My name is Angel and I am 35 years old. The part of my story that I feel is important to share is my battle with addiction. I grew up around drugs and alcohol, so my first experience was at 11 years old. A family member introduced me to my first drink of alcohol and my first taste of marijuana. I learned early on that mind-altering chemicals allowed me to escape the reality of the horrors that I lived in. I spent the majority of my teenage years in and out of juvenile and state custody. All I knew was that crime paid off and that it was easy to make money off the sadness and misery of others. I was calloused to anyone’s feelings - including my own. My dad lived in another state and the only time I ever saw him was when I was shipped to St. Louis to spend my summers there. Although my mother did provide a place to live, she was gone most of the time, working 3 jobs to make ends meet. Some of her jobs were in bars and strip clubs which introduced me to that lifestyle. There was never any love or stability in my life and that resulted in me not ever knowing how to have healthy relationships or how to give and receive love. I only knew how to manipulate and use others for what I could get out of them to feed my addiction and continue the downward spiral that my life had become.
At the age of 21, I had my first daughter, Ariana. My second daughter Ciara was born when I was 27. Motherhood offered me the unconditional love I had always longed for. I gave it to my children and they gave it back to me. My whole world revolved around them until the day I was introduced to heroine and methamphetamine. It didn’t take long for these two drugs to consume every aspect of my life. They robbed me of my freedom as well as my dignity. They took away any sense of right and wrong that I may have had. I lost my home, my self-respect, the respect of my children, my job, my car, morals, dreams, goals, and eventually, they just about took my very life.
After trying to quit on my own without any success, I realized I needed help. I left my children with a loving and trusting family, that I knew would care for them until I could become mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy. Eventually, I found DOORS OF HOPE and a family of loving and supportive people for the very first time. Opening my heart to what they offered has taught me how to respect and appreciate structure, stability, hard work and accountability. Through the environment of a sober living community, I’ve learned how to truly live. Doors of Hope has walked beside me every step of the way on my journey to recovery.
Doors of Hope has helped me in more ways than I could ever number; like getting my teeth fixed from the devastation of methamphetamine so that I could smile again, helping me with probation and maneuvering my way through the court system, regaining custody of my girls, getting my driver’s license reinstated, getting my own apartment, just to name a few. But more important than any of these things is the fact that because of this organization, I found my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I am amazed at how he has shown himself to me in the most tangible ways through Doors of Hope, beyond what I could have ever imagined before. Saying thank you to Doors of Hope seems so insignificant, compared to the blessings they have lavished on me.