Stories Of Hope
Since the mid 1980s, Adult & Teen Challenge WA has seen hundreds of men and women’s lives transformed. Transformation happens because of the partnership of donors, the faithfulness of those who serve on the Adult & Teen Challenge WA teams and the determination of the students themselves to succeed.
Real transformation can only occur when someone really wants to change.
We love to share stories of transformation but we are also mindful that the people involved have real lives, families — and a bright future. It is why we only use first names and ensure that while sharing some specific details in the story, that we do not inadvertently give away people’s identity. It is for this reason that we rarely use actual photos of the person involved online.
Whenever we do share a story, it is always verified and told with the ongoing consent of the person, or people, involved.
Our hope is that you are as encouraged as we are about the transformation that comes about as a result of the ongoing work of Adult & Teen Challenge WA.
I grew up in a non-Christian home with a lot of pain and brokenness. My parents fought a lot and eventually divorced when I was around 9. They also had a bitter custody battle over my siblings and me, and the Court finally had us alternate between my parents on a weekly basis.
I left my family when I was 15 and was homeless, sleeping on my friends’ couches and other places. Then a wonderful mother figure took me into her home, and the whole family treated me as one of their own. I lived with them for a few years until I started my excessive drinking and partying.
I began getting depressed and a bit suicidal by 17, drinking on school nights instead of doing homework. I was also struggling with my self-image, and my substance abuse started. I met someone with whom I eventually started smoking meth. He was also physically abusive, but I didn’t leave him for a long time because I loved him so much.
As the years went by, I ended up with no self-respect or self-worth, suffering massive panic attacks and ending up in the hospital. I was losing weight and even had a seizure one night, but was too scared to go to the hospital because I had smoked meth.
I was a total mess, and then to make things worse I began hearing voices. I was in and out of the hospital, broken and desperate I tried to escape reality with meth and alcohol and attempted suicide, ending up in a coma.
I became consumed by an irrational fear of being home alone at night. I would leave the house just before dark to sleep in my car under the cameras of a service station whenever my housemate wasn’t home. I was in so much pain crying alone every day, going nowhere. I felt defeated, with no hope and no future.
Slowly but surely, I started having the urge to go to a Church. I knew no one who was a Christian and had never been to Church before. So, I Googled to find a Church near me and made my way there.
We prayed the Lord’s prayer, I was given a Bible, and I left the place filled with unexplainable joy. Then I had a dream about Jesus. I started experiencing miraculous healing in some of my struggles, although the voices in my head continued to traumatise me.
They tortured me as I went on and off meth, trying to quit my habit for God, and I began to externalise my pain by beating myself across my face and head, screaming to get rid of the hurt and agony. I approached a Church seeking prayer for the voices and my meth addiction. The moment I said drugs, they referred me to Adult & Teen Challenge. My mind was made up as soon as I heard it was a Christian programme as I perceived it as my last chance to get rid of my addictions.
It took me a while to level out and finally quit meth. The voices are less frequent, and I can sleep without it bothering me. I’m no longer self-harming or depressed and instead wake up most days content with the direction my life has taken. I had always harboured the thought that there was something inherently wrong with me, but at Adult & Teen Challenge, I am slowly discovering my beauty and worth in Christ.
I still experience some dark moments, but they are getting fewer in this environment of love, security and acceptance. I am currently taking on more responsibilities with administration duties.
I used to rely on drugs and alcohol to manage life and get through the day, but now I rely on God for strength, sustenance and purpose. I give God all the praise, glory and honour for my survival and progress that has gotten me this far. He is a good God who rescues, transforms and gives us an identity as a new creation in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Paul’s life was broken by a decade long struggle with alcohol. As his addiction worsened his life began to spiral more and more out of control. A string of drink driving charges even led to jail time. But the thing that hurt Paul the most was broken relationships. That pain led to more drinking; and more drinking led to two car accidents at the start of 2019. One was so serious that it cost Paul his job.
His life had hit rock bottom. Paul, remembering his faith from when he was younger, cried out to God. And then something quite amazing happened. Paul reconnected with a friend who he hadn’t seen for over 30 years. She told Paul about Adult & Teen Challenge and he jumped straight on the phone to join the program.
The path towards freedom from addiction is never a straight one. After starting in the program in late 2019, Paul left Esperance after ten months without finishing. He found himself still wanting to please others. One day after drinking heavily, Paul found himself looking up at two strangers. He had blacked out trying to cross Wanneroo Road and was nearly hit by a car. This time Paul knew he needed to finish what he started.
In June 2021 he returned to the Adult & Teen Challenge program. With Paul’s permission, we have reproduced part of a letter of thanks he wrote. Like Paul, we praise God for what He has done, not only in Paul’s life, but hundreds of others.