My mum and dad split up when I was just a baby. Dad and I still spent time together and were very close but when I was 12 my dad remarried, and our relationship ended. This sent me into a spiral and my problems started then. I started taking ICE and then marijuana and alcohol. I left home when I was just 13 and went to live with my Grandma, who was a woman of faith, but it didn’t work out, and I became homeless. I was an alcoholic and lived on the streets for about 10 years.
My life felt hopeless, and I felt trapped. My closest friend committed suicide. I was running out of options and was very weary. When I first went to Teen Challenge, I expected it to be like jail. I can compare the two because I have been to jail, but TC is nothing like jail at all. I thought going to TC would be the worst thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t have traded this opportunity for any other one. I found Teen Challenge and my life has changed. I am grateful I can now do life sober. I don’t need to worry about how I will function in six hours when I am coming down off drugs. I now start my day with a prayer saying, “Whatever troubles come my way, God give your strength to get me through it.”
I have had a complete turnaround. I am looking forward to a future of freedom and purpose. I spent a year in the program and want to give back by volunteering at the women’s rehab. This will give me time to integrate all I have learnt in the program and help the women settle into the program at the same time. The changes in my life have ripple effect on my family and friends. My time at Teen Challenge has changed more than just my life.
*Name and image changed to protect privacy