Hi, my name is Carrie and I’m 22 years old and I grew up in Missouri. My stand on scripture is Romans 12:2 “Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” I’ve been in Teen Challenge right under five months and in that time I’ve started a transformation myself.
Addiction for me started very early on. My mother was stuck in her own addiction when she found out that she was pregnant. She was unable to break this so at the time of my birth I to tested positive for the substance. The state picked up on the charges and the day I got to leave the hospital it was in the arms of a social worker. My mom tried to get me back and would for a period of time but it never lasted. She just couldn’t break free. She lost two of my other siblings and then got the news…. Her rights to me as a mother were terminated.
I internalized all this, at this age I didn’t understand what was going on around me, but I felt as though I had done something wrong, I felt unloved, unwanted. So I started putting up walls and not feeling I could get close to anyone. Really that’s all I wanted, was to feel loved! I was placed into a loving foster home and felt love there; I felt wanted. Then another change came and I was adopted out and placed into another family. They are amazing and wonderful people. They are my parents. Life was great! I moved out to the country, I could play in the dirt, I had brothers around me at all times, and I really never had to do without.
As I started getting older, however, I was still hurt on the inside. I still felt as though I was unloved. I started having questions… Why was I adopted? Why didn’t my own mother want me? What did I do wrong? Why would she choose drugs over her own daughter?
I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol to see what the hype was about, to see what the big deal was. I soon started using them to numb the pain and to feel accepted, to fit in. Then it just became part of my life, to the point where I was unable to stop. I started getting into legal trouble, in and out of jail, distancing myself from my family, and facing time in prison. I found myself pregnant, and unable to stop. It seemed as though it would be so easy, to just give it up. I lost that baby because of my drug use. I now understood addiction first hand; I needed a miracle. I went to prison and knew it was time to change! This is when God stepped in!
I got out and spent Easter at home with my family we had talked about me finding a program to get into. So the following Tuesday I came into Teen Challenge, and haven’t looked back! God has softened my life and filled that void, hole, hurt, and pain that I’ve carried for so long. He is my Savior and also my friend. Teen Challenge is the foot hole, the foundation that I needed! I am so thankful to be alive and hope that one day I could help someone else find their way and their Savior. God has restored my families. I now have a relationship with my adopted family as well as my biological family. God has only started to bless me. I can’t wait to see the surprises he’s got in store!
Both my parents were heavy drug addicts and alcoholics. They were very abusive to each other as well as my baby sister and me. I became the caregiver to my sister and myself. I lived like this until I was ten years old when a man my mom occasionally “dated” molested my sister and me. At this point we were finally removed from my parents’ home and placed into state custody with my grandparents as our guardians. My grandparents had been a part of my life constantly taking us to church every time the doors were open. I knew who God was. I also knew that no matter what I was going through, He was with me. I had seen Him save my life too many times. My life from that moment on was seemingly perfect in comparison to what I had lived in before. I started singing in church and playing music. I began to learn where my place was in life.
I started leading praise and worship at church at about 12 years old, and that’s where I knew I belonged. I have been doing that ever since. I made good grades in school and graduated with a full ride scholarship to a bible college in Alabama. I was married to my husband who was a youth pastor a couple of months after I graduated. We moved immediately so that I could begin my degree in music ministry. We found a church family and immediately began our work there. I loved it and so did he.
Everything was great until I began to have some medical problems. I was having so issues with my head and jaws that I found out would require a surgery I could not afford. The dentist then decided to prescribe me pain medication until I could have this done. I was terrified to take the medicine because I knew what could happen. I didn’t want to live the way my parents did so I hardly took them. However, I found myself very quickly justifying my using. A few years after I moved, I lost a dear friend of mine and it killed me. Not even a month later I lost another friend and my four-month-old unborn child. A few months later I lost my second child and then a third. I quickly went from 1-2 pills a week to 20-30 per day. My life became a nightmare worse than anything I could imagine. Pain had consumed me, as well as hate and me.
He quickly took me from having everything I wanted to having nothing at all. My husband left me and I lost my home and the rest of my family. He brought me to Teen Challenge with nothing to build me back up and give me everything. I have a relationship with my God that I never thought possible. I don’t just speak with Him every day when I pray at certain times. I “Pray at all times with all kinds of prayer” and He talks back. He has guided my every step to this very moment to show me I am not worthless and dirty, but that I am His daughter and He has plans for me that are wilder than anything I can possibly imagine. I have been set free of religious bondage as well. I worship with passion and freedom because I know who I serve.
My gifts and talents are being nurtured and used here in a way I really never thought possible. I have been able to heal from the wounds of losing my babies. I have honored them and named them because they were precious lives to me and to God. I know that I will be able to see them all again when I get to heaven. I have been able to speak to my family again and I know that they love me. They have accepted me back with open arms as if nothing has ever happened.
I wake up every single morning with a hunger and desire to serve Him as best I can. He gave everything for me; I can’t possibly give anything less than my life. While there are still some things I am waiting on God to work out, He has given me the peace to know that He has everything under control. I don’t worry about anything anymore. I just stand still and let God work it all out for His glory.