As we plan and fundraise for the Women’s Mission Renewal Project, it’s important to remember the why behind it. I’m excited to share Alicia’s story with you because she is one of the many women who have been given a place to heal and belong at the Women’s Mission. This new building is vital because there are many women out there like Alicia who need to experience Life Recovery.
It’s difficult not to think of Alicia without smiling, and when you say her name an actual laugh of love erupts. Staff describe Alicia as having a wonderful sense of humor. She is funny, kind, generous, and set in doing things her way. Her love for the Lord is uncanny—she reads her bible almost non-stop. Once you get her talking about Jesus, you’re in for the long-haul of hearing her until every thought has been said.
It wasn’t always that way. When she first came to the Mission she had been emotionally frozen due to the death of her only daughter. She was very quiet, lonely, and filled with anxiety. The more you talked with her, the more she shared that Jesus was the only reason she was still living.
Alicia grew up with an alcoholic and abusive father. She has shared about ingrained memories of her sister and her trying to protect their mother while she was cowering down to avoid his fist. When Alicia was at a crucial young age of 5, both her parents died in a car accident. Alicia moved in with her paternal grandmother, but she said that she felt very alone.
Substance abuse began at a very young age and escalated from alcohol to marijuana to hard drugs all by the age of 17. The men in her life often enabled her drug habit as she endured years of abuse from them that resulted in her experiencing numerous overdoses and seizures. She witnessed several of those men die, too, from drug overdoses. She gave birth at a very young age, and even he, the father of her child died several years later of a drug overdose.
From there she went to a women’s shelter in Pottsville. “I was afraid of God at that point. I thought he would destroy my whole life.” It took a while to heal from her marriage and the ideas he had put in her head. Eventually, she accepted Jesus and a relationship with the Lord and experienced immense peace. “For the first ten months I would either be in church or reading my bible,” Alicia said. “I walked really closely with God.”
“After that I got bored or tired of doing the next right thing, and I got in a relationship with a man from Philadelphia. A year later he was shot and died, which was really hard because I really cared for him and I thought that I loved him.”
After that Alicia found herself in and out of jail and rehabs. Despite that, she said she “always knew Jesus and the intimacy I had with Him I would never find anywhere else.”
Alicia heard about Bethesda Women’s Mission through a friends who was a former guest. Alicia’s name was on the waiting list for 6 months. She said she called and talked to Saran Tucker, our intake counselor, once a month because she knew how badly she needed to come here. “I was just hoping and praying,” she said.
A space opened up and Alicia came to the Women’s Mission in February 2019. The first couple of months were a big adjustment getting used to the structure of our program.
“All the ladies here have done so much to help me,” Alicia said.
“Alicia is a worshipper,” Alicia’s counselor, Marla, said. She has become less anxious, less fearful, and more at peace. The healing that she’s experienced and growing closer with the Lord are two of the best things that have happened.
Through the pandemic and quarantine, Alicia has been able to dig deep and her to grow in her relationship with Jesus. “As you do step work and see that every area of your life is unmanageable on our own,” Marla said. “Therefore, Jesus need to be in every part of our lives. I think that’s where Alicia is now and she’ll be ready to go on her own.”
From here, Alicia’s plans are to move out on her own, stay clean and sober, and attend meetings and church. Our staff looks forward to having her come back as a mentor to current guests.
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