Brianna’s Story:

Living at home with her parents and her three small children certainly wasn’t the plan she had imagined for her life. She had been a phlebotomist and had also been going to school to get her degree in nursing, but the cost of her education was weighing heavy on her, so she ended up dropping out. Her mom, a DHS worker, was more than happy to have the grandkids around. Saving all of her money though, Brianna was set on moving out on her own, and she was excited about it! She thought things were coming together for her, slowly but surely, until a horrific and emotionally scarring event would put the brakes on all her plans.

The dogs were going nuts, and the kids weren’t much better. The man at the door patiently waited as she took her babies and the dogs to the back of the house, where her mother, ill, was sleeping like a rock. “I just need to check the gas lines and make sure there aren’t any problems,” he had told her reassuringly, as she came back to let him in. This is normal, right? she thought as the man came through the front door. But it wasn’t normal. It was far from normal. It was an act. Now all alone, as the man quickly approached her, the small-framed Brianna couldn’t fight, and screaming was futile with her mother sleeping off the flu medicine in the back of the house. There was nothing she could do but accept her fate as the man sexually assaulted her right there in her parents’ living room.

When it was all over, she struggled with what to do. She was embarrassed and ashamed that she had let him in, that she couldn’t defend herself, and the list of things she would use to torture herself for months to come went on. She resolved not to tell anyone. There was no reason to upset her mother, who no doubt would be fraught with guilt and pain that it had happened while she was there. The best thing Brianna could do was keep it to herself. She wasn’t handling it well though. The pain and shame she felt was too much, and she needed to escape it, to just forget about it for a while. So, she drank.

She drank a lot. And then she drank some more. One night, drunk and not able to fully control herself, her secret came spilling out to her parents’. They were devastated. The cops were called and an investigation began. The secret was out, but her agony was staying in. On a mission to protect their family, her parents put cameras up everywhere and took every safety precaution they could. Despite all that, she still insisted on moving out on her own. She told herself she had it under control. So, she and her 3 small children moved out and into an apartment. The drinking was starting to affect her job though, and she was eventually forced to quit. The alcohol was consuming every aspect of her life, but she needed it to numb all the pain. She couldn’t hold down a job and struggled to take care of her children, so she sent them to live with her parents.

It was only a matter of time before she lost her apartment, but her mom was right there to help her out and let her move back in, provided of course that she wouldn’t drink. Her commitment to that rule was short-lived, and she was forced to move back out. A friend let her come stay with him, but an alcoholic himself, she was headed even further down the wrong path. One night on a drunken rampage, she went to her mother’s house, the two women got into a fight where the cops had to be called out, and in her impaired state, she assaulted a police officer. Some other friends put her up in a hotel room for a couple weeks, but out of money, out of help, and nowhere else to turn, she was referred to Gospel Rescue Mission.

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Being a sober-living facility, she had no choice but to give up her drinking, and it’s been one of the best things she’s done. She says being here “…was stressful at first, but I’ve been sober for three weeks, and I don’t even miss it.” She currently serves on the hospitality team in the Work Start Program, where she is doing a great job. Although she did have to set her college dreams to the side earlier in life, she wants to try again someday, but change her field of study to law and become a lawyer, helping others who can’t help themselves. She just got a job as well, in fact, the day we sat down to write her story was her very first day. She plans on saving every penny so that she can get back into an apartment of her own and once again live with her children. Her and her mom’s relationship is still strong, and she sees her kids twice a week.

It’s a slow process to rebuild, but with the grace of God, and His healing hand, things are going to start coming up for Brianna!

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