For most of her career, Melani appeared to be the consummate professional. She was well educated, well respected, and had completed nearly 25 years of state employment. Despite the appearance of stability, however, Melani’s world was about to drastically change.
“I had been on medication for anxiety and depression since I was about 25 years old but things really changed for me when my mother died. I became more and more isolated. I started using alcohol more and also drugs. As time went on, I developed serious addiction problems. I lost my job, my car, my house, my retirement. Everything.”
Melani’s entire world had been thrown into disarray. Her resources were gone. As she struggled with finding money to feed her addiction, the relationships with her family members dissolved. Feeling empty and depleted, a man offered to buy her a cheeseburger if she would agree to perform a sexual act on him. Though she refused, she knew that if she continued in her current state, she might eventually say yes.
At that moment she knew she needed to change.
It took her three days to save just fifty cents to make a call from a payphone. She called her brother and told him that she needed help.
Melani’s brother was able to help her enter a detox facility. Now sober, she still had no place to go when discharged. Fortunately, the staff at the facility connected her with representatives of The Salvation Army. There she received assistance to help her rebuild her life and encouragement to continue in her newfound sobriety. She had found a community of people who understood her situation. They cared and wanted her to succeed.
“Many people believe that homelessness could never happen to them; I certainly thought that. But it happened to me and it could happen again if I lose focus.”
Melani attributes her rise to God’s love and forgiveness and a safe, encouraging environment at The Salvation Army where healing could take place. Through The Salvation Army, she continues to share her story with the hope that her situation might encourage others to receive the help and spiritual direction that they need.
“The most important part of my recovery is spiritual healing. God helps me every day make meaning of my experiences. He gives me the strength to face my many fears and my shame and my guilt. He guides me as I try to re-connect with my family and as I try to develop new friends. These are incredibly difficult and complex things to do.”