Reclaiming Joy

In high school, Sharon was one of those teenagers who exuded confidence. She was a daddy’s girl, a cheerleader, and with her family behind her, it seemed like nothing could stand in her way.

She joined the military and fell in love with her career, but found something she loved even more when she met her future husband. That day she called her mom saying “It’s everything you told me about you and dad…he touched my shoulder and my knees got weak.”

Life came together as they got married and started a family. Her husband served abroad and soon enough her children began high school. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, something dangerous crept up behind her.
It didn’t seem like an addiction at first.

“Everything is done here with the hopes of us healing and moving on to a bigger and better life.”

Sharon started calling her new pain medication her “happy pills.” But when the refills ran out, she kept chasing that feeling. There was an emptiness, whether it was her husband’s travels, or the death of her beloved father, she didn’t know. All she knew was how to fill the hole.

She drove herself deeper into drug use for years, only later realizing her son had started down the same path.

Fear and guilt compounded, pulling her into harder substances and leaving her overwhelmed with pain. “I was not a mother at all or a wife,” she says, “I hated my life and so did my son.”

The worst came when her husband realized he had to leave, hoping she would finally get help. It broke her heart. “I know now, God let me let him go,” she says. With nowhere to live, and her family nudging her on, she eventually decided to come to Water Street.

She came running on adrenaline, trying to figure out her finances, housing, and recovery all at once. But in her first week, three separate staff members approached her, telling her she could “slow down,” and take it one step at a time.

Life coaches helped her realize she had been facing depression for years, self-medicating instead of addressing her pain. She started counseling and then took classes in our Residential Program, soon learning “you’re not good until you find out how you got that way and give it to God.” Now she knows there are no shortcuts. “All those years of trying to fill in the hole that was missing, I was missing God that whole time.”

Through working towards her goals one step at a time, Sharon can say that today she is in a completely different place. She’s reunited with the love of her life, and recently bought a new home, a perfect setting for their next chapter together. Through the Step Up program, staff helped her find a life-giving job that “doesn’t even feel like a job,” working at a nursing home. Now, she is ready for a fresh start. “I just love the wife that God’s given me the chance to be, the mother, the grandmother… Joy came into my life and that’s an indescribable thing.”