Michelle* lived off and on the street for 23 years. She was homeless, addicted to crack cocaine and involved in prostitution. When she wasn’t on the street she was in jail. That’s where she learned about The Salvation Army’s Wellspring program. She would seek out Wellspring’s services as soon as she entered The Douglas County Department of Corrections. She participated in the classes and counseling Wellspring offers to prostitutes at the jail. She was encouraged to continue to seek help with Wellspring once released from the jail, but year after year she continued the cycle of prostituting, using drugs and then being arrested.
Four years ago Michelle decided she did not want to die. After leaving jail this time, she entered a drug treatment program Wellspring had recommended and started attending Wellspring’s Relapse Prevention Peer Support Group and counseling services.
Leaving her life of drugs and prostitution meant Michelle had to face her demons. She had to cope with memories of sexual abuse by her step-father that started when she was six and ended at 14. She also remembered the physical and emotional abuse from her mother. She remembered having her son at age 15 and not being a good teen mother. She remembered losing custody of her son and later her daughter. It took a lot of courage for Michelle to face many painful memories so she could begin to heal, but she did. She has developed a relationship with God that has helped her through these difficult times.
Michelle graduated from the drug treatment program. On that day she thanked the Wellspring staff for “never giving up on me.” Three years later she remains drug free. She is now married and is no longer homeless; in fact, she and her husband purchased their first home last year. Her future appears bright. She passed her drivers license test, has her own car and recently graduated from a local community college.
* name changed