Saturday, September 22, 2012
On The Way Back Up
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- Regina’s past haunts her to death.
Regina started her story by talking about her marriage-a bad one. Like many people, she thought that getting married would change her life for the better. However, it didn’t, and things just got progressively worse. Attempting to deal with the hatred and anger she felt, Regina fell into a life of drinking and drugs.
Regina described her life at that time as a “lot of darkness.” She added, “I can’t really blame anyone but me … I made bad choices. They say you learn from your mistakes but don’t do them anymore. That’s very true.”
Regina said her actions caused a lot of hurt for her boys, but it was hard to deal with all the pain and the variety of emotions she was experiencing. As a result, Regina said, she failed as a mother to her three sons, raised by her sister, and that’s something they remember. Regina said her sons call her sister “mom.”
Regina said her sister “gets all the gifts that a mother gets from her sons. “That’s ok because I accepted that she deserves everything and I’m so grateful that she took care of my boys.”
Regina said while her sons are “really good kids,” they are dealing with issues for which she said she feels responsible. Her oldest son, she said, is 29 and still very angry with her.
Regina said, “Being a grandma is supposed to be an exciting thing. Not for me. It’s the saddest thing to me. I can’t be a grandma to these kids. My son and his girlfriend won’t even let me see my grandkids. They want me to change my life around. They want to see if I’m really ‘for reals,’ and if I’m going to be around or if I’m going to take off again like I do. I ran away from everything instead of dealing with things and now I have to deal with this mess. They don’t want me to cause pain to my grandkids.”
However, Regina said, she wants an opportunity to love and care for her grandkids and be a real grandma. She said she believes that God will help her have a family again, and until then she is just going to wait on Him and let Him work things out.
She continued, “I just know He is going to give me some of these beautiful miracles that He has for everyone that really wants them badly. I really do. Sometimes I want to give up and go back to my bad ways, but I don’t because I want to change so bad.”
Regina said her second son is almost 28, and they don’t have a mother/son relationship. However, she said, she’s working on that. Right now, he has been staying away from her.
Regina said her third son is almost 22. She said, “He’s a special kid. I named him Jesus.”
However, Regina continued, “I had to give him up to foster care in Arizona, because I couldn’t care for him and I was drugging at the time. That’s the hardest thing I had to do, but he followed my steps because he’s in jail now for selling drugs. I guess I really don’t know what’s happening with him. All I know is that my baby needs me more than ever.”
Regina said she has thought about going over to Arizona to see if she can help her son.
She added, “Since his father isn’t there for him, I will be. I hope he can forgive me for everything I have done to him; all the pain I caused on his life.”
Regina said she stopped doing drugs in 2006, and has been clean for six years. She said, “I thought I would never stop but I called on God’s help. He got me through this addiction. I have no desire for this drug. It doesn’t bother me anymore.”
She told me that prior to coming to Joy Junction she lived on the street. I asked her what finally brought her to the shelter.
She said, “I … wanted to change my life. I was just tired of doing nothing and I knew my life wouldn’t get better none unless I changed, try to change it.”
I asked her about staying at Joy Junction Homeless Shelter. She said, “It’s like my family. I like it here and I could do my program, and I’m serving God now too. I hope to go back to school when I finish my program to get my high school diploma.”
She added, “And maybe get a job. I don’t know. It’s hard for me ’cause I’m old.”
When I told Regina she wasn’t old she responded, “But they don’t like old people. They like young people.”
I asked Regina where she would have been without Joy Junction. She said, “Probably in the streets still.”
Regina told me her one wish. She said, “I would be so happy to follow the way God wants me to follow.”
Regina said she has a lot of people counting on her and she isn’t going to give up.
I wondered what Regina would say to our donors, who make possible the ongoing operation of Joy Junction by their faithful giving.
She said, “To keep giving us so we can stay here and get food and whatever else we need here. For all of these people.”
Resident Services Manager Joel Steen said Regina has struggled with some depression over her past and with feelings of failure and inadequacy.
However, he added, “She has blossomed one day at a time in her recovery. She took the bold step of writing down her testimony and reading it in front of the entire Christ in Power Program class. She remains clean and sober and desires to help others, evidenced in her enjoyment of her volunteering occasionally on our Lifeline truck and in her honest participation in the CIPP (life recovery) classes.”
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