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As a teen, Carolyn seemed to be on the right track. She came from a good home, was a star athlete in high school, and, by appearances, had it together. But she now sees she was fooling herself. Years of misery were on the way. She just didn’t know it. All it took was using meth one time. “I spiraled down and started participating in risky behavior,” Carolyn says. By the time she was 17, her parents had thrown her out of the house. She was able to live with boyfriends or couch surf. Somehow, she finished high school. From time to time, her parents would let her move home. But she’d always end up being asked to leave again.

By the time she was in her 20s, Carolyn was regularly high. She managed to hold a job and keep a roof over her head much of the time. And sometimes, she’d have months — or even years — of sobriety. But it was only through sheer force of will. She’d inevitably relapse. As years of addiction went by, she was often homeless. Carolyn says, she could usually stay with someone. “I was staying where I could and with whomever I could and having to do things I didn’t want to do,” she says. Eventually, though, she’d again be taking her chances on the dangerous streets. “Being on the street was terrible, humiliating, exhausting,” she says. “I slept in the park, in the bushes, or in my parents’ garage.” Several times, they had her arrested. “I was living in chaos.” By the time she was in her early 30s, Carolyn had a child. But her addiction and homelessness made parenting impossible. Child Protective Services stepped in and took her young son away.

That’s when she heard about the Rescue Mission. Here Carolyn received the help she needed to get back on track, including classes in addiction recovery, parenting, and Bible study. Since coming to our Village of Hope, Carolyn says, “I’ve had a renewing of the mind and a changing of the heart. It’s only by the grace of God and the Rescue Mission that I have been able to change.” Thanks to her dramatic transformation, Carolyn’s son is back with her. They’re growing and healing together. Today, she’s preparing for employment, perhaps as a social worker, and “looking forward to being a happy, productive member of society and a loving, healthy mom.” “Thanks to the Mission, and the Lord changing me,” she says, “I have my son back. I don’t do anything right unless I have Jesus.”

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