People You Should Know: Carol

I was the woman people would look at and say, “She has everything.” Nice home, great Christian family. But I had a secret. I was a victim of sexual abuse between the ages 4 and 8. I carried that secret for 40 years — but eventually, your secrets make you sick. In my 40s, I started to struggle with sleeplessness, anxiety and depression. My doctor prescribed medications, and they were a relief at first … until I got addicted.

Over the next six years, my life unraveled. I lost my marriage … my kids’ trust in me … my driver’s license … my home. I tried 30-day rehab programs, but not much changed. A relative who had volunteered at the Mission kept telling me, “You should look at the Rockford Rescue Mission.” I thought I was above that. I was full of pride.

In 2012, I woke up in a hospital room after an overdose. It was then I knew God had a better plan for my life. I finally submitted myself to go to the Mission. They didn’t have a room for me, so I stayed in their Crisis Center for three weeks. Then I spent eight months in the Life Recovery Program. For the first time, I could work through those childhood hurts, understand forgiveness and develop the tools to find recovery.

One of my roommates at the Mission told me, “Carol, you never cry.” I had suppressed my emotions — but today, I cry tears of gratitude. I tell other women: Don’t hide. Reach out your hand and ask for help. When you go into true recovery it’s not just going to change your life. It will change the lives of those around you as they witness the change in your life.

Today I manage hospitality for Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference in Michigan. It’s a special place for me, and I love my life. I’ll always remember what my son told me during my time at the Mission: “Mom, I think you lost everything you had to find that God is all you need.”