Program helps Norma listen to God, change her life

Norma has never been in a program before and is grateful to have the opportunity now.

Norma has never been in a program before and is grateful to have the opportunity now.

She recently celebrated one year of sobriety

After a continuous cycle of drugs, arrests, homelessness—and almost seven months spent in jail—Norma was more than ready for change. Although the Life Recovery Program is part of Norma’s court arrangement, it was something she knew she needed and wholeheartedly desired.

“Honestly, I was ready,” she said. “I’ve never had a program before. I wanted this program. It’s faith based and I wanted to get closer to God. I wanted change.”

Norma remembers growing up in a supportive family and being close to her parents and four siblings. “I’ve always been taken care of,” she said. “Living with my parents and being with my family I’ve always had everything. I’ve been very blessed. My parents always provided for me, and all my siblings are successful. But my addiction got in the way.”

At 15, Norma began to rebel. She started hanging out with the wrong crowd, surrounding herself with gang members, and sneaking out of the house and running away. She started using drugs, eventually spiraling into meth addiction. The “out-of-control” behavior escalated in her adult years, affecting the relationships she had with her family and children.

“It was this cycle … It was a rollercoaster,” Norma said. “But I finally hit rock bottom and lost everything: my house, car, relationships. I was basically homeless. I was surviving off my criminal activities… but it wasn’t working anymore. I don’t think I wanted it to work anymore.”

For Norma, the Life Recovery Program has been an opportunity for change, growth, and restoration. “I’m blessed to be here,” she said. “I’m following the rules. I’m working the program. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. That’s something I’ve never done before in my past.

“My dad always said, ‘You gotta help yourself and God will help you.’ I never really listened before. Drugs gave me the attitude of ‘I do what I want’ and ‘I’m not going to listen to nobody.’ But I know I want change, so I listen now. I’m slow to speak and quick to listen… I wasn’t that before.”

Norma celebrated one year of sobriety in September and is working on completing her GED—and she feels there are many people to thank. “This (program) runs off donations, so I can’t thank the donors enough,” she said. “They and God helped me change my life.” And she’s grateful for her family’s continuous love and support.

Upon graduation, Norma wants to get her own place with her children and join the family business. “I want to show that I can be just like them,” she said. “I want to prove to my family that I can be the person that I was raised to be… to be successful and help them succeed.

“I want to be a daughter and a sister. I want to be a mother. I was absent too long from my children’s lives— it’s time for me to be there. I’m on my way to being who I want to be now.”