The domestic violence Cierra witnessed in her parents’ relationship had an effect on her from a young age. The middle child of three recalls the negative attitude and general distrust that stemmed from her home life. “I was very angry growing up because of what I saw,” she said.
Cierra’s parents divorced and her mom remarried when she was 5 years old. In middle school, Cierra began rebelling against her parents, starting arguments, and using marijuana and alcohol. In high school, she took to running away from home after fighting with her parents, and taking pills. “I would get into relationships, but I’d always argue and push people away because of what I’d gone through as a kid,” she said.
Cierra sobered up when she got pregnant at 22. She was in a relationship with her child’s father for four years. “He was my high school sweetheart,” Cierra said. “But there was domestic violence going on, and he was also the one who introduced me to methamphetamine.”
Six months after giving birth to her daughter Skylar, Cierra relapsed on meth. “I went through a psychosis,” said Cierra, who had split from her daughter’s father. “I needed help, but I would try to go to him. He refused to help me with my psychosis or our child.”
After losing custody of her daughter, Cierra sought help with her addiction elsewhere, and went to a local recovery program. After graduating, she entered the Lighthouse. “After five months here, I got my daughter placed with me,” she said. “But two months in, I ended up losing her again. I was exited from the program. It was my pride. I was disobeying staff. I was starting arguments with others. I was doing my own thing.”
Cierra takes responsibility for her behavior. “I self-sabotage when I’m about to get to (a goal),” she said. “I was about to graduate and I sabotaged the whole thing. I continued to work at the Super Thrift, and I was visiting my daughter, suffering through depression. When I returned, everyone welcomed me back. I got stronger in the word.
“I had to learn to leave it in God’s hands and try not to take control. My kid used to suffer anxiety from coming back and forth between me and her foster family. It was complicated and hard. I had to go to therapy and my daughter had to go through therapy. I had to think about getting better for her because she needs her mother. It was about not being selfish and not focusing on what I wanted. I needed to seek the Lord and make sure I was doing things right. After that, I was in my counselor’s office almost every day, working through everything I needed to to become a better person.”
Cierra’s daughter was placed with her again last December, and in February she got custody of Skylar back. Cierra’s been clean for a year-and-a-half, and will graduate the Lighthouse program in September. She’s back in school and is moving into the Transitional Living Program. “The Lighthouse is a great place of support, and helps to guide you biblically,” Cierra said. “It really helps you open eyes to what God has for you.”