Hello, my name is Terri. I grew up with 2 older brothers and a single mom who worked a lot, so our house was always the party house. I started drinking VERY young, at around 8 or 9 years old. I never drank to just get buzzed, it was ALWAYS about getting drunk. I started having blackouts right away, and soon the constant lying about my addiction had begun. Stealing, drugs, sex, and heavy shame became a constant part of my life. Both of my brothers were also addicts, which made it more normal for me at the time. I was only 19 years old when one of my brothers committed suicide while heavily intoxicated. Even though I could see the damage that my using had created, I still carried on full force with my addiction.
Many years later, my other brother got very sick and almost died, but ended up turning his life over to God instead of his continued addiction. I had been to numerous inpatient rehabs in the past but I never stayed sober for very long. I got married and divorced twice, and 3 beautiful, amazing children had come from those marriages. Even though I was a mom and I LOVED my kids, I just couldn’t get sober. I spent time in jail more than once and then ended up getting a 3rd DUI felony at 40 years old.
Fast forward to 50 years old, I was now simply out of options. This is when I decided to come to Grace Centers Of Hope. I only planned on staying until I found somewhere else to go, just something temporary. Every time I tried to leave, something or someone always stopped me. After being in the program for almost 8 months, I left for the weekend to celebrate my youngest daughter’s 14 birthday and ended up drinking for 2 days straight. I embarrassed my daughters by fighting with my mother and lost EVERYTHING in my purse. I lost my ID, my glasses, and my money. I realized now that my family didn’t want anything to do with me, and that’s when a switch turned in my brain. This was rock bottom…
Thankfully, GCH let me come back after my drinking bender. At first, I just wanted to die, I even thought about ways to do it. I couldn’t find any hope in my life and still wanted to kill myself, but people at Grace would hug me, and I would feel God’s presence in a profound way. I have no doubt, that God works through people in your life so that you can see the light. I soon started to pray on my knees every night, just for a glimmer of hope. I was on a lockdown where I couldn’t leave, and that’s when I started working weekends in the kitchen. I put my focus on planning a beautiful Christmas dinner. This would be my 1st Christmas EVER, not spent with my family. After some more sadness and doubt, I realized something…. I was OKAY! I had this sudden presence of God guiding me, and I completely lost all desire to drink. It was honestly like God just took my heaviest burden from me. A little time later, I was asked to be an assistant kitchen supervisor. Less than a year after that, I was made a full-time kitchen supervisor!
My family slowly started to come around me again, and my relationship with my children is now AMAZING! Do you know what I have realized? I DO NOT have to be embarrassed or ashamed of myself anymore. I graduated from the residential program at GCH and stayed in the aftercare program for over 3 years, all while running the women’s kitchen. I now have a beautiful house of my own, about a mile from where I work. What keeps me sober these days, is my love for the women we help, the love from my children, and the love from MYSELF. I very freely tell the woman my story, and how God had saved me. I believe that I’m proof that there is always hope with God by your side. It’s now been 6 and a half years since I first arrived at Grace. All these years and I still try my best to make the meals special for the residents. God is working through me now, and helping me to show His love for them as well!