Growing up, all I can remember is struggling. I was a defiant child and by the time I was a teenager, I was fighting depression. At 13, I tried marijuana and alcohol for the first time. Being “buzzed” felt so good; all my negative emotions dissolved. Before long, I was experimenting with crystal meth and dropped out of school.

When I was 17, I became involved in an abusive relationship with a man who was schizophrenic and heavily into drugs. A year later I became pregnant with my daughter. In 2002 I was involved in another destructive relationship. I started using heroin and the darkness of drug addiction really began to take a toll. A year later, I was pregnant again. I used drugs through my entire pregnancy, thinking each night that this would be my last time: I promised myself I would quit “tomorrow” – but tomorrow never came. Social Services took both my children away. I lived on the streets, in and out of jail, prison, and rehabs, like a revolving door. In 2008, I became pregnant with my third child. I knew I was headed to repeat the cycle.

In 2011 I entered Heritage House South in Costa Mesa, a rehab program for women with children. On my very first day, a group of women from NorthEast of the Well came to see if we wanted to attend a bible study. I remember catching a glimpse of light in their eyes that gave me hope. At that bible study, I made the decision to surrender my life to God. After graduating that program, I went to live at a sober living home in Anaheim, completed school and found a job. I knew I needed to stay connected to my newfound faith, so every Monday, my small son and I would take a 2-hour bus ride to attend a NorthEast of the Well worship service. Afterwards, some of the women volunteers would drive us home. This helped me form some beautiful, lasting friendships.

Today, I stand a completely new person. I’ve been sober over 7 years, have my own apartment and work full-time. I’ve stayed connected with NorthEast through discipleship and volunteering, and have watched the ministry grow. NorthEast offered me an administrative position at their new office in Costa Mesa! I’m thrilled to be on staff and be giving back to the ministry that has invested so much in me over the years. My daughter, who was removed from my custody 10 years earlier, came back to live with me – we traveled to Israel together last year with NorthEast. It was an experience I will treasure for a lifetime, and showed just how far God has brought us. Jesus Christ has brought me out of the trenches of addiction and self-hate. Today I am saved and that is because of God’s grace and forgiveness.