“The rest of my life is not mine, it belongs to the Creator.”
It’s a strange thing to not remember your childhood. To literally have less than a handful of memories from before your early teens. But that’s how it is for Alicia. Her mother was in the army and would sometimes have to travel so she and her siblings would stay with family. On one of those occasions, when she was five years old, she was molested. Unfortunately, the memory of that awful incident has stayed with her even though that’s when her memories ceased for years.
“I don’t have too many memories of my childhood. I don’t know the school I went to or anything. I don’t know if it’s blocked out. I just know there’s nothing there. I’m pretty sure this is the moment my life went in the direction it’s gone. The years of pain, chaos, drugs, bad relationships, jail, rehabs, even prostitution. On top of being molested as a child, I was raped one night as I was walking home after dark. I was 15 at the time. I began to suffer from severe depression and other issues that even led to a few hospitalizations.”
“I don’t fault my mom I had a good family and great home as a teen I just didn’t know how to tell her what had happened, so I just left home, and things really spiraled out of control.”
While living in California Alicia faced jail terms several times, however, the law there allows you to go to rehab instead of going to jail for certain offenses, so that’s what she chose. “They really did nothing for me. I was just there so I didn’t have to go to jail. It was never about getting help for my problems.”
No eight-year-old should ever know what it’s like to feel betrayed by someone they love and look up to. To feel devastated and dirty. But unfortunately, Spud did after he was molested by his older brother and his friends. And compounding that pain was a father that told him on a daily basis that he would never amount to anything. Is it any wonder he felt unloved and looked for ways to escape the pain he was feeling?
“By the time I was 13 I was using drugs and alcohol all the time to escape from my family – to not think about how bad I felt all the time,” he says. “Drugs and alcohol were my everything. It was my way of not being hurt, not thinking about things, of coping. It took me down a very long and dark road. I wound up being homeless, not trusting anyone, and turning my back on God who, despite what happened to me I’d loved when I was a kid.”
Spud’s addiction spanned several decades costing him relationships, jobs, his health, and his sense of self-worth. He hit rock bottom a little over a year ago when, one night after being up for several days, he took too many drugs and felt he was on the brink of death. He called out to God to help him saying, “God don’t let me die. Don’t let me die from these drugs.” Praise God he survived that night, and he says he knew that if he didn’t get help he would eventually die from the drugs and alcohol, so he checked himself into a hospital.
While he was there he learned about the Rescue Mission and soon after entered our life-recovery program. “When I arrived I felt alone and afraid because I didn’t know what was going to happen. But right away, I had this peace come over me. I felt so free. I had never known a place like this existed or people who were so caring and kind.”
“Since coming here I’ve never had so much peace. No one here has looked at me like I’m a failure. I’ve been shown so much love. The very first night I was able to sleep because I felt so free and knew I was in a good place.” While in the program Spud has been able to confront the trauma he experienced as a child and to allow God to heal those wounded, broken places. He says he loves the classes where he’s learning so much about himself, about God and a better way of living.
“The most important thing I’ve learned here is how to humble myself to the Lord and respect people as I want to be respected. I’ve learned to be a better human being. I’ve been able to let go of so much stuff because of the Mission, but especially because of God. I’ve always believed in God, but I had turned my back on Him. Since being here I’ve turned back to Him, and it has impacted me tremendously. I can’t explain how I feel now, how hopeful I am, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!”