Wednesday, October 3, 2012
No Longer an Addict
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- Coming to Albuquerque and Joy Junction was for Shelley a return to God’s will, her recovery and spirituality.
Shelley said she was at Joy Junction initially for three weeks, and then she left for three weeks, which she called a major mistake here. She returned to continue Joy Junction’s life recovery program.
Shelley told me things are now going quite well for her. She said, “I think finally, after close to two-and-a-half years, I have actually reached my second step (of 12 steps). I actually feel like it was kind of a blessing (coming here), and this is where I was meant to be.”
Knowing that many people don’t really know what it’s like to battle an addiction, I asked Shelley what it’s like to crave a drink or a drug.
She said that it becomes the most important thing on your mind. She continued, “You put it before anybody and anything else, because you don't want to deal with what's going on. You don't want to deal with what you're feeling. You just get used to the idea that it's easier to go through life, you know, numb.”
I told Shelley that’s what makes you an addict in the first place. The substance which you crave masks the pain of addressing issues you should be dealing with, but can't.
Shelley agreed, saying, “You convince yourself that you're dealing with them as you go out and drink and drug about them, but you're not. You don't feel any of it.”
I asked Shelley if she had ever slept outside in Albuquerque. She said she had slept outside another local mission when she voluntarily left Joy Junction.
Shelley explained, “I left with people that had (substance abuse issues), and before I came back I spent a night out in front of (that mission). That was not fun.”
The experience was really scary, Shelley said. “The sidewalk there and the drug dealer coming by. He scared me and woke me up, telling me to shut up and then finally he swore at me and it wasn't fun. And the line of 12 other people who didn't have any place else to go.”
After that, Shelley returned to the safety of Joy Junction. I asked her how staying with us has helped her.
She said, “I think I've come farther in my recovery with my addiction and personally than I have in the (almost) three years that I've gotten sober ... Two years and nine months since I stopped drinking or drugging.”
Shelley said having a relationship with God has helped her. Looking back, she realizes that God had given her signs about her life. When she did it her way, didn’t listen to Him, and abused alcohol and drugs, things became bad pretty quickly. However, when she did things His way, things turned around. So much so, Shelley said, that God has taken away the compulsion for her to drink.
She praised Joy Junction’s life recovery program. “The Christ in Power Program. It's really wonderful .. especially for people in addiction even for people that aren't in addiction and it needs to continue.”
However, Shelley said, she still asks the Lord daily for help not to drink.
I asked Shelley what she would say to our donors who have allowed Joy Junction to operate for over 26 years. I told her that people give and sometimes wonder where their donation is going.
Shelley said money given to Joy Junction “gets stretched as far as it can, and unfortunately it's not enough. There’s needs that aren't able to be met here ... There’s things that ... require money to be fixed ... The program is a wonderful program, but unfortunately money and finances are an issue.”
Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Joel Steen said, “Shelley has interacted often in class, and has not shied away from telling the truth about her past, even though it may show her defects. She has stayed faithful to the program, and has not only reached out to others with help, but has accepted help as well.”
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