I lived out of a car for 2 years with my little girl because of my addiction. I would get high in the front seat while she slept in the back. We bathed in swimming pools of random apartment buildings.

I started doing drugs when I was 12, and was a full-blown heroin addict by 19. I had planned on going to college, but heroin changed that. I caught my first felony case over a bad drug deal – a girl ripped me off and I pulled out a gun.My life went downhill after that.

I got involved with a group of criminals and started doing all kinds of things I would have never imagined, like mail fraud. I was in and out of jail for 10 years. I would go to jail for 8 months, come out for 3, and go right back in. I caught case after case. I grew up in jail: I knew all the sheriffs and I knew the system. I was locked up when my mom died of cancer; I beat myself up over that for years.

In 2016 I was facing another 4 years, but my lawyer had me court ordered to a program. I went to Heritage House North in Anaheim, a residence for women with children. This was the sixth program I had tried, and the first one that had anything to do with church. I believe God placed me there.

NorthEast of the Well came every Friday to offer us a Bible Study, and I went to both that and their Anaheim service on Monday nights. I found myself starting to pray. I have always been a believer, as I was raised Catholic – but I hadn’t prayed like THIS before. There was something different about NorthEast. I wasn’t judged for being an addict. I wanted to be like the girls I saw in leadership and have a relationship with Jesus.

I used to reconnect with God every time I went to jail. My bunkies would answer my questions about Jesus. But outside of jail, I’d fall off and not pray or read the bible. At NorthEast, I had away to keep that connection with God going. After my baptism with Pastor Laura,I really felt things change inside.

My life doesn’t look like it used to. I am present in my daughter’s life: I take her to ballet and Girl Scouts, instead of spending all my money on heroin and meth. I’ve held down a full-time job for 2 years: a position I got through the McCrackens, long-time supporters of NorthEast. I graduate Irvine Valley College next summer and have plans to further my education. I make car payments and pay all of my bills. I’m now off probation, after 13 years. I’m married and faithful to my husband.

I used to smoke heroin in the front seat of my car with my daughter in the back,and today we sing worship music as I drive us to church! I know Jesus shattered the chains that held me captive for so long – He was the only one strong enough.

I’ve been set free. And you know what? I LOVE BEING FREE.