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I had a heart problem, not a drug problem.

"Prayer works and people can change."

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When I was growing up my dad was in prison until I was about eight. That left my mom a single mom of two girls and she was really busy. I don’t really remember a time of not doing drugs. There was always alcohol or marijuana around. We just used that to escape reality.

My real problem started when my son was born. I was in the hospital and they gave me Percocet. After that, I started making excuses why I needed it. My back was hurting. My hip was hurting, just different excuses to use it. That led to using Oxycontin. I went to rehab to get off of that. It took me four days. I wasn’t sick or anything. It blew my mind because it was so easy to come off of it. I had made up my mind right then that I was done using.

As soon as I left rehab I went to jail. I went to Knox County, Cumberland County, Roe County, and Anderson County in that order. Each one immediately. I just thank God that I was clean at the time. When I got out I thought that I had this thing kicked. I moved to Crossville to start a new life. That’s where I was introduced to Meth. I started going downhill really, really fast then. I have many of these pictures. That’s not the only one. They put me on probation and I would tell everyone that you have to be an idiot to fail your drug test when you go to probation because you set the time. You know when you are going to be there and all of those kinds of things. After two months I failed my drug test. I told everyone I was an idiot and then I got put on house arrest. That’s just a little bit more structured but I was still using. It helped a little bit.

I remember one day I finally asked my probation officer if she would help me because I needed help. She said that she would help me and that she couldn’t believe that I finally realized that I needed help. She sent me to The Bread of Life Rescue Mission which is a homeless shelter in Crossville. I had to wait there three months until I got sent to rehab. In those three months, I got saved. I went to a lot of meetings. They helped but I was really anxious during that time because I was in between and I didn’t know what to do. They sent me to Women at the Well. I was there for two and a half years. It was a long-term faith-based rehab for women with life-controlling issues. There I learned that my problem was never drugs. I never had a drug problem. My problem was a heart problem. I was using because I was hurting so bad and I didn’t know what to do with that pain. They helped me to go through all of those things that I had never gone through that I tried to avoid my whole life. It was really hard being there. My son would call me and say that I was being selfish because I was there and I couldn’t leave anytime. It was the most unselfish thing I had ever done in my life, to try to get clean.

While I was there I had to learn everything over. It was hard. It’s easy to do jail time and do the same thing. It’s hard to change yourself. I had to change the way that I thought about things. When I was there they taught me how to renew my mind by the Word of God. True love was introduced to me through these women who showed up every single day to spend time with me. They invested in me. That said a lot to me. That’s when I realized that God really loved me. I got leadership skills. Now I have been clean for seven years. I teach a Sunday school class for teenage girls. They are awesome. I want to help them know that there is a different way to live. My husband and I started Go Forth Ministries. We help other people in our community and around the world. It is an international ministry.

I tell my story whenever I can, however, I can, to as many people as I can to let people know that number one, prayer works. That’s the only thing that I know that works. Prayer works and people can change.

Tiffney - I had a heart problem, not a drug problem.

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