“So at one point we were drunk and fighting, and he tied me up and poured lighter fluid on me and lit me on fire. My chest caught fire, I remember seeing flames. And then he realized what he did. He took a towel and put it out. And I needed to go to the hospital because I just was all blistered. My nose was black. My eyelashes still on this side, they’re always going to be curled weird. The cops pinged his phone, like a state-wide, because it was a big deal. He ended up only going to jail for 9 months, and I took him back when he got out. Like I didn’t even care, just it was familiar.
“Discipline has been huge in my recovery. So I hear people say like, ‘Oh, I’m just not motivated or I wish I was motivated.’ Motivation is so temporary. Like you can stay motivated for maybe a week, but it’s going to run out. You cannot do your life on just being motivated. None of us are motivated 100% of the time because we’re human and we lose that. But, and this is something I learned at Anna Ogden too is our thought processes and the power we have over our thoughts, I can choose what I’m going to do. I can choose to train for a half marathon even when I don’t want to. Even when I want to stay in bed, I can choose to not. (She laughs) And that’s power. You know, that’s really a lot of power. And it goes with my whole life.” – Emily, Spokane
“In August 2018 a dear friend finally found the freedom she had been seeking in the bottle, dying from alcoholism. Jill loved God and was one of the most spirit-filled people I have ever been around, when she was sober. I would wake up to messages of hope and encouragement, scriptures and praise on my phone.
“But over a two-year period, I knew that there would be many weeks where Jill would disappear back into her addiction. Jill always felt she had another drunk left in her, convinced it would be followed by another successful recovery.
“The average person has a hard job. This is what I mean by that. I go out to speak at groups all the time, and I ask them, ‘When you think of homelessness, what images come to mind?’ And I always hear dirty, drug-addicted, smelly and cardboard signs…all those kinds of phrases. And they’re right. They are kind of dirty, kind of smelly, and they do hold cardboard signs. And then we call them a human being. Right? The homeless person. Why can’t we just admit that whenever we think of homelessness, those are the images that come through our minds?
“I was prescribed a drug called Adderall. It was easy to get it – a questionnaire of five questions – and bam! It was given to me like it was candy.
And in the beginning, I loved this pill. It gave me energy, I was organized and focused, and it made me lose weight. I wasn’t a slave to food anymore! I believed that it was what I needed to resolve all of my issues.
I quickly got addicted to it and it began sapping me of all my strength and sanity. I became a slave to this drug. It drove me to my knees yet again, screaming out to God, begging him to save me. Within 10 months, I went from a fully functioning adult to a mental asylum.
I could tell you stories for hours of how God showed up for me during the lowest point in my life. When nobody else wanted anything to do with me, he wanted everything to do with me. He didn’t care about what I had done and what I became. He loved me right where I was at. And I fell in love with him in return.” – Heather, Spokane
Photo by Jessica Morgan
Tell me about your tattoo.
“I used to be a cutter and I’m a recovering drug addict. I just wanted to get something to remind me I’m beautiful and I’m worth it. If you can’t love yourself, let others love you until you can.” – Tyler, Spokane
Photo by Jessica Morgan
“Graduation, it’s a weird thing for me because I never graduated high school, so it’s kind of a big thing to actually be part of a graduation. I remember, I finished high school, so I was actually sitting in the audience, and I watched my girlfriend graduate. It really sucked sitting out in the audience when all my friends were graduating, so this to me is a really big deal. I’m looking forward to it.” – Keith, graduating from UGM LIFE Recovery in June
Photo by Jessica Morgan
“It was hard for me to stay here because I didn’t really like staying indoors … What made me really stay here was the fellowship with the people and how everybody cares for everybody.
“…The most important thing to staying in recovery is the people you hang out with. If you don’t want change, you’re going to go back to the old people. But if you want change, you’re going to find healthy people that believe in the same thing you believe in.” – Charlie, UGM Men’s Recovery You can find his full story on the UGM blog.
“I thought freedom was being able to do what I wanted when I wanted, and not be accountable to anybody but myself. I didn’t know what freedom was. I was stuck in this vicious cycle of addiction, and awful choices that just kept me in emotional bondage. I had no idea what freedom was. I hadn’t felt free until about four months ago. The Lord revealed some things about me that I didn’t want to admit to. I was a selfish person, I only thought about myself, and I basically didn’t want help from anybody. Didn’t want to be accountable to anybody but myself. And it wasn’t until I really tried putting Jesus first in my life—that was the beginning of true freedom. It’s the most free I’ve felt in my whole life.” –Kevin, Men’s Recovery
“I’m learning He meets me in every storm. I never knew I had worth. I never knew I had value. I never knew I had so much potential, and I believe that’s a gift God gave me.
…I want to model for my daughter what a woman of integrity is and show her that dependence on God is absolutely necessary.
…Before coming here I would wake up feeling like I was just waiting to die. I don’t feel that way anymore. I want people to know this place saves lives, reunites families and creates God-dependent, beautiful women.” – Rowan, Center for Women & Children resident
“I wasn’t happy with myself…So I tried to fill that void with drugs. Drugs were just a symptom. When you’re using drugs, it shows something [is wrong]. If this place wasn’t here, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me…I wouldn’t be who I am today. It brings you to another level in life, one that you don’t even know exists.” – Amanda, Center for Women & Children resident