My friend Beverly (not her real name) is going through a change of life. Not the hot flash kind, but the whole new life kind.
I first met Beverly in January at the jail. She had come to Bible study one Tuesday night. She was bubbly and easy to like. I loved her right away. After two weeks, she came to me and said, “I’m almost ready.” She was talking about giving her heart to Jesus.
On Jan. 29, she did just that! She was baptized two months later at the jail. (Give me a sec while I do a cartwheel!)
One of many things I love about Beverly, is that she is completely honest. It can be shocking, but also refreshing. She is an open book and often shares stuff that leaves me speechless.
One day Beverly told me that she had started doing drugs when she was 11 years old. “Do you mind telling me where on earth an 11-year-old gets drugs?” I asked, totally shocked. “From my family!” she exclaimed as if I should know. She quickly told me everyone in her family did drugs, including her very, very old grandmother who was on parole. She had lost her mother, father and a brother to the evil scourge.
After her decision and baptism, Beverly began to change. At Bible study she would rush to tell me if she had said something she shouldn’t have or how she had messed up, as if going to confession. She started to read the Bible and was amazed at all that was in it. Once when someone got drugs into her cell, she hid behind a table with another inmate to stay away from it. Radical after decades of drug use!
A handful of months ago, Beverly was moved to an in-house rehab at another facility. It came at the perfect time in her “new life”. As of this writing, she has been clean 297 days!!! That’s almost a whole year! This is the first time since she was 11 that she has been drug free! Thinking, relating to others, dealing with problems and feeling emotions have all been new to her.
She graduated from the PSAP program last week! The rehab activities have been eye-opening and often difficult. She has learned so much about herself, who she is, and those she has hurt due to her drug addiction. She reads her Bible like she’s getting paid for it, amazed at how helpful it is for every day. She is set to be released in a few weeks!
As exciting as all this is, I’m not sure where Beverly will go. Because she doesn’t have family to help, I have been in contact with a few addiction recovery centers for direction. (Her lawyer is at work, too!) Beverly hopes to go on to Phase II of her rehabilitation, ultimately becoming a peer counselor. She is finally hoping and dreaming of the future! And it’s without drugs! PtL and another cartwheel!
I have two favors. The first, please pray for “Beverly.” I so want you to know her real name, but God will know who you are talking about. Pray for her to be stronger, wiser and braver than ever as continues her journey! Please! And second, if you have any ideas or direction where she could go for further treatment, please contact me. Time is ticking away and she needs a firm place to land. Thank you in advance!
My dream (and prayer) is that one day there will be a transition house here for women who sincerely want to start new drug-free lives but have no place to go. I voiced this to my beloved last week. “What do you need to do it?” he wanted to know.
“A house and the money,” I returned.
“Is that all?” he asked.
“Yep. Miracles still happen!” I proclaimed with tears in my eyes.
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.