Hi, I’m Shelley. I’m from Virginia and this is my story of recovery. I grew up in a broken home with my two brothers. By the age of 10 we were forced to become self-reliant. I perceived that I was not really loved nor wanted. I could not understand why I wasn’t important enough or good enough for my parents to want to be with me.
Bulimic & Suicidal
Around the age of 13 I had become bulimic. By 15 I had attempted suicide and was hospitalized for three months only to come out using drugs, alcohol, and hanging with the wrong crowd. I felt angry, sad and alone. Then a very immoral event took place in my life when I was 16, which would set me onto a path of self-destruction for the course of my life.
My Life Was Out of Control
I’ve had two failed marriages and have struggled in each one, only to end up going back to my old pattern of drugs, alcohol, and living a sinful life. However, during this time, my family and I all accepted Jesus as our Savior. Eventually, God blessed me with three beautiful children. But even with a beautiful family and my salvation, the sin in my life consumed me. It was paralyzing me! I was involved with cocaine and alcohol on a daily basis. And even my eating disorder would resurface periodically. My life was out of control once again, only this time, I had three children and a job to hold down!
I was surrounded with sin. I knew it was all wrong, but I couldn’t seem to make my way back this time. My guilt and shame were so heavy. I couldn’t pray, I couldn’t look to God, and I couldn’t be a good mother. I was no longer able to keep a job. Honestly, I didn’t even want to feel anymore, and I didn’t care if I saw another tomorrow. What I needed was recovery. After confiding in my older brother Todd who knew about RU, I agreed to go into the women’s home. He brought me to Rockford, IL from Virginia on December 5, 2006. My entire family rallied together to support me. I had run from God and myself my whole life. Now, I don’t want to run anymore. I desperately need and want God, and I want to be the woman God wants me to be.
The Residential Recovery Program
Throughout the RU Recovery Program, there had been many challenges, struggles, valleys, and mountain tops. The Residential Recovery Program was hard. I had been removed from the things and people that I would have previously turned to for temporary relief of the pain that I was feeling.
God has now become my strength, my hope, and my comforter. He carries me through each day. I call on Him, and He answers me. He shows me that He loves me. My eyes are now open, and I know that God is the only one who can restore me. He is always faithful, even when I am not. He calls me to depend on Him for all my needs. My fear becomes less and my faith becomes stronger as my relationship with the Lord grows. As my love for God grows, so does my love for others. I am able to feel again. Now I am able to know joy and peace. I pray for continued growth and strength in the Lord and that He will use me to reach and help others find recovery.
I Want Everyone to Know the Love of God & Have Their Own Story of Recovery
I want everyone to know the love of God. They need to know that as long as they have God, no matter what the circumstances are in life, Jesus Christ will carry them through it and they can have victory in Him. He can do anything! I thank God for the opportunity to be the mother, daughter, sister, and friend that brings glory to Him. God has blessed me in so many ways and answered so many prayers. I spend time in the Bible, praying, journaling, and meditating on the things that He reveals to me through His Word. God has surrounded me with leaders, counselors, sisters, and brothers in Christ who help me to grow.
There are daily lessons of living a life of victory through Jesus Christ. God has blessed me with incredible friendships and fellowship with my sisters in Christ. He has placed me in a position where I am being taught to work and develop my skills (yet another answer to prayer). I attend North Love Baptist Church, where the presence of God is seen and felt everywhere. With all these blessings, I cannot help but praise God and thank Him for each new day in Christ.