Hi my name is Mindy and I’ve been clean & sober since November 7th, 2017! This is my before & after story. I hope it inspires you!
About my childhood…
I was raised in a good, Christian home. I am fourth of six children. We had the most loving, selfless mother. She was the mother who stayed up all night praying for us, she loved the Lord and dedicated every minute of her life to following him. I knew early on that I was different than any of my siblings, I was much more outgoing than they were. I had the type of personality that attracted people to me & I really enjoyed making people happy. I wasn’t afraid to be on stage or to be the center of attention like the rest of my siblings were. I was just different, and we all knew it.
In December of 1997 I lost my mother to cancer. I was 15 years old and incapable of handling the void that was left in my heart. I had lost the only person in the world who knew how to comfort me. I lost my nurturer. I lost my biggest fan.
I began the search for something, ANYTHING, to fill that void in my heart. I started like most, drinking through high school and continued drinking/partying throughout my early 20s. I found myself pregnant at 25 years old and ended up in a marriage that was anything but healthy. One thing my mother taught me was how to LOVE. She instilled a desire inside of me to nurture others. I believe the relationship I had with my ex- husband initiated my issue of codependency. I was somehow attracted to these men who came from different backgrounds than I did, who had some sort of issue that I wanted to fix for them. I made it my mission to show them love like they had never known and not a single one seemed to know how to handle that. They would cheat on me, repeatedly, and then tell me that it wasn’t ME – they would tell me that I was too good to them, that they didn’t deserve a love like mine. Each time I found myself alone, not understanding how this happened, and couldn’t help but let it affect my self worth because that void was still there.
Within a year of my daughter being born, I had 3 surgeries which led to a 3 year addiction to opiates. The withdrawals were brutal, they felt like death. In an attempt to avoid them one day, a “friend” of mine offered me meth, told me it helped with the withdrawls. I was desperate, so I tried it, and I loved it. I did. It made me feel on top of the world. It gave me the energy I needed to be super-mom. I was managing rental properties and it helped me stay on top of my work too. Not to mention that void in my heart didn’t feel nearly as big when I was high. I could barely even feel it anymore, I was numb. It seemed to me like I had found the answer to all my problems.
The false comforter I began to rely on (meth) entangled itself in my soul like a cancer and once attached, it became an addiction that was cruel and relentless. It was sought out for a little release and it turned on me, I was imprisoned in chains that separated me from the heart of God and everyone else who loved me. It was a lonely prison of my own making, each chain forged in the fire of my own selfish choices. IT TOOK ME FURTHER THAN I WANTED TO GO, KEPT ME LONGER THAN I WANTED TO STAY, AND COST ME MORE THAN I EVER WANTED TO PAY.
It was hell. Over the next 7 years, I was in and out of treatment centers, I’d be sober for a little while but would soon relapse, because I still had that void in my heart. At my lowest point, I was living in hotel rooms, running the streets with people who ended up being murderers. I was held against my will, raped, and beaten. But my addiction had intertwined itself with my identity so much that to give it up felt like personal death. Even when I would get a little sobriety under my belt, I would find myself in relationships with the same endings as before. I would scream out “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST CHOOSE ME?!” and “WHY AM I NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?!”, opening that hole in my heart once again. The shame and the guilt kept me pinned down, pointing out my failures and judging my worth. Instead of coming up for GRACE filled air, it kept me pinned down and gasping, making me feel like I deserved to suffocate.
My ex-husband wouldn’t let me keep my oldest daughter at the house anymore, and my dad had come by to try and talk me into going to yet another treatment program and ended up taking my youngest with him that day because he found out my water had gotten shut off and he knew I had no way of providing for her (my 3 year old) nor could I pay the $1,900 rent I owed for the upcoming month. I had run out of options. I was all alone, with a hole in my heart bigger than ever before. I was completely broken. I had no choice but to accept the offer given to me. I knew that there was more to life, but I was so full of guilt and shame over the things I had done and the person I had become.
I admitted myself to Freedom House on November 7th, 2017 and was there for 5 months. During my stay there, God made himself real to me. Upon asking Him into my heart, I received his grace, his forgiveness. The story of him dying on the cross went from a fairytale told to me at Sunday School to a personal expression of his love for me. I finally believed that I was worthy of his love, his grace, and his forgiveness. I realized that the many failed relationships I had endured over the years served a much greater purpose than I could ever have known before. He revealed to me that the pain I felt, as the men I loved chose other women over me, was the same pain he felt as I chose other things to fill the void in my heart that only he could fill. HE WANTED ME TO CHOOSE HIM, HE WANTED TO BE ENOUGH FOR ME, just as I wanted to be enough for the men I chose to love.
Because of God’s grace, I am more alive than I have ever been. I strive to be a light in this dark world, a ray of hope for people who have none. I believe that I was saved for a reason, that I endured everything I did for a purpose that exceeds my understanding. I got to experience God’s grace in its fullest extent. Hope is Alive is fulfilling the desires he has put in my heart. I have been given another chance at life, and this time I am living it with a full heart. A heart full of his love. He has healed my broken heart and restored my spirit. He has bestowed beauty in the places where I knew only devastation. He’s given me joy in the place of my deepest sorrows. He has filled my heart with praise in exchange of my resignation.
I would like to thank my family, especially my parents. It’s because of their love, support, and never ending prayers that I am alive and thriving today. I’d also like to thank Hope is Alive for offering people like me an opportunity to experience such radical life change in an environment full of love and encouragement.