Skip to main content

 3 Words Lead to Breaking 19-Year Addiction

Share This article

“I am that lady that's out there walking at two o'clock in the morning to go get drugs,” says Jenee Noriega. “Constantly raging and screaming and just out of my mind.” Jenee Noriega had a traumatic and painful childhood. Abandoned by her parents as an infant in New Mexico, she longed for identity. Then, sexual molestation at the age of five brought confusion and fear. She says, “It distorted all the rest of my relationships. I was afraid from that point on. I was always afraid and scared and felt like, something was, um, wrong with me.”

She took her first hit of crack cocaine at 11 years old and began drinking regularly to escape her reality. Jenee says, “First time I had alcohol, it just, it was, it was, ‘wow.’ Like, I was so confident and I could be mean, and I had a voice and I could speak the way that I felt. And so I got easily addicted to alcohol because not only did it numb what I was feeling, but it also gave me some power.”  

When she was twelve years old her father came into her life. He was physically abusive and kept Jenee in an emotional prison. “When you're constantly being told, 'if you tell I'm going to kill you,' it keeps you imprisoned, right? Not only mentally, but physically. You don't wanna run in fear of getting caught,” she says. 

Eventually, her father was arrested for child abuse. Jenee then chose life on the streets over living in a group home. She turned to crime for drugs and money. By the time she was 19 she had been arrested 24 times. She says, “I was so overtaken by the drugs and alcohol that you can't think clearly. You, you lose compassion, you lose empathy for people. You, you start living like, you, you just don't care.”

For Jenee, prison provided a pause to the chaos of her life. It also introduced her to the love of God. “I would go to Bible study, I would go to anything that the church had to offer.” She says, “I was there 'cause I had always believed there was a God. I just never knew where He was. And so going to prison was a good thing for me. So I start praying this prayer and the prayer went like this, ‘Lord, I know that one day I will not be selling rock cocaine, but I'll be giving out the rock of salvation.'”

Despite her best efforts, when she was released she went right back to the streets and the drugs. “I would grit my teeth and stay clean for a couple of days.” Jenee says, “So many times after getting high, I would cry and ask myself, why are you doing this? How can you do this?”

Powerless to control her addiction, she kept smoking crack through two pregnancies. After Jenee delivered her second child a nurse told her something unexpected. “She just came over and she gave me a hug and she said, 'Jenny, Jesus loves you.' And I was so mad. I'm like, ‘How can Jesus love me? Look at my baby. Like, how can He love me?’ And, she just would not give up. She just hugged me and, and reminded me that Jesus loved me.”

Soon after, she became friends with a woman who was a Christian and told Jenee that God could set her free from drug addiction and forgive her sins. Jenee remembers, “I was crying like somebody had died and I began to pray that prayer. I was confessing all the wrong that I did. I was begging for restoration. I was begging to come home. I, I was tired. I was releasing everything up to that point that I had ever done wrong. And it was almost like a cleansing. It was, it was forgiveness. It was, ‘Lord, I need you.’ I was desperate. I was desperate. And I met Jesus. And I knew that I knew that the Lord had saved me. And I was delivered from a 19-year drug addiction. Like He took the taste of drugs and alcohol out of my mouth. It was as if I got my identity, I found my purpose, and the Lord had set me free.”

With addiction now behind her, Jenee is amazed at what God has done with her life. She has a healthy family who share the Rock of Salvation with those who long to be set free. “It was if I got my identity, I found my purpose and the Lord had set me free. There were times when I would wake up and I couldn't even believe my new life. I couldn't believe the way that I thought. I couldn't believe that I didn't cuss. I couldn't believe that, that I was kind to people.” She says, “It's this blessed assurance that God has given me that not only am I saved, but I'm gonna be with him one day. That's the best feeling to know that you are right standing with God, to know that you can have a right relationship with the Lord, and that you can love Him so much, that you be faithful to Him. That is who God is, that He does all that. It's not in, in, in my effort, but He has given me His spirit so that I could please Him and love Him. And that's a gift. It’s unbelievable. I live in peace because God gives us so much, so much that we don't deserve.”

Share Your Story

Share This article