I started getting to see my babies while I was in the program, and now I live with them and get to be Mom every day.
This is Jessica's Story
*for protection of the innocent, the photo of the real person has been changed.
Their story is true.
When I was 23 I became addicted to meth. I started out just using it to help me stay awake at work, but I enjoyed it so much I began using it all the time. Before I knew it, I was hooked and my life started to fall apart. I lost my job, I couldn’t pay my bills and I couldn’t afford even to feed my son and daughter.
There was an incident one night and my ex-husband and I were arrested and my babies were taken into DHS custody. It was a month before I was allowed visitation with them at the DHS office. There wasn’t a day that went by that my heart didn’t break from the reality of what I was putting them through. It hurt so bad I really thought I would never touch another drug.
But I never told anyone that I had been using drugs. I couldn’t tell them. My family would never forgive me and DHS wouldn’t let me have my children back. I believed this completely, so I kept silent and tried to overcome it on my own. It was pretty easy to stay clean at first, especially when I was worried DHS would drug test me. About 2 months after DHS took my kids my mom and step-dad were approved to foster them. I started getting to see them more, and my caseworker seemed to feel like I was doing great. I started to get comfortable and gave in to getting high.
It wasn’t long before I was smoking more than I had been the first time around, but it wasn’t enough. I started dropping the ball on spending time with my kids and I definitely wasn’t making any progress toward getting them back. I knew I was hurting them more but I didn’t know how to stop.
I met a guy who shot up and eventually I got curious about it and wanted to try it because smoking wasn’t working anymore. He injected me my first time and I was immediately in love with it. Just a few weeks was all it took to have me spending every moment every day getting high or trying to find a shot. I met a different guy who I eventually moved in with. He sold dope and we spent all of our time shooting up. I couldn’t be around my kids when I was high, so I completely stopped seeing them or calling them. This went on for six months. I was miserable but had no idea how to get out. I didn’t have the strength to change anything. And after walking out on my children, I knew I could never go back to them.
On September 10th, 2015, SWAT and Homeland Security executed a no-knock search warrant and arrested my boyfriend, my best friend, and me. For the first few days in jail all I wanted was to do one more shot. Then as I sobered up, it hit me how much trouble I was in. I thought “now I can really never go back…it’s too late, I’m going to go to prison and my kids are going to grow up without their mom.” I had no hope. My life was over and all I could do was lay in my bunk and cry at the damage I had done and the pain this all would cause my babies.
Then the judge offered me the chance to go to Shalom, a faith-based rehab. Mrs. Jackie and Mrs. Lain came to the jail to talk to me about their program, but I didn’t believe in God anymore and I didn’t want to go somewhere that I’d be forced to participate in religious stuff. So they told me theirs wasn’t the program for me and they left. Sunday rolled around and a couple of women came to do a church service at the jail and my best friend talked me into going. When we got there the women spoke about how people are like sheep, they get themselves stuck in ruts and Jesus lovingly and patiently rescues them and brings them back to the flock. The Holy Spirit touched me and I had such clarity at that moment. My heart softened toward God and I started weeping as I realized that was what Jesus was doing for me. I was on a path I had no power to change, and he swept in and saved me. I cried harder knowing I didn’t deserve his mercy. I didn’t deserve forgiveness. How could he love me that much? After everything, I had done? At that moment His love overcame my fears and for the first time I believed I could stop living the way I was, that I could recover and be a mother to my babies.
When I went in front of the judge again, I asked to go to Shalom. He said he would see if they would come back and talk to me. They don’t usually come for girls who have already said “no,” but for some reason they did come back for me. I think it’s because God knew I was ready and that I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity. Just a few days later I was bonded out to Shalom, and as soon as I walked through the doors there I felt so at peace and at home like everything was really going to be okay.
It wasn’t always easy going through the program, but I was surrounded by staff and other girls in the program who loved me. We became family. River of Life, the church we attended, broke through to me like no church ever had. It felt so good to have a light shone on all of the lies Satan had told me. Instead of being scared and feeling hopeless, I felt strong, loved and like there was hope for my future. As long as I surrendered to the things I was learning about God and what it means to live for Him and in a relationship with Him, I experienced restoration and forgiveness.
I started getting to see my babies while I was in the program, and now I live with them and get to be Mom every day. I don’t deserve the restoration God has given me, but knowing that helps me appreciate it all the more. Life was overwhelming when I tried to do everything myself, and I failed miserably. Now, I feel secure because I know I can depend on Him instead. I want to say to anyone still struggling with addiction that recovery is within reach, you just have to stop trying to do it your own way!