I was born in East Hastings in Vancouver—a rough place, to say the least. Heroin started ruining my life when I was just 11 years old. Enslaved by addiction, I lived in Vancouver until my early twenties. Desperate for change, I hitchhiked all the way to Kelowna.
My mom followed me so we could live together. The change-of-scenery worked—for a while. I got clean. I worked for a painting company for three years, and it was during those years that I gave birth to my amazing daughters.
Despite all of the ways my life was looking up, I had never received help to completely recover from my addiction. It was something that plagued me. Eventually, I slipped back into drug use and everything fell apart.
My family drew a line, washed their hands of me.
That’s when I arrived at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, to stay in their emergency shelter because I had nowhere else to go. I stayed at the Mission for two and a half years, because I was trapped in the cycle of addiction. The staff were always patient and kind with me.
Eventually, I ran into trouble with the police and ended up in jail a couple of times. I wish my life had been different. But you can’t change your past, you can only take responsibility for it and do better today.
While in jail, I managed to get clean.
After I was released, I went to rehab for six months, and successfully graduated from a recovery program.
This time, something clicked. I wanted more than anything to rebuild my life, so I contacted people I knew would support me. I reached out to staff from the Mission. They’re so amazing. They always stuck by me.
I’m happy to tell you that my life has stabilized. I’m six years clean and I own my own company called D & A Painting. I’ve got a place not only for myself, but also for my daughters.
My kids are ecstatic to have their mom back. Every day, they tell me, “We’re so proud of you, Mom!”
I’m so grateful to the staff at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, for their support through thick and thin. They’re an amazing organization.
There’s such a great need in our city, so many women on the streets who need help. Thank you for supporting the Mission and for helping women like me to rebuild our lives!