Erin* was just 4 years old when she and her 1-year-old brother were taken from their drug-addicted mother, Diane*. Erin still remembers sitting in the back of the police car, filthy and hungry, watching officers drag her unconscious mother from their house.
After a chaotic foster home, Erin went to live with her grandparents. “They were amazing . . . they gave me what I needed to have a chance.” But the pain of absent parents ran deep and Erin desperately wanted to be with her mother. “I would beg my grandparents to let my mom visit us, then she wouldn’t come. She was in and out of jail all the time—but I was too young to understand . . .” When Erin was 15, her mother went to jail. Through inmate programs her mom got sober, and seemed to be able to maintain her sobriety after her release. To Erin, it seemed like things were finally okay, and that she and her mother and brothers would finally be together. But within months, Diane was doing meth again. Erin was devastated.
“I was too young to understand what was going on.”
Erin got a part-time job and managed to graduate high school a year early, but she was starting to use drugs to cope with her pain. Then her mom went to prison again. “A few weeks later someone offered me meth.”
“I had that moment where I thought, ‘This is going to ruin my life. It already has.’ But I did it anyway, and I was hooked.”
“When Mom got out of prison,she was devastated to see me. I’d been a straight-A student, a Girl Scout, played soccer. Six months into my addiction, I was 100 pounds.”
A Devastated Daughter…and a Broken Cycle of Pain
Looking back, Erin can’t believe she wasn’t seriously harmed or worse. She thanks God for His protection.
Erin’s life was a mess, and she knew it, but she was too ashamed to return home to her grandparents. The only way she could cope was to get high. She went with men who beat her so badly she couldn’t walk, gang members who threatened her — one even held a gun to her head. “There were a lot of times I thought I was going to be killed for sure this time.”
Fortunately, she was arrested first — along with a man who had just told her that someone he knew had gotten her life together at Shepherd’s Gate.
“I’d been a straight-A student. Six months later, I was totally gone.”
In jail, Erin knew she had to change her life. She started calling Shepherd’s Gate and writing letters to our intake coordinator every month. “I was desperate for recovery and knew I had to have a bed at Shepherd’s Gate when the time came.”
Erin thrived at Shepherd’s Gate in our long-term recovery program. “I had so many goals when I got here. I wanted to clean up my record, go to school, get a job, and build a life on my own. All of these goals I have accomplished.” Though Erin’s mom is still trapped in addiction, Erin has rebuilt her relationship with her grandparents and has earned their trust again.
“But nothing compares to the realization that God has been working in my life even before I knew it. The faith and the strength He has given me is truly the greatest blessing I have received at Shepherd’s Gate.” Erin is simply grateful that supporters like you gave her that opportunity!
Erin is just 22 years old. Thanks to you, she has a chance to start a NEW LIFE!
“He lifted me out of the pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock and put a new song in my mouth.” Psalm 40:2
*Name changed to protect privacy.