It took a while for Susan to acknowledge that she had an addiction. She was convinced it wasn’t that serious, and she could quit if she really wanted. But one night everything came crashing down, and she decided she was going to end it all.
“I felt this darkness and didn’t see a way out,” Susan said. “That night I cried out to God, ‘If you’re not going to take my life, show me a way to live.’”
Within a couple days, Susan admitted herself to a clinic. Exhaustion hit her full force while in detox; she knew she couldn’t keep living the way she was. Susan again prayed to God asking Him to show her the next step. He answered, and Susan entered a 28-day recovery program.
But despite her determination, Susan’s family didn’t believe it would stick. They’d seen this routine before; she always ended back on the street. So to prove that this time was different, Susan enrolled in Justin’s Place.
She immediately noticed a difference in the other women, and she wanted what they had, but change is never easy. Susan struggled with the rigorous routine and fought the strict rules, yet the staff refused to give up on her. Finally, something switched, and Susan decided to embrace the change.
“I felt for so long that I was alone,” Susan said. “I felt that God was so distant because of all the things I went through. I didn’t realize, until I was in the program, that if God seems far removed, it’s [because] I moved away from Him. So all this time, I was angry at God, but He was there the whole time.”
One day, a fellow program resident passed out pages of Scripture. Susan was drawn to one particular verse: Galatians 6:9. She took the paper and taped it near her bed where she’d see it daily. Whenever she felt like running away or quitting the program, Susan claimed the verse saying, “Alright, God, I’m not giving up, just for today. I don’t know about tomorrow.”
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
Susan graduated from Justin’s Place in October 2018 and was given the Justin Holecek Award, recognized by the other residents as the person most changed in their 12 months.
Today, Susan is married to a fellow Justin’s Place graduate, employed as a manager at our Immokalee thrift store and pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree for nonprofit management.