When Dichelle talks about her upbringing, it’s easy to see the role that abuse, trauma and poverty played in her troubled life.
Her dad wasn’t in the picture. And her mother was mostly absent, leaving Dichelle to raise herself without guidance or help with school work. Her mother eventually remarried, but to an abusive man who Dichelle feared.
At the earliest opportunity, she left home to venture out on her own.
Despite her best intentions, life didn’t go according to plan. When Dichelle started her own family, she thought this was her chance to create the family she’d always wanted. Unfortunately, her husband fell into patterns of addiction and abuse.
When their marriage fell apart, the separation was ugly.
Her mother-in-law fought tooth and nail in court for the custody of the children. She succeeded. And when the dust settled, Dichelle was devastated to find herself alone once more.
She moved to Penticton with hopes of starting over. She didn’t know then that she couldn’t run from her pain. It found her wherever she went. One day, her new boyfriend offered her a hit of heroin. Tired of struggling and desperate to numb her loss, Dichelle said yes.
For the next 10 years, she found herself in situations of chronic homelessness. During this time, she visited Kelowna’s Gospel Mission often, and the staff never gave up on her.
When no one treats you with kindness, it’s hard to trust—even when help is offered to you. It took Dichelle years to access the support she needed to turn her life around. But before she was ready to accept help, she had to find faith.
“I found God in this place. I came to realize that faith is a good thing. Something that was there for me, something in my life helping me and taking the worries off my mind,” Dichelle says.
Dichelle knew she was lost. But didn’t know how to find her way back on her own.
When she decided to stay away from drugs, she came to our shelter. Each day, our staff patiently encouraged her to get treatment but were careful not to overstep. When she was ready, they made the call to set up an appointment with a detox centre.
Today, I’m proud to tell you that Dichelle not only graduated from the recovery program but has also been certified as an outreach worker herself!
She’s so grateful to have been given a second chance to start over and can’t wait to help others like her succeed.