My name is Tammy and I grew up in a small town in southwest Michigan. I had a mother, a father, a younger brother, and an older sister. We attended the local Baptist church where I was both saved and baptized by the age of 12. My family, for the most part, appeared to be very “normal” and my parents, probably like a lot of parents, fought some.
I was around 12 when my parents sat all of us down and said there was going to be a divorce. We were told that my father would be leaving and that we would have a new father. After that discussion, we really didn’t attend church too much after that. Around this same time, my mother ran around with a lot of men and I started drinking and smoking weed here and there and then eventually every weekend.
When I was 16 years old, I met a guy and we moved in together at the tender age of 17. We drank and smoked every day. I got pregnant when I was 22, so we decided to get married. I stopped drinking and smoking when I was pregnant. I worked hard at controlling the marriage relationship until my brother died (I was 23 at the time) and my husband then took control. From this point forward, I was mentally abused and controlled by my husband. In order to cope with a new baby, the death of my brother, and this controlling and abusive behavior, I began smoking weed once again.
When I was 40, my husband came home one night and talked me into trying crack cocaine, AND I…FELL..IN…LOVE…WITH…IT. Smoking crack became our normal Friday night routine for a year and then I decided to leave him.
Once I left him and our daughter was away at college in New York for the next 5 years, I smoked crack all day, every day. It was during this time frame that I met a man and lived with him for 8 years. Eight years of smoking crack 24/7 and then we broke up. Unfortunately, the breakup was only with the man, not the crack. I began traveling to the City where we would once go together and purchase the crack by myself for the next year, eventually, I started risking more and more and started going there and staying for days, weeks, or months AND I wouldn’t answer my phone.
My family was incredibly worried about me but I was in a hateful world. A world where I was taken advantage of and lived in and out of drug houses, selling pills. In all of this chaos, I had a violent stalker constantly chasing me. He took me hostage and raped me continuously for 12 hours. Somehow, I got away.
I then sold my house and spent every dime of the money on drugs. I received $23,000.00 in back disability pay and spent every dollar of that on drugs. The inheritance I received of $8,000.00 was also spent on drugs. It was not unusual for me to stay up for 3 to 10 days at a time and I ruined my car during this time. I was feeding myself by scamming fast food restaurants or digging into the garbage cans for something to eat. I cleaned up in public restrooms and wouldn’t change clothes for a week at a time. I resorted to holding up signs, begging for money, and in my desperation, I stole $2000.00 from my own mother to purchase more crack.
When I received 3 felony charges within 3 months I knew it was time to stop, in fact, I wanted to stop. I was so determined to stop that I went to rehab 5 times and was in 3 transitional homes. But crack is cunning and sneaky.
But God is more merciful and full of grace than crack. It was my daughter who found Grace Centers of Hope. When I arrived here at Grace, I was able to connect back with that God I knew as a child and discovered it wasn’t Him who turned away, but me. I love it here, there is peace, there is a love of God unlike any other and I believe He saved my life by bringing me here. I matter to God.
Nothing else worked before Grace.
Today, I am free of my addiction to crack because of everything Grace has offered me. Every need was met through the grace of God. I have experienced true healing and joy WITHOUT drugs.