When I was 17, I tore my ACL and had reconstructive surgery on my knee. The doctor prescribed me pain killers, with no idea the path it would lead me down. I moved to Arizona for college and joined the soccer team. My knee got worse, which meant stronger pain killers.

Before my sophomore year, the pills became a real problem: I was manipulating doctors to prescribe me unnecessarily high quantities of oxycotin. At one point, my roommate and I were getting a combined 360 pills a month at 80mg each. We were both full-blown opiate addicts by spring semester. When I couldn’t get pills from the doctors, I began buying them off the streets from drug dealers, and was introduced to heroin. I was arrested two days before graduation for stealing and possession of drugs on campus.

I got pregnant and my daughter was born addicted to heroin. I turned to the only coping skill I knew: getting high. When my daughter took naps, I would tell my family I was “going for a workout”. I would get dressed in exercise clothes but run to my dealer’s house to get high. I could not stop using - I WAS MISERABLE. My social worker staged an intervention and my mom told me she was moving forward with the adoption of my daughter. This was my last chance. If I lost her, I knew I would continue using and wind up dead. I entered a residential treatment center in downtown Long Beach for women and children. It was there I met NorthEast of the Well – they came to do ministry with the residents twice a week. At NorthEast of the Well, I heard the one thing that changed my life: I was told God forgave me and loved me unconditionally. For the past year I had been stuck in the guilt of having a child born addicted to drugs. HE LOVED ME?? HE LOVED ME!! When I heard these words I was able to surrender to HIM.

I was baptized by Pastor Laura and began discipleship with the women of NorthEast. Today, I'm sober and I'm changed. I’ve enrolled back in school and am a full-time employee. I have full custody of my daughter and I’m dedicated to being a good, responsible mom. What's incredible is that I get to teach children at NorthEast of the Well about the Lord; I’m pouring into many young lives in order to make a difference for Christ. Learning about God’s love and mercy has the power to change lives, as it did mine. I love my life today.