Children are very perceptive. What you think is happening behind closed doors isn’t as disguised as you might think. For Tiffany, when her parents snuck into the bathroom and locked the door, it was obvious there was a secret being kept from her, and she was curious to know what was going on. Eventually, she discovered that it was heroine. Rather than be scared, she was intrigued.
Her parents got divorced and her mom got custody, however, living just down the street from her grandmother, it was her who did most of Tiffany’s raising. Her mom decided to get clean, but during her withdrawals, little 8-year-old Tiffany watched her mother have a full-blown seizure, which was very traumatizing. Because of these early experiences with drugs, she was more susceptible to drug and alcohol use herself, and that fact would prove to be very true.
At age 12, she began drinking here and there, but by 13 she was drinking heavily, often, and topping the liquor off with high doses of Quaalude to boot, earning her the nickname of “The Quaalude Queen.” She took so many that she would often pass out, completely unaware of her surroundings. She once passed out near a heater and melted the skin of her arm off. In another incident, she was cooking, started passing out, and put all her weight on her hand to catch herself. Her hand, however, fell to rest on the electric-coil stove top, giving her a severe circular burn across her palm. She knew this wasn’t the life she wanted to lead and knew it was time for change. At age 15, she decided to try and get clean.
Then one day, scrolling through the TV channels, Tiffany landed on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network). It was like the preacher that was speaking was talking to directly to her, softening her heart with God’s word, and she was saved that day. Although she wasn’t ready to walk the walk quite yet, she carried Jesus in her heart, and he wouldn’t stop working on her, even 20+ years later.
She was tempted by the ways of the world though, and she was presented with an opportunity to become a lingerie model, even though she was only 17. She was earning a living, out on her own, and then she fell for a guy. She could hear God telling her to leave that one alone; so strong in fact, it was nearly audible. But as teenagers do, she ignored the advice, and they started a relationship. It was unhealthy to say the least. He was abusive and an addict, but in a form that was new to her. He shot up. At first, she was leery, but she gave in after a while, and her sobriety was crushed. Despite everything falling apart in her world, she wanted a baby more than anything else. She became pregnant with a little girl and decided to clean up her act again. He wouldn’t give it up, but she was committed to try to make things work. They had another baby, a baby boy, but the stress of their rocky marriage plus his addiction acting as a trigger for her, she relapsed. Her daughter, resentful of her, went to live with Tiffany’s sister, and her son went into DHS custody, where he eventually aged out of foster care and ended up in a juvenile detention center. Her life was in shambles, but she knew what she needed to do.
She left him and started going to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) to regain her sobriety. “It’s not about the drugs and alcohol,” she explained. “It’s about what triggers you to use them.” She was starting to learn about her own character defects and began praying for God to remove them. She was making substantial progress, but just like Satan likes to do when he feels that he’s starting to lose, he slung temptations back in her way. Her son, now out of lock up, had a place of his own. He had taken Tiffany in, but when his dad, still using, asked to move in too, he couldn’t tell him no. Tiffany fought off the triggers the best she could, but it came to a point where she knew she needed to get out or risk a relapse, so she left. Back on the streets though, the triggers were even worse, and she fell back into addiction.
She was an emotional wreck. She went on a 3-week bender before landing in Monarch, an addiction rehabilitation facility. After completing that program, she came to Gospel Rescue Mission, where she is now 4 months sober. This time around though, it’s different. “I just don’t want it,” she said matter-of-factly, “All the other times I craved it, but it’s like God just removed the desire from me.” Although addiction is a long road of recovery, relapse is part of the process. Sometimes it takes a few tries, and a few fails, before you fully understand your triggers and how to avoid them, and start relying on your higher power, God, to fill that void.
Now, Tiffany is on a new track. Once she is ready, she is wanting to help restore others to sobriety by leading a 12-step program or women’s bible study. Faith has been a huge part of her recovery, and she wants to share that message of God’s grace and mercy. As for a career, a fun fact about Tiffany is that she used to be a dog groomer. She aspires to own her own dog grooming business someday once she’s back on her feet. While the road ahead of her is long and winding, she has a goal that she is focused on. By keeping it in the front of her mind, keeping Jesus close to her heart, taking ownership in her mistakes, and not dwelling on the past, she has a great shot at sticking with it!