Great Lakes Women’s Rehab – Graduate Testimonies
I am 67 and from Milwaukee, WI. I used drugs and alcohol to fill emptiness and calm my depression and anxiety. Because of the consequences of my life choices, I didn’t want to live any longer. I kept digging the pit deeper. I want to thank God for never leaving me. I want to thank my friends and family who care for me. Adult and Teen Challenge taught me how to understand God’s love. I graduated from the program in March 2022. I never thought I would even make it into the program and now I am staying for a yearlong leadership internship.
I am 35 and from Menomonee Falls, WI. Growing up, I experienced a lot of brokenness from rejection and abandonment. I have battled a 20-year addiction. At age 23, crack took over my life. I have been in and out of Adult and Teen Challenge centers since 2010. In October 2020, I was asked to leave the program for disobedience, I hit rock bottom this time and experienced homelessness. I felt alone, shameful, and afraid. Four months later, I cried out to God and flew out to Southern California to do Adult and Teen Challenge there. God is making all things new! He delivered me from a poverty mindset. I have received his love and found my worth. He has given me a voice to help others just like me. Now I am doing an internship at the Los Angeles Women’s Induction Center. I love worshipping and teaching. Matthew 16:25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” I am forever grateful to Adult and Teen Challenge for giving me a firm foundation.
I grew up in a loving Christian home with 7 other siblings. My life started changing the year I graduated from high school. My mother got sick and went into cardiac arrest. She was brought back to life only to remain in a coma for the next 8 years. I was 17 and angry at God and my mother for abandoning me and my brothers. When I was 25 she passed away. Four years later, my sister died tragically in a car accident. I went into a very deep dark depression. I was in and out of jail, doing drugs, drinking, and going through countless abusive relationships. I ended up in prison at the age of 36. I felt the Lord’s peace while I was sitting on my bunk in my cell. I felt led to start a Bible study in prison and grew close with Jesus there. After I was released, I went to Great Lakes Adult and Teen Challenge and was blessed to graduate in 2012. I attended TCLI in Minneapolis, MN to grow in leadership. I am currently living for Jesus and managing a sober living home for women. God is teaching me to be content in all circumstances. I face each day because of my Savior Jesus. My life verse is Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
My name is Rayeann and I am a graduate from Great Lakes Adult and Teen Challenge. I came into the program in January of 2018 addicted to Meth and Heroin. I was lost and hopeless so desperately seeking to be loved in all the wrong places. After years of treatments and jail time, God made a way for me to come into Adult and Teen Challenge. If it weren’t for this program, I would not have a relationship with the Lord today. I learned that God does not call the equipped, but the equips the called and just when I thought I had no purpose, God was calling me to something much higher. After I graduated the program, I went out to Brooklyn Teen Challenge to serve. I had the opportunity to work for Long Island Adult and Teen Challenge where I was house staff, helped teach second phase class, and was one of the medical coordinators for a year. I am so grateful for that experience, as I got to get closer to God and got to do so many amazing things. My faith was strengthened. Once I heard they were planning on opening a center in my hometown, La Crosse, Wisconsin, I felt like God was calling me back here to be a light in what was once a very dark place for me. I am so blessed to be a on staff at this ministry and to be his hands and feet.
My name is Aidalee. I am from Waukegan, IL and I’m 26 years old. I was raised in church and was taught at a young age about the Lord. I loved my church and did anything I could to be involved. Unfortunately, during this time I struggled with abuse at home. I started smoking marijuana at 14 to cope. When I was 19, I was diagnosed bipolar and I turned from God and started drinking, partying, and using hallucinogenic drugs. I was barely surviving and towards the end I lost all hope in myself. I cried out to the Lord for help. Adult Teen Challenge was my saving grace in 2020. I graduated and I’m now serving as an Emerging Leader Intern. I have hope in the Lord and joy for what’s to come! I will be attending bible school in the fall to follow my ministry calling.
My name is Jacqueline. I am 37 and from Green Bay, WI. I am the proud mother of three boys! I came to Adult and Teen Challenge in 2019 in desperate need of a new life. Four months later, when the Lord was starting to do something in me, I walked out of the program. Eight months after I left, I was battling addiction once again. Then I experienced an unexpected blow – my 4-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia. I knew that Jesus was the only chance for my life and his. I did whatever I could to come crawling back and He welcomed me with open arms. Two years later, I have graduated the program and have been serving as an intern, and I haven’t looked back. Living for God and His will in my life has been a long, painful ride, but God healed my son and he is now alive and well. God used an absolute tragedy to draw me close to Him!
My name is Jackie and I am 47 years old. I am from Chicago. Growing up I experienced all forms of abuse, which lead me to the inner-city streets at a very young age. I began using and selling drugs to numb my pain. In 2005, when I was pregnant with my son, I had an encounter with Jesus and it was the greatest love I have ever experienced. I stayed in an abusive relationship for my son and eventually walked away from God. Due to the abuse, I became addicted to opiates. I had another son, but my addiction continued. It caused me to lose custody and be incarcerated for 2 years. Finally, I was ready to surrender, so I called Adult and Teen Challenge. It was the best decision I have ever made. I graduated in 2021. I have restoration with my sons and peace with Jesus. He is not just my Savior, but my Lord and friend – and that is my game changer.
I am Candace. I am from Fort Smith, AR and am 35 years old. I was 10 years old when I had my first beer with my dad. At age 12, we used meth together. Before the end of high school, I dropped out because I was a full-blown addict. My father died of a drug overdose and my mother drank herself to death. I became an orphan and in need of a new family. I came to Adult and Teen Challenge in 2021 to find healing from my addiction after suicide attempts. I graduated and am now serving as an Emerging Leader Intern. This has become my new family, who treats me with unconditional love.
My name is Grace and I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in the south side of Chicago. My parents got divorced when I was 12 years old and it really affected me. I was very upset and sad that I had to be in the middle of my parent’s separation. As I got older I continued to carry this anger and darkness that followed me.
I started using marijuana during high school to ease my pain. After graduating high school I started college and began living the party life. I met a group of new friends who introduced me to Xanax and it completely took over my life. It was a high that I enjoyed. My life started slipping and in November of 2011 I found out I was pregnant. I was so afraid because I knew I was bringing a baby into a relationship that was dead.
On July 23, 2012, I had my son, Matthew. I was filled with joy and happiness but I was overwhelmed with the many issues I was going to have to face. When Matthew was 6 months old I was served court papers and my world came crashing down. It was such a difficult battle and I felt powerless when I got granted joint custody. I was disappointed in myself and felt like I failed as a mother. I didn’t know who I was anymore and in all honesty, I didn’t care to live. In January of 2016, I was introduced to heroin. I overdosed many times and remember waking up in the hospital ashamed of being alive.
My mother found out about Great Lakes Women’s Rehab through a friend and told me that I needed to go in order for me to have a relationship with my son. In February, I decided to come to Adult & Teen Challenge hoping to change my life. I came in with a mindset of doing the program for only 6 months and I did. During my time here I was very quiet about my issues. I was embarrassed about opening up and having to face my problems sober.
In July, I left the program determined to be a mother to my son. Within 2 weeks, I relapsed and lost my family and most importantly, I lost my relationship with Jesus. I couldn’t believe I failed as a mother again. This was my lowest point in life.
I was on my own and it hurt to know that my family no longer supported me or even wanted a relationship with me. I fell to my knees and asked the Lord to help me. I knew I could no longer live this life. When I walked back in through the doors of Teen challenge, I knew this is where the Lord wanted me to be.
My journey here has been difficult but one of the best things I have ever done. He’s given me the freedom and the endurance to persevere. I am so grateful to know that I am a child of God. Jesus has restored me and renewed my mind. I’m very excited to see what the Lord has planned for me and I’m open to receiving his promises.
I grew up in a normal and healthy family. There were no problems with alcohol or drugs. I started drinking occasionally on the weekends in high school. During my twenties and thirties, I drank socially.
I was 35 years old when I had my only son, Joseph. My problems started when I was taking Joseph to the bus stop. I fell down a flight stairs and was unconscious. I had been drinking the night before. Joseph was 7 at the time and knocked on a neighbor’s door. I was hospitalized.
Seeing the keys in my hand, the police assumed I was going to drive Joseph to school. Therefore DCFS came into my life. My mom was able to get custody (foster parents) of Joseph. I began a cycle of treatment programs, aftercare, AA meetings, and DCFS involvement.
My drinking got worse. I was a functioning alcoholic. It was part of my everyday life. My sister knew someone who went through Teen Challenge and suggested I go. I decided to give it a try. I arrived on August 3, 2016, and realized that this was a faith-based program and I would need to make a one-year commitment to myself, God and the Bible. A couple of days went by and that is when I started to realize I do have a life-controlling problem that I cannot handle on my own.
I struggle with sorrow in my heart when I think of all those times I spent with Joseph and I had to rush home to have that drink. I lost much time and much of his life because of my addiction. I didn’t get a chance to see his laughter or wipe his tears. I thank God that he kept Joseph warm, safe and loved under all the wings of His angels.
Today, I am completely sober through my own will and faith. Jesus wants to do so much for me in my life and all I have to do is love, pray and follow him. He gives me wisdom, knowledge, and strength to believe, so I can continue on my journey to the life He has planned for me.
Laurie has accepted an internship with Great Lakes Women’s Rehab and will be working at SuperThrift.
My name is Natalie and I’m 20 years old. I am proud to say I have found God, and there is no going back for me. Over one year ago I came into the program, a completely broken and lost soul. I had tried everything that the world had to offer me, explored every religion, but I was still left empty. I was facing prison time.
As far back as I can remember, I have had anxiety and depression. I carried pain around as my identity, not knowing there was a world outside of darkness. At a young age, I experimented with drugs and the occult. I thought that was the end of my misery but little did I know, the only thing worse than that night was the trauma that followed.
I had panic attacks every day for a year and Satan’s small whispers became loud shouts in my ear, telling me I’m worthless and better off dead. I attempted suicide multiple times, and never understood why I couldn’t die.
My carelessness landed me in and out of jail. In April of 2015, I got into a car crash, from passing out at the wheel, and got 3 years of probation. I remember being pulled out of my car and the only thing I thought was I wish I didn’t wake up.
Since coming to Great Lakes Women’s Rehab, I’ve given my life to Christ, and He has not let me down. What I’ve learned since being here, is that the voice of Christ can drown out all other voices of the world. I used to be too ashamed to show my face, but now I have a light that can’t be burned out. Today I am working as an intern in the intake department for Adult & Teen Challenge.
The scripture that I stand on is found in Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”