Life Stories

I grew up ignoring my feelings and never knew how to express myself, or felt safe to do so. Eventually I set out to find a way to vent and escape from reality. I started using pot to escape and numb my feelings. Then later I started using meth and my life began to spiral out of control. Eventually I lost everything — including my children. I had to make up my mind to change the direction of my life and regain my children.

I checked myself into treatment and found out I had been self-medicating for years so I wouldn’t have to feel anything. I started learning how to forgive myself and confront the demons in my closet so to say. I then began to address issues I had been scared to face. I listed all the resentments I had been carrying over the years. I started to forgive these people and let go of the hate and anger I harbored for so long. I started praying again after 16 years and getting a relationship with my higher power. I surrendered my life to God and asked Him to help me in my recovery and show me how to live clean.

The simple term “Let Go and Let God” helped me so much! Today I feel that years of weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have forgiven myself and others. I have confronted the abuse of my past and let go of the hurt. I now have a relationship with God and believe he loves me and that I am worth his love. I can look in the mirror these days and actually look myself in the eyes because I have forgiven myself and made the decision to turn my life around and life a happy, healthy life with my kids and family. With the help I am receiving from the Women’s Empowering Life-Line this is all finally possible!

— Melanie

My name is Kris. I am 27 years old and I am an addict. I came to the Women’s halfway house the Monday after Thanksgiving in 1998. I came here thinking I could fool these people for 6 months and then go back to my lifestyle of meth, drinking, and men. The staff and the other women saw through me and I was constantly called on my behavior and also my quality of sobriety.

I was asked to leave the house in June of 1999 because of my lack of desire to be a part of the house. Because of my legal situation it was probable I would go to prison, but I ended up staying in Norfolk, attending aftercare, and continued to go to meetings. It was when I was confronted with my lack of interest in the other women that I had decided I wanted this life of recovery. During the coming year, I had married and also become a new mother.

The house had also gone through some changes of it’s own, with a new director and counselor. I applied for a job and they hired me part-time. If before I had decided I wanted to stay sober, it was the time after becoming a mother and working with women in recovery, that I found how valuable and precious other women were. The women that I was supposed to be watching and observing, were showing me the type of person I wanted to be and also how to be a better mom.

I quit in 2001 to spend more time with my family, but came back in 2002 to work at the new Dual Diagnosis house. The experience of working with women who had mental illnesses opened my eyes to a need that has been neglected in the recovery field. These women showed me what it would be like for me if I decided I hadn’t had enough pain and misery in my using career and went back for a second round.

All around, I have had a life of shooting up meth, prostituting myself for drugs and a constant fear of being arrested and then a life of a woman in recovery with a husband, a son, and an immense treasure of women whom I am proud to call friends. These women are current and former residents and also my fellow staff. I have 7 years clean and sober and wouldn’t trade this life for anything!

— Kris

To whom this may help: I was 19 years old and my addiction took over my life. I lost the most important people in my life, my 2 little boys. When that happened I wanted to end my life. I asked my probation officer for help. She referred me to Behavioral Health Services in Norfolk. I went there and it took about 2 weeks before I could get into a treatment facility at SOS in Columbus. I graduated from SOS in July 2003.

After that I went to the Women’s Empowering Lifeline (WELL) in Norfolk. At this time of my life I hated rules. I didn’t follow anything the staff at the WELL told me. I manipulated them and I lied. I left the WELL, and resided at the Norfolk Rescue Mission. I returned to the WELL to try again, but I was again asked to leave. I returned to the Mission for about 3 months. Nobody said recovery was going to be fun.

I was allowed to return to the WELL for the 3rd time. At this point I was willing to go to any length. I was becoming honest with myself and others. I learned to follow the rules. I learned how to live a sober and clean life. I learned the tools I needed to make it on the outside world. I learned how to get a job and stick with it. I graduated May 3rd, 2004, which was my 20th birthday. About 2 weeks after I was out of the house, I changed jobs. I was only there for 3 months and quit going to work. I was in relapse mode and didn’t know it.

A month later on Labor Day I relapsed and didn’t get sober until September 13th, 2004. At that time I was in detox. From there I went home packed all of my stuff in my apartment and returned to the WELL for 6 Months. I graduated in April and I continued to go to the WELL everyday to visit. I learned after my 4th time in the WELL how to prevent relapses and ask for help. That is a hard thing for me. On my 21st birthday I stayed at the WELL to be on the safe side. On May 3rd, 2005 a month later, I moved to Grand Island with a friend. Everybody told me it was not a good idea, but I didn’t listen. About 2 Months later I moved to the 10th Street Oxford House. I am so much happier here then I was with my friend. I hope this will help you in one way or another.

— Anonymous



A Mothers’ Prayer

The day that she remembered how she let herself down.
The day came and she melted down and felt the guilt to come upon her.
As she quickly remembered to not let the shame over whelm her she
then was picked up by the Grace of God and she
then had to pray for the guilt and shame to
be removed by My Father God.
Then is when the Lord said to her “repent and you’ll
then be healed so you may feel free to
try and be a better Mother for your

by Danilee


Shadows of my past are haunting me,
will these memories ever set me free?
I never realized it, but it’s true,
the sisters I loved were affected too.
So many things I’ve blocked over the years,
refusing to be weak or shed anymore tears.
Now I see how much pain the abuse caused,
& I realize I’m not the only one with the flaws.
I firmly believe if you dwell in the past,
the pain & anger will kill your spirit fast.
Keep your chin up and know that you’re strong,
if you only look forward you can’t go wrong.
Now after 20 years flashbacks attack me,
memories I blocked I’m now starting to see.
Do I unleash the demons & face them head on
or stand alone & try to stay strong?
Lord help me heal & take this pain away,
I can’t carry this burden another day.

by Melanie

Eternally Grateful

You are the one who has lifted me out
Of that darkness that feeds on my hopes and my dreams
Showing me mercy, forgiving my wretchedness
Making me see what it means to be free
You are the one who makes blind eyes see
Now the deaf ears can hear and the quiet tongues speak
I’m in awe of your power and humbled in your presence
Your love has conquered what I could not overcome
That hell that I’ve gone through
Will always be part of me
Flowing through the blood in my veins
I’m sick, but you have the right medicine
I’m locked up, but you have the key
I’m hungry and thirsty, but I know you will nourish
This soul that is empty and desperate for you
I’ve tried to fill this void in my heart with everything of this world
But my eyes have been opened
And now I can see
That you are everything I’ll ever need
Unfailing is your love for me
Seeing through all of the evil I’ve done
I just want to show you what it means to me
To give back to you what you’ve given to me
Your mercy so endless, so perfect and pure
You’ve been my strength when I couldn’t endure
My heart and my soul have been given new life
You have blessed me with a second chance to do right
Use me as a vessel of truth and love
So others can see that it comes from above
Shine your light through me so others can see
that you can do for them what you’ve done for me

by Meghan


Sometimes I have to cry
when the guilt and shame
build up inside.
I think about the time
you had to fend for yourselves.
2 little boys who have no choice
but to live in their Mother’s hell.
The cupboards were bare
and your clothes were dirty.
I hadn’t even brushed your hair.
You’ve seen me be lazy
and seen me act crazy.
You’ve seen me pace around
and get paranoid with every second.
Then came the day the state took you away
to my grandmothers you go
since our lives hit a low.
My heart aches for you
my special little guys
now I have a chance to
fix the damage in our lives.
I’ve made some mistakes
and that what it takes to learn
that my will will take me downhill.
So today I think I’ll let God help me.

by Aubrey