Freedom from the Past

Testimony from one of our ladies of Grace. 

"I grew up in a very small town. My nuclear family was dysfunctional in a way that only a family of substance abusers can be. My mother was a prescription drug addict, and my father was an alcoholic. Both died of complications from their addictions.

I took my first drink at 8 years old, and continued to drink and use alcohol from my late teens well into my 50’s. Early on it quieted the screaming voices in my head, quelled my doubts and fears not only about myself but about the world I existed in. I trusted no one and nothing, and wanted nothing to do with the god of my childhood.

My first experience with recovery was in 1992, as the result of a court ordered attendance in a twelve step program as a consequence of using. By this time I had given up shared custody of my children to their father because I could not stop drinking. Truth be told, I did not want to stop drinking for I believed it was, in some sick way, my solution to a life I did not understand and a purpose yet found. Alcohol was my savior; the only thing that made me forget I was a walking empty vessel, useless, unlovable and incapable of truly loving another human being. I had damaged countless relationships, quit good jobs, broken the hearts of those who cared about me and lost all hope that I would ever find the meaning for my existence. I was selfish and self-centered to the extreme. Giving up my children was an action that almost killed me and took years to recover from. 

This pattern of drinking and rebuilding continued for the next 20 years. The time came when I understood I was truly powerless over drinking, but still did not understand that without God as my pilot in all the workings of my life, I would not recover. Through these relapses, I burned many bridges. Although some of my relationships, finances, and employment situations would improve as the result of sobriety, I still did not sufficiently develop my relationship with God or my spiritual life. I short changed God, and often took credit for blessings I did not realize as such.

I was arrested in December 2014 for a fight with my boyfriend. I was released in November of 2015, with a new wonderfully budding relationship with God. I had cultivated a friendship with the Chaplain in the Duval County jail through my months of confinement and reached out to her immediately. She introduced me to a couple from her church who took me into their spiritual fold and in January paid the entrance fee into the recovery house I have lived in for the past 6 months. I had reached out to Grace Ministry of Helping hands for help and two days after arriving in the house, one of Grace’s angels came to interview me and God placed me in their loving hands. The Ministry paid my rent until I could find a job, and once I went to work they paid for my uniform and shoes. They continued to cover my rent so I was able to save for a phone and begin a savings account. Eventually, I was able to contribute one week a month toward my rent and they paid the other three weeks. They introduced me to a spiritual mentor who began meeting with me weekly around my work and service schedule and picking me up for church on Sundays. I stay accountable with Grace weekly as they have followed my journey, loving me, and encouraging me every step of the way. They have prayed for me and watched with great anticipation the progress of my healing and recovery. I have gone from an unemployed ex-felon to a contributing member of society. I am now a female house monitor at the sober living house where I live. Last week, I purchased a car I have named my “God car”. I would have had to save for many more months to purchase had Grace not given me financial assistance along the way. God is slowly (His time not mine) repairing relationships I thought were lost forever. In retrospect, I know in my heart I am living, breathing proof that God is a God of miracles. He designed the path I travel today, and put in place all the loving and praying hearts that came together to get me where I am.

I know this is just the beginning. God has a plan for me and I cannot even conceive of the life still unfolding. I am honored and humbled to be a part of Grace Ministry, and a product of God’s work they are doing. Without Grace Ministry of Helping Hands I would still be a daughter of God. Today, I am also a daughter of Grace."

-Anonymous, lady of Grace

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