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Breaking the Cycle of Choosing Drugs Over Parenthood

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Sarah's homelife was one filled with dysfunction. She grew up in poor, Crossville Tennessee, where her father left when she was young, leaving Sarah alone with her alcoholic grandma and her mother - who struggled with drug addiction, bipolarism, and alcoholism…

“When she was there mentally, she was a great mother,” Sarah said. “When she wasn't there I felt alone and misunderstood.”

Sarah found belonging with kids from other broken homes. As she grew up her identity was found in drugs and a toxic boyfriend.

Then at only 15 years old, hope entered the picture in the form of a pregnancy.

“Thinking that for once in my life that I was gonna be able to do something right.” Sarah told herself, “I was not gonna be the kind of mother that I had growing up. And so I stopped using drugs.”

She got clean and began to make positive changes in her life.

But when she went into labor 3 months early, that hope began to fade…

“I had him (her son) and they brought him to me - he was lifeless and a little baby,” she said with a tear. “I felt completely helpless. And I felt like that I had been dealt a life of pain and that God hated me. My way to find comfort through my pain and my hurt was to do more drugs.”

Sarah would spend the next seven years using IV drugs and heavily abusing pain meds. She would have three children by 22, weaning herself off drugs just enough during the pregnancies.

“If I didn't have a pain pill, I couldn't get out of bed to change my son's diaper,
 Sarah said. “I thought I was okay, in my justification because I wasn't an alcoholic.”

After she was charged with meth-manufacturing, her kids were relinquished into foster care. Worried she’d lose her kids for good, Sarah once again tried to get clean.

“The shame and the pain of abandoning them was eating me alive,” Sarah said. “And so for eight months I fought to try to get them back. I got a job, I almost had my own place.”

When she learned her son had broken his leg in a foster home. Sarah felt the pain of not being there.

“It pushed me over the edge, and I went and I got a case of beer, and I started drinking,” Sarah admitted. “My drinking led to me compromising with pills and now shooting up, immediately within two hours.”

Now in jail serving a yearlong sentence for burglary charges, Sarah began the inevitable, and painful, detox process. She was forced to face a truth she had long-ignored.

“I had the understanding that all of a sudden, I had become my mother, but ten times worse,” she said soberly. “So what I thought about Sarah was that I was a hopeless drug addict, and that I was gonna die that way.”

Searching for something to keep her busy, Sarah began attending a faith-based recovery program, where the women told her how much God loved her.

“And I kept thinking, you don't know me, and you don't know the life I've been dealt. Don't tell me God loves me,” Sarah said with a smile. “Their consistency to show the love of Christ. About the fourth class in, turned my heart to mush.”

“The teacher of the faith-based 12-step class stopped the class and said, ‘There's someone in here who wants to give their heart to Jesus.’” Sarah continued, “and I knew that God was talking to me. And I received Jesus that day.”

Sarah had every intention of continuing to follow Christ. Upon her release in 2011, with few places to go, Sarah was back in her old environment, and soon relapsed again.

“I remember thinking, ‘God, I am so back into this, and I don't know how I'm gonna get out of it,’” Sarah said. “High on meth, been up for three days. I remember saying, ‘God, do for me what I cannot do for myself.’ And about 24 hours later, I heard, ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom.’”

It was the police - Sarah was arrested for parole violation and was looking at four years in prison. Awaiting sentencing, Sarah had an unexpected visitor – the woman who had adopted two of her kids.

“I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ And she said, ‘I came to bring you hope,’” Sarah said. “I said, ‘Okay, God, alright. So if I go to prison, or if I go to wherever, I'm gonna serve you.’”

The court ordered Sarah to the drug abuse recovery program, Teen Challenge.

She followed through on her promise and began to face her past, and devote her future, to study and pursuing the Lord.

“I learned who I was,” Sarah said. “My root issues and why I used drugs to begin was, was abandonment, rejection, insecurity.”

After graduating from the program and working on staff at Teen Challenge, Sarah returned to Crossville Tennessee. There, she founded Invitation Ministries where they do faith-based program placement and addiction recovery. Not only is she enjoying her second lease on life, but she’s also able to see her kids and have a second chance at being a mom.

“Me and my kids today have a beautiful relationship - God has mended what was broken,” Sarah smiled. “God has restored what was stolen from me. To know that I have broken the cycle with Jesus from many generations before me, is so rewarding. I get to share hope. It's more rewarding than anything that I could ever do with my life.”

For more information on Sarah and her ministry, check the link below

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