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John and his identical twin suffered extreme physical abuse at the hands of their stepdad. The boys began lashing out. In third grade, their self-esteem was even more deeply damaged when their teachers said they were “mentally retarded.”
However, both of them graduated from high school with high GPAs. Still, the darkness from their past followed them.
Trying to find an escape, John began smoking marijuana when he was just 10 years old, which led to drug and alcohol abuse… and finally prison time.
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Rachel never knew what it was like to be a carefree little girl. She never had a parent she could rely on. She had to grow up way too fast.
“My mother had a problem with alcohol so I had to raise my little sister, work full time, and go to school,” she says.
When Rachel was 13, she started drinking just to fit in, but it soon became an addiction. “It got to the point where I’d drink until everything was gone,” she says. “I ended up with alcohol poisoning quite a few times.”
Lee was reared in a Christian home and came to Christ when he was 16, but when he moved out, he ran from his faith. “I started drinking, smoking weed, snorting cocaine, and doing LSD,” he says. “I used for nearly 20 years.”
Then Lee got clean, started a family, and stayed home to rear his children. But, after 13 years of marriage, his wife kicked him out, and he found himself homeless. It was then he first turned to the Mission for help. “I had a place to stay, three meals a day, classes, and work to do,” he says. “I was so grateful.” “I withdrew from society into my own little world.”
Lee graduated from our Christian Discipleship Program, got a job, and moved into his own place. All seemed to be running smoothly for a couple of years, until he had an emotional breakdown. “I went off the deep end,” he says.
Morgan began using meth in junior high, the start of an addiction that would take over her life. “From the age of 13 to 32, there wasn’t a two-week span that I wasn’t drinking, taking pills, or smoking weed,” she says. “It cost me my apartment, my job, my family, everything.”
Morgan wound up living in a motorhome and working at a local club.
“I was drinking and drugging from the time I woke up to the time I passed out,” she says.
Then she read This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti and it had a profound effect.
Nicole’s childhood was unlike most… she was introduced to alcohol and drugs at 14. “I drank and drugged with my parents. It was pretty much our family time.”
With Nicole’s father in prison for years, she didn’t have the chance to be close to him. Even when he was released, she was moving around and isolating herself with negative relationships, drug use and homelessness.
When Nicole returned to try and patch her relationship with her father, they had a short time of getting closer and creating memories, minus the drugs. But shortly after, he passed away.
Holly was a sad and lonely little girl.
“I didn’t have much of a home life. My dad was always away and my mom was always busy working,” she says. “I had a lot of depression and anger.”
When she was 14, Holly began drinking and smoking pot, habits that escalated over the next 10 years. Eventually, she lost custody of her three children and came to Great Falls Rescue Mission for help. “That’s when I first came to God,” she says.
Can you imagine what it’s like to have a child taken from your family?
That’s the tragedy Eric and his wife faced when their nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with severe mental health issues and placed in Shodair Children’s Hospital.
“She was gone for months,” Eric says. “It just broke our hearts.”
It could happen to anyone…
When his marriage ended and Albert lost his place to live, his life “fell apart.”
He was wary about coming to the Mission, and it hasn’t all been “smooth sailing,” but Albert says, “it’s a real blessing.”
“The Mission welcomed me with open arms and I went into the discipleship program, which turned my life with the Lord around.”
After 13 years of using meth (a very addictive drug), Lynne was saved in 2000 – but then “life” interfered. “I got a good job managing a mini storage. It came with a house. I was making good money and running everything myself,” Lynne says.
Her kids grew up and left home, and “the devil got a hold.” “As long as the kids were with me, I didn’t do drugs,” she says. However, with them gone, she got “sucked back” into using drugs again.
Lynne quit going to church. She was successful, so she “walked her own walk.” Then God started “taking things away.” Her mother died in September and she lost a grandson to SIDS in October. The following March, her drug use cost her her job and with it, her house.