Niki_Before_After2I grew up in a loving christian home. I had everything I needed but still was very depressed from a young age.  Doctors told me I had a chemical imbalance that was causing my depression.  They said it didn’t matter what my life was like, I would always have to be on antidepressants, so I was introduced to hopelessness even as a child.  When I got into a car accident as a teenager, I was prescribed a lot of narcotics which I quickly learned numbed the negative emotions I hadn’t been able to deal with.  I thought I finally had the solution to my problems, but little did I know that it was only the beginning of much bigger problems in my life.  When the drugs stopped being prescribed to me I began finding them elsewhere.

For the first 10 years of my addiction I was what I thought to be a functioning addict.  If you weren’t using drugs with me, you would never know.  I thought I had it all figured out.  I even found myself functional enough to graduate from college with a nursing degree.  Because of a prior charge on my record, it was hard to find a nursing job.  When I finally did, I was unable to pass the drug tests.  As bad as I wanted to be clean, I couldn’t get past the withdrawals. The more I tried the more I felt like a failure.  That’s when I realized my idea of functioning had been somewhat a delusion.  I began to stop caring about anything since I felt like a failure anyway.  The amount and variety of drugs I used quickly began to increase. My life began to spiral out of control more than I ever thought it could.  I became a completely rebellious and selfish person who had to have things my way and did whatever I had to do to get what I wanted.  I had no will to live and secretly wished I would just overdose, yet I was terrified of dying.  If my parents had not brought me up with a fear of hell I probably would have killed myself.  My lifestyle got me arrested several times, each time driving me deeper into depression, addiction and a pit I felt I couldn’t crawl out of.

My last arrest I finally decided that I’d had enough.  I knew deep down I was a better person than the one I had let myself become and I decided I needed help.  Teen Challenge was suggested to me.  I decided it was something I needed to try and I am so glad I did.  Since being here, God has done such a work in my life changing me from the inside out.  He has delivered me and set me free from so many of the issues in my life that I never thought I could change.  Truth is, I couldn’t change them, but God could.  It has been a long process of renewing my mind.  And although things didn’t happen right away for me, all my old attitudes have fallen away and God has slowly turned my hardened heart back to the one of flesh He promises us.

God proved Himself faithful in my life when I became faithful to seek Him.  In seeking Him I have found the peace that I never thought I could.  I no longer have a desire for the things of my past.  God has delivered me from the depression that was never supposed to improve and even the heaviness that I still allowed myself to hold onto for a while is completely gone.  What I’ve been left with is an amazing feeling of freedom that I didn’t think was possible.  I have developed a firm foundation to stand on so that when trials come my way, I will know how to deal with them without the use of drugs.  I’ve actually learned to be thankful for the character God is building in me through the difficult times.  Part of my foundation is knowing who I am in Christ.  I know that I am an overcomer and through Him I am victorious.  I know I can stand before Him holy and blameless.  He doesn’t remember my past and I shouldn’t focus on it.  I know I am worthy of His love and worthy of a better future.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  It’s amazing to know what real hope feels like for the first time.  I have full faith that my God will provide everything I need.  I look forward to being a light in the darkness and showing people what the power of God can do to really change lives.  I have found real life in Christ and I am excited to start truly living for the first time in my life.