Bethany grew up in a Christian home and went to church but completely walked away from her faith. When serious health issues hit this twenty-something young lady, she realized she was out of control and needed help.
1. What is your family, job, or education background?
I have three sisters and my job background is basically little jobs. I worked at a grocery store and a gas station. I have my high school for education.
2. What one thing contributed to your drinking and/or drug use?
I would say the two major things…I was sexually abused as a child, and so that definitely played as a factor. And also growing up I felt unloved and unwanted. My parents fostered other children and I felt like they came first next to me. So just the feelings of being unwanted and unloved.
3. Were you affected by alcohol or drugs growing up in your family.
It was actually never around. My parents did not drink and never used drugs. I never saw it. The reason I got introduced to it at age 12 is that since my parents didn’t drink, but at Christmas time they got wine bottles so they stored them. They weren’t drinking it and I found them.
4. When did you realize that you were out of control in your addiction?
When my life started getting so crazy….and everyone around me had the problem, but I didn’t, even though I was doing the exact same thing. When I realized that I couldn’t help myself and no matter how hard I tried getting my life together nothing I helped…I could get clean and sober for about a week… that was it.
5. What was the turning point where you really realized you needed help?
I guess…it was a whole pile of things…but the main thing was me and my ex got into a very big fight and it was the first time I couldn’t blame myself for something in my life. And we didn’t have drugs that day so I realized how dependent I was and how crazy my life was becoming when I realized I needed help.
6. How did you hear about Teen Challenge?
I actually had a friend and she went through the program and she invited my family to go to her graduation. So when I went the girl who spoke her testimony spoke to me because her story was very similar to mine of where I was at that point in my life.
7. Have you attended any other rehabs before coming to Teen Challenge?
I haven’t. I tried on my own and I tried the Teen Challenge in Ontario because my parents were planning an intervention. I was hospitalized because my organs were shutting down. That’s when I finally told my mom that I was addicted to crystal meth. I wasn’t ready for it then, but about six months later I came to this Teen Challenge.
8. What would you like to share with loved ones who try to help but find themselves helpless?
I would say love them but don’t enable them. Sometimes doing the hardest thing like separating yourself from them is the best thing because they know that you are always going to be there to rescue them. My parents were always there for me, and that was probably the biggest hindrance. Once my family realized they can’t do this anymore it helped because they were no longer my safety net.
It absolutely prolonged the issue because I knew if I was homeless my parents would take me in for a couple of days until I figured out but I always returned to my addiction.
9. What three things have you learned about addiction that helped you?
The first thing is I have learned is that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped and that’s the hardest thing. As much as you want to shake them they’re not ready to receive that help then you’re just pouring out energy that’s not going to help them.
Also most addictions that people are going through is because they have emotional or past hurts that they’ve never dealt with, and they’re turning to the drugs or alcohol to numb themselves. Addiction gets them to turn off the pain because they don’t know how to deal with the emotions because God’s the only answer for that.
Every addiction is different and that’s why I need the Holy Spirit daily to give me insight because no person is the same and no person turned to alcohol and drugs for the same reason. And even if they went through the same experiences but the way they interpreted the feelings they felt are very different. Each person is different and each person needs different things whether it’s love or the discipline or how you do it. So we need the Holy Spirit in that area.
10. Why did you decide to work with Teen Challenge after you graduated almost two years ago?
After the change I experienced in my life I definitely wanted to stay with Teen Challenge. I’ve seen what God can do. I’ve seen what Teen Challenge can do for people with addictions and it blows my mind. I know that it’s where God wants me to be. I just want to do what God wants me to do and right now it’s at Teen Challenge.
11. Since addiction involves the family what advice would you give to parents while their loved one is going through treatment?
I would say that as much as the children are going through Teen Challenge the parents should be going through some sort of counselling to learn how to better help their son or daughter or sibling in the program because it’s a family issue and when the whole family is changed then huge success rates will happen.
12. What is your favorite Bible verse and what it means to you?
My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 139:13-15 because when I was doing the self management contract I had very little self-esteem. I couldn’t even write who I was because I had so many different faces. I felt very lost. And through those verses God worked in me and showed me the value He sees in me. Through that I got so much healing for my past experiences that it’s one that I always hold dear to me.
Thank you Bethany. Your story inspires others that there is hope for anyone who is determined to want the help.