My name is Ashley Dalusio and I’m 26 years old. I was born in West Palm Beach Florida. I lived in Florida until I was twelve years old and then I moved to Tennessee where I grew up. I can remember in the fourth grade, for the first time, I realized like that I don’t feel normal. Not like other kids.
I ended up in a mental hospital and was put on medication for depression.
When I was 15, an older girl that I hung out with picked me up from work one day and asked me if I wanted to go get high. I was like yeah that sounds like fun. After getting that first high I realized something. It wasn’t that I was content in my own skin, but it’s that I didn’t care I wasn’t content.
I can actually remember my mom grounded me to the house so I couldn’t go get high. In my mind I remembered that my mom takes pain medicine. That’s when my addiction really took off.
When I used drugs I had confidence in myself. When I got high I felt like I could do anything and didn’t have fear anymore. I didn’t have fear of rejection, I didn’t care if people didn’t like me.
It took me to a point where I had absolutely no one. I didn’t have anybody’s couch to crash on anymore. I didn’t have any person that I could manipulate to let me sleep there.
One of the longest nights of my life. I was so exhausted that I ended up sleeping next to a dumpster. To me that was the perfect place to lay my head that night. Because it was a dumpster that had a fence around it. No one would see me. You know I broke down cardboard boxes and I made myself a bed. Because I just wanted to close my eyes like I just needed a rest.
At my rock bottom I ended spending five months in jail. It was probably the first time that I had to sit still and I couldn’t run anywhere. I knew that if I didn’t walk out of the jail doors without a complete plan of action that I would die.
On November 1st, 2017 I walked into the doors of Justin’s Place Women’s Recovery Program. Every girl came up to me and hugged me. I remember thinking “why are these girls so happy?”
Looking back on it now I never realized how much my life would be different just 10 months later. It’s only been 10 months. It feels like a lifetime.
To tell you about my time in Justin’s Place would be telling you a love story. God has chased after me my entire life and I didn’t even know it, and I didn’t care to know it. But, even walking into Justin’s Place God met me right where I was at. He knew exactly how to touch my heart and soften it.
Today I have a relationship with God. I have my own personal relationship with him. I owe that all to Justin’s Place and the women that have gone before me. I saw what they had and I wanted that. I wanted that light and that joy they had.
My time at Justin’s Place has been the best time of my life. I’ve lived for twenty six years. But I’ve never lived like I’ve lived here. I’ve found lifetime friends at Justin’s Place. I found women that truly hold me accountable.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with women and see them at their darkest and show them that recovery is possible. I’ve been able to hold their hand and help them walk out of the darkness. One of my favorite things is to see someone that doesn’t yet believe in God and they come running to me to tell me how God just spoke to them. I know my God reaches everyone right where they’re at, and I know the perfect love he has for every woman in Justin’s Place.
It’s really amazing. I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for God but also the women in the program. I’ve never had friends, genuine friends, friends that don’t want anything in return. I have accountability partners today that when they see a behavior that’s not glorifying God, they tell me. I’ve Never had that before.
I’m so grateful for where I am today. Thank you!