When Fear Turns Into Faith
September 26, 2016
We are celebrating National Recovery Month with a series of transformational stories from Epiphany’s Recovery Program graduates. You’ve heard from Tracy*, now meet Paige*, a woman who once lived in fear but found faith and a support system of loving women at Epiphany Center:
I used to be homeless. Sometimes I stayed in cheap dirty hotels in San Francisco or on the floor of other people’s rooms. I was in and out of jail constantly. I had been using drugs on a daily basis for about nine years. I could not stop despite all of the damage it was doing in my life. My family would not talk to me. The only “friends” I had were the ones that I did drugs with. I was miserable.
When I got to Epiphany Center in 2013, I was so exhausted. I had nowhere else to go. I knew that what I was doing was not working, and I figured I should try something different, really try. So I took suggestions. I tried my hardest to listen and to follow the directions of the staff at Epiphany. Not having a cell phone for the first few months really helped me. It made me focus on my present situation. Without a cell phone, I didn’t have that easy link to my old life. I had to make new connections with people that were not using drugs. I had to find myself.
Now, every number I have in my phone, every person I call a friend, is clean and sober. I do not hang out with any of my old using friends. I do not hang out in places I used to hang out. I strive every day to practice positive thinking. I know that as long as I do the next right thing, as long as I try to the best of my ability to live my life by spiritual principles, everything will be okay. I used to live in constant fear. I had no faith. Now, I actually have feelings. Even on bad days, I am grateful to feel. I see a future for myself where I did not see one before.
After Epiphany, I found a room for rent and now I actually pay my rent on time, sometimes even early. I completed my schooling to become a court reporter. I broke school records by completing the program in only 17.5 months with a 4.0 GPA and passed all three portions of the state exam on the first try. I am in the process of getting my certified shorthand reporter license. It will happen, I just have to be patient. I am in a healthy and stable relationship with another recovering addict. I have been to visit my family in Baltimore twice since graduating from Epiphany. The last trip I brought my boyfriend along to meet my family. In the past I was ashamed to introduce them to my boyfriends. Being able to be a part of my family again is a huge blessing.
I continue to bring Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings into the women’s jail in San Francisco and into a detox and recovery house. I am very active in my NA community and continue to attend 2-4 meetings every week. My automatic response to a bad day, to a good day, to any day was to get high--that was my default behavior. Because of my time at Epiphany, and the resources that they introduced me to, that is not my default anymore. I actually think before I act.
To me, recovery means living life in a healthy way. It is not just about not using drugs anymore. It is about changing the way I think, and the way I participate in life. It is about doing my best to be a good person, doing the next right thing even when it is something that I don’t want to do. Because of Epiphany Center, I got to know amazing women. I got to start this new life. I was able to take time to heal. I have a support system that I know will always be there. It is an amazing feeling to know I always have somewhere to go and someone to lean on.
Looking back at my time at Epiphany, I think about how comforting it was to have structure, and a routine. Helping out all the women with their children is something that I will always be grateful for. My experiences with the children are definitely some of my favorite memories. There is no other program in the city, in my opinion, that gives such great support, especially on an individual basis. Epiphany is able to really help identify core issues and work with the women on them. Without a doubt, Epiphany is a one of a kind program.