After two and a half years at a female addiction treatment rehab centre, I left for the outside world in June 2000 a transformed human being. I had worked hard on myself and had gained the much-needed skills to become a responsible, productive member of society. I went to university and studied psychotherapy. I graduated with honours and continued in a career helping other people in addiction and people affected by homelessness, as well as having a private psychotherapy practice.
I met my husband in 2007. We fell deeply in love and started our own family in 2009. We had three beautiful children by 2012. It was at this stage that we both felt a strong call from God to follow Jesus. We joined a local Baptist Community Church.
At first I thought I was completely born again. I got baptised and I publicly declared Jesus my Saviour and Lord. Looking back at that stage I can honestly say I doubted certain things I was being told. I doubted miracles and I did not know what the gospel really meant. But I convinced myself that I didn’t have important doubts. I carried on.
However, life was getting difficult for me. I had been diagnosed with severe post natal depression. Having to rear a family in my condition was getting harder to cope with.
Following the difficult birth of my third child, I was prescribed anti-anxiety medication and opiate pain medication. I did have concerns about whether I could handle these medications, but after fifteen years sober and armed with my new found faith, I felt I was in good hands overall. How could this be so hard? I attended regular N.A. meetings. I was professionally successful. They were much-needed medications prescribed by a doctor. I would be fine.
How wrong I was. My prideful attitude and misguided belief led me down a path of chronic full blown relapse, eventually using crack cocaine and heroin. It led me into a secret double life of criminal behaviour and darkness that lasted more than six years.
While going to church, I listened to the message of the gospel. It was piercing my ever growing denial system. It would tell me to confess my sin and repent. My shame, however, was very alive and I could not bring myself to tell anyone how much I was suffering. I hid deeper underground about my double life and my insidious sin. I just acted the part and would not be honest with anyone. Pride and ego were now running my life.
Like all drugs, the ones I was taking had stopped giving the desired effect. A drug dealer introduced me to crack cocaine. I had never taken it before and got instantly addicted. I had also started to smoke heroin to come off the crack cocaine. I did this secretly until my husband finally realised what was happening.
I confessed everything–the drugs, the addiction, the money, the double life, the mental, emotional and spiritual suffering. I was voluntarily admitted into a psychiatric ward for eight weeks, where I was diagnosed as bipolar.
For the next four years of my life, I entered many addiction treatment programmes and psychiatric wards, but I could not stop relapsing. By this time, we had told my church family what was going on. They supported me unconditionally throughout this period. They never turned their backs on me or my family.
My husband’s biggest fear is that I’d be found dead, but he never left me. He stayed beside me through each dramatic relapse. He says he clung to God and the gospel to get him through.
At the beginning of March 2020, I had come back from another treatment centre. I relapsed again. To protect the children I left the family home for three weeks.
In those three weeks, I became broken and truly frightened. I felt totally worthless and in complete despair. I felt God direct me to seek help from medical experts in addiction. I got put on medication to stop withdrawals and help cravings. I put down the drugs again and returned home. My husband and I were terrified of yet another relapse. I felt myself being prompted by the Holy Spirit to begin to listen to Tim Keller again–sometimes four sermons a day. I joined Narcotics Anonymous again online and went to a meeting every day.
I finally, truly repented to God for my sins. I stopped looking to the world for my acceptance and understanding as I had before. I felt loved, understood and accepted by God. This gave me a new peaceful, quiet confidence. Not an egotistical, prideful confidence like I have had all my life.
The miracle was happening. God removed the torturous mental obsession for drugs. He removed the physical cravings.
I am now a wife and mother again. But I feel more balanced and centred than I ever have in my life. My depression, guilt, and shame have been taken away because of what Jesus did on the cross. God has opened my eyes and my heart to the truth of who he really is. I know he exists. I know he can and has performed supernatural miracles. I know everything in the Bible is true. I know Jesus is the Son of God, that he died on the cross and took the sin of mankind, and in return that we are saved if we trust in him. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I know that, coming into Christianity, I was filled with prideful sin, shame and ego. I believe this eventually led me to relapse. I believe God worked these sinful decisions for my good on this journey home to him. My journey in him will not end until he returns.
In September 2020, I will be seven months into my new walk with the Lord. I am born again. I thank my husband for never giving up on me. I thank my church for never stopping praying for us. I humbly thank you, God, for loving me and saving my life in every way possible.