Lighthouse Grad’s Life Renewed After Years of Struggle

It wasn’t until her 30s that Elena started experimenting with drugs with her husband. They were both in the entertainment industry and it was all around. “We were both drinking and using even though we were educated people and knew better,” she said. “It’s fun when it’s fun, but when it’s bad, it’s really bad.”

The couple’s partying turned into a full on addiction. “It became our whole focus,” she said. “That’s what we lived for. There was no other room for real intimacy. The main dialogue was, ‘How are we going to get stuff?’ … I had a husband who wasn’t faithful and I didn’t have any tools to deal with that, so I just drank and did more drugs. I just wanted to be completely numb.”

It “turned really ugly” when Elena started neglecting her son, she said. “I was not sleeping because I was wondering where my husband was, and because I was high all the time,” she said. “At some point your body has to crash. When my son was young, he had to experience that burden of ‘Why isn’t my mom waking up to change me? Why are people banging on the door and my mom doesn’t hear them?’ At some point you check out.”

After getting in trouble with the law, Elena and her husband divorced, lost custody of their son and spent some time in jail. After, Elena went to stay on a friend’s couch until she figured out her next step. She ended up staying there for seven years. “I didn’t understand how to climb my way out. I stayed at the bottom of that pit for a very long time. The self-talk that goes on: ‘You’re a horrible mother, look what you’ve done with your child, your family doesn’t even want you around. You’re a loser. You’re crazy.’”

It was church that got Elena considering help. “I started going, and soon, I was living for Sunday. I was still doing drugs, but I’d sober up by the time church came around. But the Lord got tired of me straddling the fence.” Friends at church learned Elena was battling addiction. “It was very humbling. I had to completely surrender and confess sin. I thought I was keeping up a pretty good front. But God pulls the blanket off, and reveals things. I couldn’t hide anymore.”

Elena entered the Lighthouse three years ago. “At first I just cried every day. I just wanted to be better enough so I could go home, but it turned into me really wanting a life change. I realized I wanted something different. I deserved something different. Soon, I had 90 days (sober), and then before I knew it, those 90 days turned into six months (sober).”

After 10 months, Elena graduated from the program and interned before earning a scholarship to attend bible college—she’s in her second year now. She also works at the school, and has a job at Lowe’s. “God provides for us,” she said. “I’m a walking testimony. God completely stripped everything away—it was a process of being naked—but now he has clothed me and is moving me forward. My path was rough at some points, but I look back and see how blessed I was, and I realize God was with me the whole time.”