship with God because he is my strength.

My kids have been in numerous plays with their church that I have missed because I was in my addiction. Being here at the mission, I have been able to go to my son’s plays, and I went to two church retreats with my children. I have an awesome relationship with my babies now. As I grow in my relationship with God, I’ve learned he has restored not only me but also my relationships.

I appreciate everyone that has anything to do with the Visalia Rescue Mission. I am thankful for the prayers and encouragement. I want to share one thing with you, don’t let yourself dwell in all the negative, just think of the positive because God’s going to get every person through whatever they’re going through. Just focus on him.