Tiffany - 2017 Graduate
I lost everything. Homeless and living out of a car, I lived in an ever worsening funnel of defeat and despair. For 18 years marijuana and alcohol slowly stole everything from me; my son, my college education, my job, my home, my car, my family, my friends and my future.
How do you go from a life of productivity and promise to a life of hopelessness and fear, living out of a car, one step from living in the woods? It is a downward descent that happens slowly at first then more and more rapidly one choice at the time.
It’s the law of decreasing returns. What satisfies your addiction today is not enough for tomorrow. What worked last week is not enough for this week. What worked last year just is not enough for this year. It is a horrible struggle that leaves you in bondage to emptiness, fear and eventually hopelessness. Hopelessness is the fuel that feeds the fire of addiction.
I became more emptier, more alone and more vulnerable.
I was in college. I was an exceptional student. I had a good job. But eventually marijuana and alcohol brought me down. It made me sick. I lived with stomach problems. I ran up a $100,000 emergency room bill! The doctors were baffled. They never knew (and I never told!) that I was a horrible addict. Chemically addicted, they prescribed more chemicals to bring healing. It was a prescription for disaster.
I was also a mom. I had a beautiful son. He was six. During my struggle with stomach problems I asked his dad to take care of him. That was another step into a horrible abyss. I lost contact with my son and his dad. I lost my son… I lost the greatest gift God had ever given me.
I was unable to get on my feet. Addiction is expensive. Because of the added expense, I could never save any money. Oh, and, I failed a drug test at work and lost my job.
Without a job and no savings, I couldn’t pay my rent and became an American statistic… Homeless.
I moved into my car.
Only someone who has had to do it could understand the complexity of living out of a car. When you live out of a car, you have no address. With no address you cannot apply for a job. With no home taking a daily bath can’t happen. Using the bathroom becomes a major struggle. When you become homeless you lose your job and it becomes nearly impossible to get another one.
Homeless people living out of cars spend their day looking for a safe place to park, a dollar for gas, something to eat, a bathroom… When you sleep in your car, you don’t dare invite trouble by opening a window, it becomes a stifling oven.
You live every day dirty, tired, hungry and scared.
Broken and hopeless, finally willing to do anything to break free from addiction, I ended up (by the Grace of God!) at House of Hope.
Now, I am learning what it means to have a relationship with God.
I have stopped being angry with Him.
I have begun to accept His love for me. AND, I am loving Him in return.
This love is healing the wounds that kept me in addiction.
Experientially, I am walking out the truth that I don't have to live in bondage anymore.
God has given me a future! I believe that because of my struggle and healing, I am uniquely positioned to help others with addiction. So, upon completion of my program here at House of Hope I want to train and lead other residents in the program as an intern.
What a joy to think of offering hope to others as hopeless as I was. With my life, I want to prove that God never wastes a hurt!