Christmas can be an especially hard time for many of our residents at The Harbor as well as Shepherd’s Door, our women’s addiction recovery ministry. Memories of sad, painful experiences are magnified during this season when our society celebrates a special time of joy, peace, and love.
Growing up, Tiffany has fond memories of Christmas with her family. “We would have a bunch of presents under the tree and awesome stuff in our stockings. I remember Christmas always being wonderful. There was disfunction in our home, but the holidays were always good.”
As Tiffany got older, she began using drugs. At first it was just pain pills – then methamphetamine. Things seemed OK for a while, but soon life’s consequences caught up to her.
The months leading up to Christmas last year were traumatic for Tiffany. “Last year was crazy, to put it mildly,” she says. She and her husband were totally addicted to meth. He had cancer. And just months before Christmas, Tiffany sat in the passenger seat of their car as her husband attempted to evade pursuing police officers. After a wild police chase that led to officers finding meth in the car, Tiffany’s husband landed in prison and she had her children taken away. Tiffany quickly lost her home. Alone, discouraged, and now without a place to stay, Tiffany entered the Christmas season at her lowest point.
“I was homeless. I’d sometimes live with friends – just staying here and there and everywhere. I was so angry at God – I was hoping to die. I took so many drugs, trying to kill myself. Each day I’d wake up alive I’d be mad. I couldn’t see past my own pain at all.“
Instead of the joy-filled, warm memories of past Christmases spent with close family and friends, Tiffany spent Christmas hurting and alone, watching others enjoy the “most wonderful time of the year” while she lived in a nightmare.
“Sarah” is another one of those residents. Exposed to drugs from a very young age, you won’t believe what her Christmas memories are like. Just listen to her story below and hear her talk about what happened when she was just 13 years old.
Here at the Mission, we work to replace those painful memories with new, happy, hopeful memories. Through counseling, addiction recovery classes, spiritual renewal, and simply a brand new, positive Christmas experience, our residents are able to reprogram their old memories with new ones.
This year, we’re looking forward to spending Christmas together as a Mission family. Next week, residents at Shepherd’s Door will wake up on Christmas morning to a hot, delicious breakfast and a bright Christmas tree with piles of gifts underneath, all thanks to you. For residents like Tiffany and Sarah, this Christmas experience is something they’ve never experienced before, or at least not in a long time. Through your generous donations and gifts – literally, thanks to your amazing efforts to purchase ALL items on our 2013 Christmas Wish List – these residents will truly have a merry Christmas.
Thank you for your generous support this holiday season!