The Courage To Be Me

How You Helped Megan Find Her Voice

Three years ago, I hitchhiked to East Hastings. I was so scared of what was going to happen now that my secret was out. I felt so disgusted in myself, I said, “This is where I belong.”

Megan first tried alcohol at 13, and quickly understood why its nickname is ‘liquid courage’

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been insecure, lonely, and anxious. I’d always felt different from other people, never comfortable in my own skin.

But the first time I drank, this powerful peace came over me. I felt so good that I wrote myself a note saying, “Megan, never forget this feeling.”

Alcohol quickly became my voice. It became my chin up, my friend. It was the courage I needed in this world.

Alcohol quickly became my voice. It became my chin up, my friend. It was the courage I needed in this world.

One night at a party, Megan blacked out and woke up being sexually violated

That was the most shameful, changing moment of my life. I stopped going to school because I couldn’t walk down the hallways without people calling me names and spreading rumours.

That was the most shameful, changing moment of my life. I stopped going to school because I couldn’t walk down the hallways without people calling me names and spreading rumours.

I was only fifteen, but at that point, something inside me said, “That’s all I am. I am what they say I am.”

I lost all sense of my self-respect and self-worth. I let anybody touch me. Because that’s all the worth I had: my body.

I lost all sense of my self-respect and self-worth. I let anybody touch me. Because that’s all the worth I had: my body.

Megan’s dignity diminished, and drinking escalated

By my twenties, I needed a drink every night to fall asleep. I felt so ashamed about it, I started cutting everybody out of my life.

By my twenties, I needed a drink every night to fall asleep. I felt so ashamed about it, I started cutting everybody out of my life.

It got so much worse when I became a Correctional Officer. I wanted to help people, but it was violent and dark. I’d take that home with me and drink. I started feeling incarcerated too — but to my addiction.

After quitting that job, I finally went to treatment. But I didn’t tell my family it was for drinking. I told them it was because of my depression.

Even in recovery, I didn’t feel worthy. I didn’t get an AA Sponsor. I couldn’t fathom becoming friends with a sober woman.

That started a cycle of recovery and relapse. During sobriety, Megan had a beautiful son named Damien

Because of the incredible love I had for him, I thought I could stay sober. But I was struggling with mental health, and would drink again. When I did, I’d lose contact with my son.

Because of the incredible love I had for him, I thought I could stay sober. But I was struggling with mental health, and would drink again. When I did, I’d lose contact with my son.

I eventually went back to recovery. That whole time, I never saw him. I believed I didn’t deserve to.

In another relapse, I didn’t care about living anymore. I tried hard drugs for the first time, and became controlled by crack.

I eventually went back to recovery. That whole time, I never saw him. I believed I didn’t deserve to.

In another relapse, I didn’t care about living anymore. I tried hard drugs for the first time, and became controlled by crack.

When my secret finally got out, I thought I’d never see Damien again. That was the day I said, “I don’t deserve anything anymore. I quit my life.” I hitchhiked to East Hastings and said, “This is where I belong.”

Surprisingly, the Downtown Eastside is where Megan started regaining her dignity

I went as punishment, but it ended up being a place of freedom. The words and actions of strangers showed me I’m human again.

I went as punishment, but it ended up being a place of freedom. The words and actions of strangers showed me I’m human again.

They saw me beyond everything I thought I was. They took the time to make sure I didn’t fall. And they showed me the love that’s in this world.

That love is why I reached out to get help off the streets.

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Listen: Megan shares about the love of strangers (1:18)

That compassion led Megan to Lydia Home, where she found real courage

At that point, I’d been in treatment six times. But it never stuck. Now I know it’s because I never got honest, and I never had God.

Before, I didn’t know what faith or hope was. But at Lydia Home, I finally got a taste of it. I could confess my secrets to the women without anyone judging, or anything changing. I experienced unconditional love.

Reaching out to God gave me hope, restored worth, and newfound life. And I finally found real courage.

Recovery has reunited her with Damien, and apart from her faith, motherhood is Megan’s greatest treasure

When I saw him again for the first time after Lydia Home, he said, “Mommy? I miss you.” Since that day, I’ve been able to be consistent in his life.

When I saw him again for the first time after Lydia Home, he said, “Mommy? I miss you.” Since that day, I’ve been able to be consistent in his life.

Now, we have a little home that’s filled with family photos and scripture. We love being together and learning about nature. And Damien is the most loving boy, with a heart for people.

Every few months, we collect socks and coins, and walk downtown. It’s important to me to model to him not seeing people as numbers, but loving each other as God wants us to. I say, “If you see somebody you want to say hi to, can you tell me?”

He’ll point out somebody in a sleeping bag. And after we talk a bit, he’ll say to them, “Do you wanna see what my monster truck can do?” That — it’s just beautiful to me. He sees people as people — not as society sees them.

Through Damien, God is showing me what a pure and loving heart is. He is the greatest gift, and I thank God every day that I get to be his mom.

Through Damien, God is showing me what a pure and loving heart is. He is the greatest gift, and I thank God every day that I get to be his mom.

Today, Megan’s life is so unexpectedly full, she’s beaming with gratitude

God has given me a life beyond my imagination. I went into Lydia Home hoping to just stop using drugs and alcohol. And instead, I got this change of heart, passion for God, and strong desire to be a mother and help others.

I would’ve never thought I’d have a home, a vehicle, or relationships where I’m trusted. And for the first time, I’m dreaming big about my future!

Lydia Home changed everything about me. I no longer let fear rule my life. I have the courage to share my story. I have the faith to love strangers how they loved me. And I’m becoming the best version of me — who God made me to be.

Lydia Home changed everything about me. I no longer let fear rule my life. I have the courage to share my story. I have the faith to love strangers how they loved me. And I’m becoming the best version of me — who God made me to be.

When you support UGM, you’re giving mothers and daughters back. You’re giving the feeling of being worthy. And you're giving hope for life. Thank you.

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“Now all glory to God, who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” — Ephesians 3:20

Union Gospel Mission is honoured to be a place where God is revealing His unfailing love to countless men, women, and families. He has an unfathomable hope for each person’s future, and longs for His love to bring wholeness into our lives.

We know this to be true because we see hope being renewed, and lives being transformed out of poverty, homelessness, and addiction every single day. Though we believe this is happening because of God’s grace, it is made possible through the support of caring people like you.

You just read how Megan’s life was impacted beyond her expectations at UGM. Like her, people who walk into UGM find abundantly more than food, shelter, or recovery. They find renewed hope for life. Again, thank you for making UGM a place where this is possible. Your compassion is transforming lives beyond imagination.

Even amidst a global pandemic like COVID-19, all this is still true. Our community is among the most vulnerable in the face of this health crisis, but you’re blessing UGM with the ability to take emergency measures and continue providing essential services, while extending much-needed hope.

I thank you. And I ask that you please keep our guests in your prayers, as there is more safety in God’s love than anywhere else right now.

Blessings,

UGM President's Photo
UGM President's Signature

William B. Mollard
President

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