My name’s Brittany Taborn. I grew up in Jackson County Ohio. It’s a very small area. When you hear the term “it takes a village to raise a child” that was basically what my life was like. I don’t remember a lot of events growing up but for some reason, I do remember a lot of feelings I had. I remember feeling out of place all the time and really self-conscious. I was really insecure all the time.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/p5r99MEhRU0″ frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
My dad worked hard to give me every opportunity he could. I’m his only child so he made sure I went to the best private Catholic school growing up.
My mom worked really hard to hide the parts of my childhood from my dad where I would get in trouble, where I would do things I shouldn’t be doing. By the time I was 13 I was really heavy drinker and I started getting in trouble. I got my first underage consumption arrest. From that age on I basically just drank.
A few years later I got arrested on my senior trip at school, again my mom didn’t want my dad to find out about that. And so my mom bailed me out got me home. Shortly after that, I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t have any clue what was ahead of me. I had this image in my head like I’m going to be the best mom. I was very proud of my boys. I ended up having two more sons, so I was a young mom and my boys were definitely my proudest accomplishment.
By the time I have my third son, I had already discovered opiates. I ended up crossing every boundary I set for myself.
In and out of treatment I’d see girls with track marks and hear about girls never seeing their kids, and I told myself it would never be me. I’ll never do that.
But the truth is there was nothing that was stronger than my love for heroin, my addiction that came before anything. The only way I can describe the feelings that I had during that time are just desperate. I thought I was going to die like that. I was arrested again and this time the charges I got brought me to a judge who told me that he was sending me to Justin’s Place in Florida.
When I got off the plane the women from Justin’s Place came to pick me up from the airport. I remember when I saw them and started talking to them I found out they were in Justin’s Place and I was just thinking to myself, there’s no way these girls are drug addicts, there’s no way. When I got to know them, I realized they were just like me. I realized If I stay here then maybe I’ll be like them, too. That gave me hope.
After some time in the program one day I was thinking to myself, okay I want to do this, I want to be clean, I want to be sober, and I want what they have. It didn’t matter what leadership told me to do, I had it my head I was willing to do anything to stay clean. I tried to stay as busy as I could! I would do lawn maintenance. I worked in the kitchen as the Kitchen Lead. Eventually, I was given a position on the Recovery Team helping lead other women in their recovery journey. I started out as a Resident Assistant and worked my way up into the Internship program.
One of the best things about serving in Justin’s Place leadership was the ability to see the girls come into the program and transform over time.
They’d come in and feel like there’s no hope for them, just like I did. A couple of months would go by and you could see the change in them happen. That that’s what kept me going.
For me, the turning point was when I started getting into the Bible more. I remember one day looking at a verse in Matthew 9:13 when Jesus called not those who know they are righteous but those who know they are sinners. I realized that was me. Jesus wants to pick out the worst the biggest mess and that’s the one he wants to work on. That humbled me to think Jesus did that for me. And, it empowered me to help others.
When new women would come in the program and they would think the same thing I thought-nobody loves me, Jesus doesn’t love me-I took it on as my responsibility to tell them. Yes. Yes, you are loved. I was always the one running around the house telling people to let their light shine. I still tell people that everywhere I go, let your light shine. When you start believing that you’re somebody, and more importantly somebody in Christ, the light from within you just shines.
I set out every day to show Christ’s love to people, to show the love that I’ve been given.
I wake up every day and I try to remember where I could be. I have a lot to be thankful for today. My kids know that I love them and hey they know that it’s only by the grace of God that I am where I’m at today. I definitely owe my life to Justin’s Place and the grace of God that brought me here and saved me. Even though I feel like I don’t deserve my new life, I try to do everything I can to glorify God for it. I’m very thankful today.