Stories from our Residents:
dorothy's Story

When I was born, my parents were not married. I was one of 3 kids and we were all neglected and malnourished. My dad was in and out of my life – he kidnapped us multiple times and finally took us away from my mom. One of my first memories was being in an RV and wanting so badly to be loved and belong to someone. The only person I felt loved by was my grandma, and I remember wishing I could be with her. I was really young when I started being molested by my grandpa. I remember when those things happened and how I felt dead on the inside. Then I started being molested by my step brother. It continued until I got older and turned to rape. I told my dad but he didn’t believe me. I started to feel like there was something wrong with me – that there must be some reason people didn’t love me. I wanted my dad’s love so badly, but he was so broken and he didn’t know how to love.

In school, I was needy for attention and started to get into trouble. At age 13 I tried meth. From that moment on I realized I liked drugs and how they made me feel. I didn’t hurt as much, and they helped me cope with the pain in my life and all the horrible thoughts and memories. I was never allowed to show my emotions so I started cutting myself to deal with the emotions and terrible things I saw. By the age of 16 I was totally out of control and dropped out of school. As soon as I turned 18 I got married to a meth addict. I thought he loved me because he gave me drugs. We lived in a car and he fed my addiction. I was arrested multiple times and finally went to jail.

After being in jail for 2 months I didn’t want to be the one who got saved because I was making fun of people following God and I thought that was fun. I finally went down to chapel one day and the speaker talked about a verse in Philippians. I cried out to God that day to take away all my addiction and fill me with something good. I started teaching a Bible study because I wanted to learn about God and his love. I served 11 months in jail and during that time, my grandma died. Her death was so hard for me because she was the only one who really loved me.

It’s hard to be in this world alone, and I felt like I lost everything when I lost her. When I got out of jail, I found some community organizations that helped me and eventually came to Hope. I don’t know how to do anything – even fill out a job application. I only know how to do meth. I always thought I’d be dead and wouldn’t have to worry about the future, but God freed me from myself and my addictions and pain.

I know God led me to Hope. I’m learning and growing so much. I’m learning that I’m not a victim anymore – I’m not alone and I’m learning how to spend daily time with God. I’m so serious about my walk with God. I’ve lost everything – but I have God. I’m grieving for so much, and I’m allowing God to heal all the wounded places in me – all the abandonment and loss and hurt. I ask God to help me every day – sometimes the thoughts of what used to happen to me are so bad and I have to beg God to help me and heal me. I’ve been clean over 16 months, and I’m so thankful to be in a community like Hope. People here genuinely care about me. They reach out to me and help me in this process of healing. I’m so thankful for a place that gives me support and loves me for exactly who I am.