I’ve spent a total of 9 years incarcerated. Once, after serving 3 years, I was out for 18 hours only to go right back in. All of my crimes were drug related: transportation and manufacturing, possession, a stolen car – many times while under the influence. For drugs and because of drugs.

I continued to use while incarcerated. Drugs are brought into jails though a lot of different ways. I made a lot of money selling drugs in jail. A lot.

There is a Substance Abuse Program (or “SAP”) available to inmates – and sure, it helps if you’re ready for it. But if you’re just faking it or going through the motions, you’ll still have the same issues when you get out. Whenever I was released, I used right away; I’d even get loaded in the car.

What changed for me was the risk of losing another child. I’d already lost – more so, given up – two children to the system because of my addiction. They told me if I wanted to be a mother to my third little girl, I would get clean.

I found myself in a program called Heritage House South in 2012, where NorthEast came regularly to share a Bible study. It was through their ministry that I first committed my life to Christ. And then I took full advantage of what NorthEast offered me: I attended their small groups and gatherings and they were in my life 3 days a week. This allowed me to build community; I felt I was “with my people” who knew me and who got me.

You either continue on in darkness and submerge yourself, or you try something different. Change can happen, but you have to want it and you have to be ready. It is so important to have accountability and spiritual leadership, and NorthEast still provides this for me today. I’m no longer living in a prison: mentally, physically or spiritually. I’m free and sober to be a mother, wife, and child of God. I’m on staff with NorthEast of the Well, and now get to minister to women right out of jail or programs – who are just like me. It’s so amazing that He uses my story to point more people lost and searching to the answer – found only in Him.