As a child, we don’t really understand how our environment shapes us and molds us in either a positive and productive way or in a harmful negative way. For Leslie, the slums of the big city where drugs and criminal activity ran rampant, had a deep impact, not just on her, but her entire family. Not a person she lived with was sober or clean, and as she grew up, she too turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with her problems. Addiction had control of her before she had ever even begun to really live.
She moved to Texas, had three children, but because of her life in addiction, she lost custody of them. She was devastated, but without ever building any proper coping skills, the only way she knew to fix the pain was to dive deeper into her addiction. She was in a full tailspin.
It wasn’t until a few years later when her sister hit rock bottom and went to prison that she knew something had to give. That affected her deeply, and she started to realize that she needed to find a better path in life. She decided to start taking steps toward sobriety. While she struggled to ever get fully clean, she was making a lot of progress from where she had been a short time ago. And this is where we find Leslie today as she checked into Gospel Rescue Mission. Freshly sober for the first time in years, she’s ready to give all that life up and develop new strategies to help her deal with her grief and cope with the traumas from her past.
“I’ve been to several shelters, but this place is so different,” she said. “It feels good to know I’m someplace where someone actually cares enough to hold me accountable.” She’s working on getting her IDs, something she had been without for years, preventing her from finding any solid employment, and our Work Start Program is providing job training to help her develop a positive work ethic to carry her far into the future. She is also working with Green Country to help her get a better grip on her mental health. And while Leslie has a solid plan for her future, we are also prepared for the hardest part of the road ahead of her.
There comes this peace after a few weeks of being sober, where you feel invincible, like you’ve got sobriety under control and nothing can shake you. But it’s during this time that you are actually the most vulnerable. The devil uses it to trick you, and he whispers to you, “Hey, you’re feeling a little sick. Just have one hot toddy, you can handle it!” And you think, “Yeah! I can handle it!” But one drink becomes two, then three, then you’re back in the weeds of your addiction, starting all over again. It’s a slippery slope.
We are here to guide our guests and provide support to them as they are navigating this treacherous part of the path. With classes like our Freedom Club at 6pm Monday nights, and Celebrate Recovery at New Hope Baptist Church, plus a slue of other addiction recovery groups, we have many support teams in our community ready to help our guests to get through it. By showing them the love of Christ and helping to hold them accountable to the goals they’ve set for themselves, we can help them find their way to the road to recovery through the transforming power of the Gospel.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, there are many resources available right here in Muskogee and our surrounding areas. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Contact GRM at 918-682-3489 for more information about our program or information about Celebrate Recovery at New Hope (Fridays at 7pm) can be found at https://www.newhopemuskogee.com/our-ministries.