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The Lighthouse remains a major force in Aimee’s life


Aimee graduated from Hueneme High School in 1997 having never touched a drug. But after graduation, she was encouraged by a friend to try a “party drug” that turned out to be crack. She liked the feeling, but only did it once or twice. She also tried marijuana, but didn’t like it very much either.

“I really didn’t start using drugs until my 30s,” she said. “I had a knee injury in high school that never got better. It got worse and worse.” After seeing a doctor, Aimee was prescribed painkillers. “I never knew that was going to be the start of the battle.”

Aimee became addicted to the pills, and when they ran out, she started smoking marijuana with her husband. “Weed made me lazy and tried,” she said. “We got a new neighbor that moved next to us. I found out that she moved to Oxnard from Orange County because she was trying to get clean from her meth addiction. She ended up not getting clean and had some one day and asked me to try it with her. I used and never stopped. That went on for about six years. I began to lose everything.”

Aimee experienced a stroke as a result of her drug use. “It was so scary. All I could think about was my kids,” she said. “You would have thought that would have stopped me from using, but no, two or three weeks later I was back using. I was lying to myself, telling myself maybe if I stop mixing the pills with my meth and the weed it won’t cause any health issues again. So I told myself I’ll just stick to the meth and leave everything else alone and I would be fine. “

Child Protective Services showed up on her doorstep a few weeks later and removed her children. They were placed with her parents.  “It took me a while to jump start myself after that,” she said. “My parents had them for a whole year before I even started wanting to seek help. It was hard. I finally came to a realization that I couldn’t do it on my own. I had to reach out to someone.”

Aimee knew someone who worked at the Lighthouse and encouraged her to try the program. After two days, Aimee felt overwhelmed and left.  But four months later, she had lost her car and her home. “It was the worst time in my whole life, even in my marriage,” she said. “I went back to the Lighthouse and it just became home this time.”

Aimee’s kids began to visit her there and even volunteer. “I enjoyed every moment of my time at the Lighthouse. It changed my life.” 

Aimee especially enjoyed the parenting classes. “They were awesome. I began to look at where I was going wrong.  I learned that to discipline them was to love them.  I knew my kids were hurting and they wanted to be home. They wanted their mom back. It was just time that I got clean.”

Aimee has been clean now for nearly four years and is a guest services associate at the Lighthouse shelter. “Before I was employed here, I hadn’t worked in 10 or 11 years because I was in my addiction,” she said. She and her husband had lived off disability checks her husband received because of a back injury. “We lived check to check and borrowed money from family and friends and even got check advances to support our habit. It was terrible.”

Aimee’s husband went to an outpatient program and also got clean—they recently celebrated 18 years of marriage. “He decided that he wanted to lead his family correctly so he dug into church and the Lord. He is on fire for God,” said Aimee, who added that the couple just welcomed their first grandchild. “I’s a blessing to see my family grow and just to be a part of what God is doing.”

Aimee loves working for the Lighthouse and just received her biblical counseling certificate. She would like to become a case worker at the Lighthouse in the future.  “I just love to pour my love and kindness onto broken people. I love that fact that I can reach them on their level. I am blessed to be able to have gone through my struggles so that I am able to help the next person.

“I would have never imagined being here today with my family. This was God’s hands. We now have a place of our own and I am employed by the people who helped save me. I am speechless of God’s work.”

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