Periodically, we want to share a success or little victories that we’re experiencing at Mission Addiction. This is “Tammy’s Story” in her own words:
“I was at my lowest.”
“I battled with addiction for 20 years and the last five years, I was at my lowest. I had lost everything. My husband and I were addicted, homeless and hopeless. We have two wonderful children, but my mom was raising them back then. Every day consisted of waking up hoping something would change. We slept in a tent by the river. We had made that our home. Sounds so crazy to say that now, but at the time it had become normal to me. Getting firewood everyday because it was too cold or to keep the critters away. It became part of my daily routine. Every morning we would get a bottle of vodka. It made it almost bearable. Pretty soon it became a necessity. We would go in to detox without it, which was miserable, trying to go through and living like we were. Many times we tried to quit and many times we were unsuccessful. I could tell you many horror stories but that is for another time.
What I want you to hear today is how I overcame all that sadness and hopelessness. I should also tell you my husband of 24 years didn’t make it – he overdosed on 4-11-2017. It was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, but I thank God because he was preparing me to be strong and tough without me knowing it. I can’t count the times I would wake up hungry or cold or sick and say God, “why me?” We never know what God has in store for us. I was completely broken a year and a half ago, one step from death’s door.
The missing piece:
So I went to treatment and learned what I was battling. They gave me a tool box of coping skills. I surrendered and went to A.A. meetings. I had a great support system, but I had two relapses with vodka. Although I had what I believed was a spiritual program, it wasn’t until my friend Alana Gant (may she rest in peace) told me about a faith based meeting called Mission Addiction. I mention Alana because it is very important to me to give her credit for what MA has done for me. The first one I attended happened to be the Christmas party. Right away there was something I knew I liked about it. There was a warm feeling about the place and the people. It was the missing piece. It was the Holy Spirit. I know that now, but at the time I just knew I felt something. When you’re in early recovery trying to get substance free and clean up the awful mess you have made of your life, it’s important to have support and to know people care. I just kept coming back and attend every Tuesday now. MA gave me a Life Recovery Bible and the Jesus Calling devotional. I like that bible’s perspective and read the devotional every day.
Unfortunately, you also have the stress of life issues that most people deal with on a daily basis. For someone who is starting over in life, the stress can be overwhelming. In my situation, I had been keeping my head above water so to speak and juggling bills to the best of my ability. I found myself in desperate need of help when we got a shut off notice on the DP&L bill. The total was 400 dollars and not much time to come up with the money. With the shut off date approaching fast, the stress was getting intense and I could see my boyfriend was struggling as well. He’s in recovery too. So I put my pride aside and picked up the phone. I reached out to Edward Livesay at MA and we talked for what seemed like hours, but the result of that phone call kept the lights on, not only in our home but in our hearts. You know, not everyone understands that potential relapse is just one shut off notice or eviction or car issue away. I only say that to give some perspective to the ripple effect it could have had on our recovery.
A Spiritual Program:
I started attending the classes that Edward was teaching, which were “Help Me Understand The Bible!” Christianity 101, and The Baptism Decision. So by learning more, my spiritual program grew. Edward baptized me on May 12, 2018. My faith has continued to grow and Mission Addiction has been such a blessing.
I have so much gratitude for MA and it has inspired me to do what I can to help MA help others. I have been a guest speaker and facilitator at the meetings, volunteered at outreach events and behind the scenes, invited several others to the group, and given rides to people I know who couldn’t get there. Giving back makes me feel good. MA gives me the opportunity to serve and so much more – they have become my family, my light at the end of the tunnel. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WHEN WE WALK TOGETHER. My best friend, our boyfriends, and her two kids attend meetings with me now, including the new, “Walking The Talk” bible and discipleship series. I have learned a lot in a short time and love the discussion in that group, too. My mom and brother come with us sometimes.
Edward’s passion and leadership have inspired me to do more. A friend of mine, Lindsay was in bad shape recently, so I took her to the hospital. We really needed to find treatment for when she got out, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through and it’s hard to find beds open. People in recovery will relapse from hopelessness, especially when they’re ready, but the system can’t take them. It was sounding like they were going to put her out on the street and I knew she wouldn’t last. I just kept calling the different places in our database. I told one that if she didn’t get her in, I was going to call Channel 7! With MA support, I was able to get Lindsay into a good treatment program. I’m so thankful for all the prayers as it was not an easy task. Her healing has started and will continue with the support of MA. We gave her a care package for going into treatment and we’re thinking about what we can do to help her when she gets out.
I also have my own apartment now, a rewarding job that uses my peer support training and I just bought a new couch! That’s a big deal for me. The more I learn about God and how he works in my life, the more I understand who I am and why I am still here. I believe it is to tell my story of how God brought me out of the dark and into the light and most importantly to help others do the same.”