This is Denise.

When she was waking up in jail, she realized how much damage she had done not only to herself, but also to her family. They were homeless again, but she was waking up to a turning point in her life.

She had been a self-made woman. She had her own business, the house of her dreams, wonderful daughters, and an amazing husband. Then the bank foreclosed on her house and her business fell apart. With nowhere to go and no place to store their things, they were homeless with nothing to call their own. As they struggled to figure out what was coming next for their family, Denise began using drugs to help her cope. This was the beginning of a decade-long battle with drugs.

“It just didn’t seem like my presence on earth was helping anyone; it was doing damage.”

When she reached her turning point, she started going through the steps set out before her by her counselor. She had the support of her husband, mother, and daughters to help her through recovery.

The following years were spent finding a new purpose. She started working for Anytime Fitness and could focus on finding a healthy life for herself and helping others do the same. She experienced small groups through drug court and later through Real Life—groups where she could be authentic and honest. She could share her struggles, gain freedom from shame, and learn self-worth.

Denise also spent time working on the relationships in her family. She didn’t realize the toll her addiction had taken on her as a mother, so she spent time investing in her daughters. She was comforted knowing her daughters also had love and support from their friends and leaders through the children’s ministry at Real Life.

Today her family is unified and recovering from the blows life has thrown at them. She has lost four relatives in the last six months, one being her son-in-law, the father of her 7-year-old granddaughter. Denise strongly relates to her granddaughter, because she also lost her father when she was 7 years old.

“Through all of this, it is a helpless feeling, but at the same time, my understanding of my relationship with God and how things work is completely different. It is the only reason I have made it through without using [drugs]. If this happened before [being a part of Real Life], I’m not sure how I could deal with something so devastating.”

Through her faith in God’s power, her friends from CARE Group, and her family, she is no longer afraid of the biggest things life can throw at her.

“I know people care and they will walk with me in my bad times.”

Moving forward, she is excited for the Recovery Radio show she has taken over, 1–2 pm on KRFP. It is the highlight of her week to interview people who are in the latter stages of recovery, and the people helping others to recover.

“God is taking my life experience from pain and survival and is putting it into play.”

Denise has also been through trainings to provide a physical exercise element for recovering addicts, and she is becoming a peer recovery coach to walk with people as they recover and be an encouragement to other people as they heal and walk down the road to recovery.