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Had you asked me who I was two years ago, I would have said that I was a hopeless addict, incapable of living one day without an obsession or compulsion driving my actions. I would have said I was one more generation in a long line of hopeless addicts with dysfunctional relationships. I would have said I was incapable of commitment, not because I feared them, but because addiction and dysfunction don’t lend themselves to long term employment, friendships, marriages, or even apartment leases.
I learned to escape life, or indeed, anything remotely painful or difficult, early in life. I found that escape in drugs by the time I was 8, and from then on, I lived to find escape from living. I began conniving, manipulating and calculating, to find escape. And so went my life. Drugs, alcohol, sex…Anything to escape, even if just for a moment, the chaos, pain and confusion. With the addictions came denial, dishonesty, and delusion – whatever it took to maintain the illusions I portrayed in my life.
Suddenly, I found myself, at 45 years old, a single mother of two beautiful children who deserved better than I was able to provide, who deserved to learn more than I was able to teach and deserved more love than I new how to give. I realized I was empty. I prayed for God’s guidance, and he started showing me the truth in scripture. I had 45 years of dysfunctional living to unlearn. I realized I needed some crash courses in healthy living. I prayed and God put Arizona Baptist Children’s Services New Start Program in my path.
The director of the New Life Transitional Program began mentoring me in all aspects of my life. I began to trust. I attended classes on boundaries, parenting, goal setting, financial peace and Bible concepts. I began to exhibit characteristics important in healthy relationships, and I learned healthy boundaries to keep me whole and individual. I also started seeing a Christian counselor who was able to help me learn to experience life - to be, rather than to do. Between counseling and mentoring, I learned to start trusting God and not people, and to believe that I could change. And I did change. I used the skills I had developed to help me deal with my money, my children, my walk with Christ, my relationship with other people and my feelings in healthy, successful ways.
Now, I no longer say I am a hopeless addict. I am a beloved child of God unique and special to Him. I am a great mother who disciplines in love. I am a loyal employee who shows up on time and gives 100% all day each day. I am a proud American citizen, who votes and obeys the law, including driving the speed limit. I am a good steward of God’s money who tithes and avoids debt. I am a valued friend who makes time to spend with others. I am a leader in a church ministry, encouraging others to make similar life changes. I don’t have to lie, cheat, steal or self-medicate to get through the day anymore. Instead, I pray, I do the next right thing and I help others. I have purpose and fulfillment in all I do, from the moment I wake until the moment I sleep. I thank God every day for Arizona Baptist Children’s Services, and especially for the New Life Transitional Program.