I was only 12, and my mom was finally in my life...
What I wanted most was for her to love me and want to
be around me. She was the person who introduced me to meth, and I did drugs with her. At the time I loved it, and I continued to use, quitting school when I was 15.
Eventually, I fell head over heels in love with a drug dealer who provided me with money and an endless supply of drugs. It was then that my life became darker because of his mental, physical, and emotional abuse. One day he and his dad tied me to a chair and physically beat me for hours. A few months later I was able to escape from this abuse but wound up homeless, still on drugs and hating life. I would get random, short-term jobs but never could keep them.
When I was 23, I caught my first felony charge for stealing my sister’s car and not returning it.
This began my involvement with the criminal justice system. After serving four months, I was released to my dad, who had guardianship of my two children, then ages 2 and 3. I started using drugs again and my dad kicked me out, which led to a residency violation on my probation and going back to prison.
I went back to prison three times. During one hiatus I got pregnant but was still using drugs. The state stepped in, and I signed papers to give my baby boy up for adoption. Two years later I was pregnant again and reached out to my son’s legal mother, who agreed to adopt this child as well.
"When I was nearly 8 months pregnant and sober, I was still homeless and on the run."
My boyfriend and I were taking a rest at his friend’s home, and when he decided it was time for us to leave, I pleaded to stay as my feet were very swollen. He became enraged, threw me down on the ground, and stomped me in the face.
"I thought I was going to die."
While he was stomping, I rolled on my side away from him to protect my baby. He then stomped my lower back, and then my stomach. As I lay there his friend let his pit bull loose, and it latched on to my face.
"I have the scars on my face to forever remind me of this abuse, as well as my willingness to survive and live."
I raised and crawled out the door. Holding my stomach, I walked down the road. A lady named Kelly Barber saved my life. She pulled over, put me in her car, and took me to the police station. I was immediately taken by ambulance to one hospital, and then to another as my kidneys and liver were completely failing. An emergency induction was performed, and my son was born, with a punctured lung, and nearly two months early — but he was alive.
Today he is a perfectly healthy boy, living with his adoptive family.
Happy to have escaped my abuser and that chapter of my life, I was dismayed when come crimes I had committed came back. I was charged with burglary, stealing firearms, and breaking and entering. I plead guilty and was sentenced to a year-long treatment program in the Department of Corrections.
"Believing this could be my fresh start..."
I gave it my all and earned my Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) license, 19 various certifications, and was proudly placed as an ‘elder’ in the highest structure position. Wanting to see what else I was capable of; I applied and was accepted to The SoulFisher Ministries in Saint Louis. Taking their pre-release classes like ‘Identity’ before ever being released, I latched on to the idea of a better life.
SoulFisher Ministries Helps Angela to Reenter Society After Incarceration
Ms. DeNyne from SoulFisher Ministries answered all my questions and concerns about the program, and when I was released in the fall of 2022, she was there to pick me up from prison and welcome me with open arms. She spent the whole day showing me around the office, the reentry housing and introducing me to the staff. I was home, and I could feel in my heart, that this was where I was meant to be. Day or night, I knew I could call if needed and they would have my back.
"I've never had anything like it, and SoulFisher is my family."
I am in classes, therapy, life coaching, and volunteer as a tutor at the ENAL after-school program. It feels good to give back. I will continue to grow to be the best woman I can be. My goals are to successfully complete the AGAPE program with a full-time career, build healthy relationships with my children and family, and continue to progress in my recovery.
Thanks to The SoulFisher Ministries, I love my life and am happy with myself. I feel wanted, loved, and accomplished.
For the first time ever, I can say I am more than one year sober and cannot wait for my future.
If you would like to hear another story, Linda's story, click here: https://youtu.be/qB0lIqrXPfQ
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