Editor's Note: Back in October, we met Amanda while she was staying at the Crisis Shelter with her daughter, Daisy. We encourage you to read about the beginning of Amanda's journey with us. She and Daisy have now moved into Anna Ogden Hall where Amanda is pursuing long-term life change through UGM's LIFE recovery program. We recently visited with Amanda about that transition and where she is on her journey today.
What was it like waiting to get into the LIFE recovery program?
It’s hard. It really is. You have to call every Friday, and you don’t get an answer back, and when you get accepted, you still have to wait until you can move in. It was like I was waiting for something that was going to happen but it wasn’t going to happen right now, and it was really hard.
What did you do in the in-between time?
Prayed. A lot. I had my 3-year-old with me, and she’s like three children in one. She is all over place – everywhere and in everything – so it was hard. I had this million-dollar mansion, I just couldn’t move in yet.
Did you ever despair?
I was close to it, but I’m really thankful for Rich and Diane and Dan. Daisy loved Dan. Dan and Rich always had this "competition" over Daisy. They just loved her, and she loved them, and it was just so amazing that I had all of their help because, without them, I don’t think I could have done this program.
What were the positives and negatives of staying at the Crisis Shelter?
The positive about the Shelter is that it does give you a safe place, and it’s pretty much like the first three months is a sobriety test. Can you really be sober? Can you really try to turn to God? Can you get ready to change your life for the rest of your life?
The negative part is that you had to be careful about who you could be friends with and who you couldn’t be friends with. They’re all wonderful ladies, but they’re just not in the right place to be around children. Standing out in the cold waiting for dinner – that was horrible. The fact that we had to share a room…I wish I was a single at the Crisis Shelter because being in a mom’s room with six other kids and two other moms was very hard. Kids pick up other kids’ habits, and other moms don’t correct their kids' habits. So it’s definitely challenging to hold your tongue and just let it be.
I had to keep my mind focused on what I wanted because if I didn’t keep my mind focused on what I wanted, I probably wouldn’t be here. I’ve been sober for six months of drugs, and I’ve been sober for three months of relationships. So having that on my side tells me that I can beat the devil no matter where I’m at. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to get tested every once in a while or every day or every minute. It just means that if I can do it for six months, I can do it for six years.
What was it like to move into Anna Ogden Hall?
It was a little hectic at first. The first week, I was told just to observe, and I’m not an observer. I’m a doer. I have to do things, and I stay busy so that my mind doesn’t think because when I start thinking, then I feel the pain. Well, that is what this program is for. You have to feel the pain to let it go, to recover from that pain.
I’ve been getting abused for the past seven years, and my counselor has told me many times to just stop doing what I’m doing and meditate and pray to God. And that is the best and worst advice that you could get in one day...In order to heal, you have to do nothing, and I’m not very good at doing nothing.
How would you describe the “need for change” in your life?
I was doing drugs, a lot of drugs. I always told myself, Today’s going to be different. Today’s going to be better, and I’m not going to get hit today; I’m not going to use drugs today; I’m not going to yell at my daughter today; we’re not going to fight today; it’ll be different. And it just kept repeating and repeating, and it always went downhill. By the end of the day, I was high on drugs. I was here and there, and I was ignoring my daughter.
How did you make the “choice to change”?
I went to City Life Church on September 22, and I asked God if I was where He wanted me to be, and I just started crying. I had a bunch of the ladies from City Life…they gathered around me and we all prayed and we decided that going back to UGM was the best fit for me and coming to AOH was the best fit for me. I am so thankful for all of the ladies. They helped me with job interviews. One lady got up at 4:30 in the morning to pick me up at the Crisis Shelter to go to a job interview at 5:30, and they were watching my kid while I was doing this. I’m so thankful for that.
How do you see yourself changing in the short time you’ve been here?
I am more patient with my daughter than I have ever been. My child is definitely…she is chaotic, but she’s just like me when I was a kid. So I can handle that chaotic-ness because that chaotic-ness is in me.
My love for God has grown, and I’ve actually come to the point where I don’t have to talk to men to make myself feel better. And I’m finding out more stuff than I’ve ever known about myself.
Stay tuned for more updates as we follow Amanda and Daisy on this LIFE recovery journey.
Take Action: Amanda described a bit of the atmosphere at the Crisis Shelter where she and Daisy lived for several months. We'd very much like to have you join us in praying for the Crisis Shelter - the place where many women come face-to-face with the need to change. Click on the link below for a pdf of "100 Days of Prayer" for the Crisis Shelter for Women & Children.
- Barbara Comito, UGM writer