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.