Throughout adulthood, Wanda didn’t find the belonging she sought, and eventually turned to illicit drugs. “I felt invincible when I was on drugs or alcohol, but even they didn’t give me purpose,” she says. Her relationship with her own kids suffered, as she didn’t want them to see her high. “I didn’t feel I was a sister or a daughter or a mother. I was so lost.”
Two years ago, Wanda checked herself into a hospital. She wanted to get sober, but told her nurse, “I can’t do it alone. I can’t trust myself.” There, she learned about Lydia Home, UGM’s Alcohol & Drug Recovery for women. One week after applying, she got a phone call that the staff were preparing her room. Wanda was so excited she burst into tears.
“When I got to Lydia Home, it felt like I’d never not been there,” she explains. “It was an open-armed welcome, and I felt so comfortable. It was a true family feeling. I felt like a little sister right away—but not in the way I’d known being a sister in my childhood. Here, I was one of them. Right from the beginning I felt my loneliness closing off.”
One of the most profound things for Wanda was learning about God’s love. “I can now see that Jesus has been with me all my life,” she says. Every day, Wanda would read her Recovery Bible in group and alone, eager to absorb more of how God loves her. “I learned my worth at Lydia Home. And I learned this through knowing the value God puts on my life.”
Sharing my story is part of that. My recovery has been about feeling joyous about who I am becoming.Tweet this
Today, Wanda is living out a brave, vibrant recovery. “I’m learning or unlearning 55 years worth of stuff,” she says. “But today I am joyous. I enjoy who I’m becoming!” Wanda has completed the recovery program at Lydia Home, reconnected with her kids, and lives in safe and sober housing near UGM, where she volunteers regularly. Chances are you even received a phone call from Wanda during our monthly Thank-a-Thons. “I want to tell people that have given to UGM that I am what their gift has helped create,” she shares. “God transformed me at Lydia Home, and I’m so grateful for that gift.”
Wanda’s new life is wrapped in support, which allows her to grow further. This past year, she got a job with Mission Possible—a neighbouring non-profit—which aligns with her new sense of calling so well. Part of Wanda’s job includes street cleaning, overdose intervention, and building relationships with people in the neighbourhood. “Since I left recovery, I want to give back what was given to me so freely,” Wanda explains. “Because I’ve learned my worth, I want others to know theirs. Everyone deserves to know they’re valuable.”