*The following is written by a friend and sister-in-Christ, Mandy. A few weeks back I (Eric) had the privilege of sitting with her on the front porch of the Hannah House as she shared her story of transformation with me. Though I had not initially remembered, I had met Mandy several years back in the height of her addiction. Needless to say, the woman I sat and conversed with on the front porch that day was not the same person. In the height of her addiction, Mandy called out to God that if He really did love her as she had often been told, that He would save her as her life was marked by misery, pain, and emptiness. Less than 24 hours later, the Lord answered her prayer as US Marshals raided her home, landing Mandy in jail where she was forced to sober up. Transitioning out of jail and into the Family Shelter, God had plans to further transform her life and bring her to the Hannah House, for which we have been tremendously blessed.
As I sit here today celebrating one year clean and sober I am choosing to write about one of the greatest moments of personal reflection I experienced this year. A moment that was both extremely painful and difficult, however at the same time, also filled me with immense gratitude.
A couple of months ago I was given the opportunity to revisit a place and time in my past that has since been completely transformed. An experience that symbolizes the powerful redemption that comes from Christ alone.
CLDI purchased a house in desperate need of redemption and transformed it into their intern house. The physical transformation is incredible. I can tell you that because I lived there at the depth of my active addiction. Walking back thru those doors and facing my demons was one of the most difficult things I’ve done. Memories of despair and desperation flooded back. I sat in my old bedroom with tears streaming down my face as I relived my last moments in that house.
Mother’s Day, 2013, I sat alone on the floor wishing for the courage to end my life. I couldn’t tell you how long I battled myself that day. It seemed like eternity. I hadn’t eaten or slept much in weeks, which wasn’t unusual. I had plenty of drugs, and money, and in my own mind, status and respect. But I was empty. I sat with my pistol loaded and safety off on my right thigh, trembling as I put it in my mouth, wishing for what I thought was courage – praying for the pain to go away. Every time I failed to pull the trigger, I did another shot instead. I just couldn’t do it. That was the day I moved out. I didn’t get clean till much later, but thank God I didn’t end my life that day.
I have been clean one year today and am grateful for my life. My worst day in recovery is immensely better than my best days in active addiction. I spent literally years trying to fill a void that can only be filled through the love and grace of Jesus!!! I am happy and fulfilled. Through the Hannah House where I live I have found love, acceptance, and family. I am home! I have friendships that I couldn’t fathom a few years ago. I have a great job where I was recently promoted. I am rebuilding a relationship with my beautiful daughter. I have friends that became family in a local 12-step program that I choose to be involved in. I have found my worth and value as a human being, as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, as a mentor, and most importantly, as a redeemed child of God. I am grateful for second chances, for God’s grace and sovereignty, for the very breath I breathe today, and the accomplishment of one full year drug and alcohol free. One full year in recovery!