The next chapter

Michelle has struggled for the last nine years of her life, going through difficult times with alcohol, drugs and a sense of not feeling like she is worth anything. The challenges have been real for her because she is an addict.

Her past, however, doesn’t define Michelle because she is now on a path to success and recovery.

It all started months ago when she was in her vehicle one day sobbing and talking to God, asking Him to forgive her for losing control of her life. She had this feeling deep down that something was going to come to an end—either she would be in jail or dead.

About three weeks after that moment, she had the opportunity to go to the Green Bay Comprehensive Treatment Center, otherwise known as the Methadone Clinic. Michelle’s path to success had just started and wasn’t kicked into hyperspeed until December 23 last year.

During that cold winter day, she made numerous phone calls to St. John’s Ministries to find out what the requirements were to enter shelter and what she could bring in. Each phone call made her lessen the anxiety a little bit until she finally showed up around 9:30 pm for entry.

“I was shaking so bad and had anxiety like never before,” Michelle said looking back on that night. “For whatever reason, that night I decided I was done with all the negativity in my life and everyone I was associated with. I deleted numbers from my cell phone, blocked people on Facebook and stopped communicating with nearly everyone.”

She openly admits that she wasn’t aware of the support and resources St. John’s offered until arriving. One of the many resources offered was the chance to connect with God. Michelle attended a service and it hit her that she wasn’t alone.

“It was this amazing feeling that I’m not alone. I remember begging God for help and promising that I would do good by Him. The first sign was the clinic, then St. John’s and letting go of all the people I called ‘friends,’” she said.

Michelle knows that each day can be a struggle and the decisions she makes are for the betterment of herself, her two children and her family.

“I know I have the potential to be a better person,” she said smiling. “I know there is a good person inside me, even after all these years. My kids are ultimately one of the reasons to make myself better and I want to make them proud. I want to make my parents proud. Why? Because I know I can. I have always had this goal to help people and I can’t do that if I am an addict.”

Michelle proudly talks about her sobrietyone year sober from alcohol and four months from drugs—because she wants people to know of her success and it is part of her recovery.

“I don’t know where I would be without St. John’s,” she said. “I would probably be dead. If I hadn’t walked through those shelter doors and received the support and guidance, I wouldn’t be achieving the goals I am today.

“If I would have known the shelter was more than just a place to sleep and get a meal, I would have come in a lot sooner. The most important thing is that the resources and support are here at St. John’s, but each person must put in the work. It is very important that people know that. The support is what keeps you driven and going, but you need to push yourself too. You need to do something with the resources because St. John’s isn’t going to do it for you.”

In late March, Michelle moved out of the shelter and into a sober living apartment. She is now employed full-time, continuing to work on her sobriety and has returned to a lifestyle of happiness.

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