MaryAnn helping out in the kitchen.

MaryAnn helping out in the kitchen.

MaryAnn was raised by a single mom alongside her five siblings. Her dad left the family when she was only 7 years old. “My dad chose to live in Mexico instead of with our family,” MaryAnn said. “And that has always affected me.”

MaryAnn’s childhood was not easy. She and her siblings were often left alone to care for themselves. “My mom was an alcoholic and meth user,” MaryAnn said. “She would be gone for days and I feared she would leave us too, just like my dad did.”

At age 12, MaryAnn joined a gang and started using drugs. “I felt like my mom didn’t want us.

“At 13, I went to juvenile hall for a fight at school,” MaryAnn added. “After 10 months, I got out I started using drugs again, this time with my mom.” With no guidance, structure, or care within the home, MaryAnn continued to use drugs and skip school; she dropped out in 11th grade.

When MaryAnn was 25 years old she married her high school boyfriend and together they had five children. She would stay sober during pregnancy, but relapsed. The death of her mom was MaryAnn's rock bottom. “I lost all sanity after she died,” she said. I (became) homeless and started robbing houses.”

Over the next several years MaryAnn found herself in and out of jail. Her children were bounced back and forth between her care and foster care, and ultimately removed from her and adopted by a family friend.

It was the death of her husband that led her to recovery. “This is the beautiful part of my story,” she said. “At my husband’s funeral, my brothers and sisters were there. I had not talked to them in years. My brother offered me a chance to change my life, go home with him, and get right. I just surrendered.” MaryAnn entered the Lighthouse program.

MaryAnn was unaware of how great her health had declined from the years of drug abuse and living on the streets. Since arriving to the program, she has lost 100 pounds. “The counselors are always there to support me and to help take care of myself,” she said.

MaryAnn’s favorite verse that helps her stay the course is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” “Whenever I am working out and running I say this verse to myself over and over again. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I know God has given me strength and self-control.”

The Lighthouse staff has encouraged MaryAnn not only in her addiction recovery and health but also in preparing and planning her future. She took the GED last month, opened a bank account, and is learning how to drive. She’s working on saving money and getting a job. Her life is restored. “People would say to me ‘Good Morning,’ and I would say back, ‘What’s so good about it?’ But now I love to wake up because I get another day.”