Atlanta, GA


Jaclyn: I smoked my first blunt when I was 13 years old. After that I pretty much consistently used drugs. 

I wasn't raised to believe in God or not to believe in God.  Both of my parents worked. I think they were just concerned with putting food on the table and making sure we were OK, but no spiritual anything. 

Where I grew up in Florida there was gas stations on every corner, but in Atlanta there's a church on every corner, so inevitably [when I moved here] I ran into these people who would talk to me about God. [Sometimes] we would smoke a bunch of crystal meth and we would talk about spiritual stuff. I would read the Bible and talk to God and I started believing. 

So I kept seeking God and he revealed himself to me. When I was 19 something life changing happened. I was at the dope man's house and I met this man there named Richard. I was talking to him about God and he said I should meet his sister. I met her and ended up going to church with her. It was a pentecostal church in Mableton, GA. I was high as a kite. I think I'd swallowed some meth before I went in. I had drugs in my purse, wore a mini skirt, and I'd been up for three days.

At the end of the service, they had the alter call. I went up, knelt down and prayed and this lady put her hand on my back. When she did, I felt like an electric shock throughout my body.  I hate to compare it to drugs, but it's what I know so well. Drugs change the way you feel and when she put her hand on my back it changed the way I felt. It was out of this world. It was real. So real. It blew my mind. 

So, I believed in God and I believed He could take away my addiction. I repented and I told God that I wanted to give my life to him and be obedient. I wanted him so desperately, just so bad. [tears]

 One morning I went up to the altar and I prayed. A woman came up and prayed behind me. She put her hand on me and immediately I started speaking in tongues. I had the holy ghost. In that instant my addiction was gone. The next morning I didn't want to get high anymore. I wanted to read my Bible and I wanted to know more about Jesus. 

My addiction to drugs was replaced by an addiction to Jesus. I didn't drink, do drugs, smoke, curse, and I dressed modestly.  God was changing me. It's like in the fall when leaves fall off the tree. They don't all fall off at once, but as they're ready, God would take those layers of sin and  turn me into this beautiful thing. It was amazing. 

The same thing happened for Richard, and we got married. When I got saved, I went to college and got a degree in nursing. I was a R.N. at Grady hospital for seven years.  I was a charge nurse there, but I had to step down from that role after I started smoking crack. 

I moved to Charleston, West Virginia in August of 2016 [with Richard and two kids]. I was on drugs real bad here in Atlanta.  We wanted to clean up and have a better life, so we thought maybe a change of environment would help.

Nine months later, I had accepted a position at a medical center in Bradenton Florida, so  I got out of my lease, sold all the furniture, packed up the car and we were headed out. We were in the bathroom at Kroger, shooting meth. We got caught and got arrested. They didn't find drugs, however, my five year old and seven year old were out in the car. They slapped me with a felony child abuse and neglect charge. 

So when we got out of jail, we had nothing. No house to go to. We  stayed in the area because my kids were placed in state care. We were homeless for a few months and came back here in September after my mom hired an attorney to get the kids home.

This is my worst nightmare, my worst fear, and it came true. It was all my fault, based on my decisions The guilt is horrible. I feel selfish to even have guilt. I have kids and they're waiting for me to clean up my shit and I'm not doing it.