When Keyana gave birth to her son, he was taken from her immediately by Child Protective Services. She had been using drugs throughout her pregnancy and had been homeless for three years. Now, just over a year later, Keyana has received the keys to her new home, a room in transitional housing, where she’ll live with her son. She graduated last month from the Lighthouse’s Life Recovery Program.
“There are times when it was hard, but they encourage us to push through,” Keyana said. “They say there’s a blessing at the end of the storm. There will always be trials, but it was all so worth it.”
Keyana started experimenting with alcohol and drugs in high school. “I’d see people trying stuff and think, ‘It’s making them feel good, so it should make me feel good.’ I always felt empty. I felt alone.”
After a good first year at Oxnard College, Keyana started dating a man who was using meth. “That relationship was my gateway. It opened my world up to a whole different drug. As soon as I tried it, it was like all the doors flew open and I was running through them all. Everything with my family fell apart. There were screaming sessions and I was more aggressive. That drug makes you a different person.
“I experienced all types of abuse in that relationship—mentally, physically. … It happened so quickly. I was in college, doing OK. And just like that, I lost my financial aid, my car broke down, and I became homeless.”
After her relationship ended, Keyana stayed on the streets. “I was just running around, just on a binge. My mom would try to come find me. I’d see her and she’d try to pull me home and I’d yell and refuse to come back. I became very, very addicted. I just decided that was what I was going to live for.”
While on the streets, Keyana became pregnant. Four days after her son was taken from her, Keyana came to the Lighthouse. She has a great relationship with her mom now, and a mentor who is helping her secure work. “I’ve never had discipline or structure in my life until I got here,” Keyana said. “I’ve never felt love. It was hard for me to submit to structure, but being here I’ve learned that having discipline gets me somewhere. Following God’s will helps me stay focused on what I need to be doing.”
Her relationship with God has blossomed. “I knew about him, but I didn’t know him. The love I’ve gotten here in this place, the love that was shown to me, it was God’s love. I have always looked for love in all the wrong places. I feel like I had a hole in my heart and what I was looking for was a father’s love. And that’s what I got.”