I have battled with addiction for almost 25 years. My mother and father were very set in their lifestyle of drinking and drug use when they had me. When I was around two years old, my mom left my dad and took me to her boyfriend’s house in Edmonton. Her boyfriend was an intravenous drug addict and usually very mean. Physical, mental, and emotional abuse was my normal. I saw many things a child should not see in my dysfunctional home. At around five years old, I was sexually abused.
I started smoking meth at the age of 9. At 11 years old, I started sneaking out at night, and at 13 became pregnant. My mother immediately asked the doctor about an abortion. That was so hard on me. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, not even my dad, to whom I usually told everything. I started drinking at 14 and smoking weed on top of the meth use. I was raped at a high school party. That was traumatic. My family told me, “Don’t say anything; our family will handle it.” My whole life, I was taught not to speak to the police or professional workers of any kind and not to ask for help. I didn’t know how to process my pain: all I knew was how to numb it out as a ‘functioning addict.’
In my teens and adulthood, I looked for the biggest, baddest guys I could find high up in the criminal world. I thought I’d be protected and safe. But most of my relationships have been toxic with physical, mental and emotional abuse. My family and friends didn’t know how to help me, so I pushed most people away. Partying and drugs were what I relied on.
When I was 20, I got into a relationship and became pregnant with my son, Brandon. Four months after he was born, his dad and I got married. We started a contracting company together. We were 24 years old with more than we could handle—drugs, alcohol, possessions, family, but no faith. On April 13, 2012, my husband came home from the lounge, we got into an argument, and he beat me for hours, breaking my collarbone, tailbone and ribs. I was in shock and scared, but I refused to make a statement to the police. My son and I fled to Edmonton, where I began running and selling large amounts of cocaine. I was deep in the criminal lifestyle, and I was doing so much cocaine I was literally bleeding from my ears and nose. I had a beautiful baby boy who needed me, but my life was falling apart, and I didn’t know who to turn to.
My son and I moved to Rocky Mountain House, where I got into treatment at Serenity Ranch Treatment Centre. It was private back then and cost $14K for the 6-week program. My dad paid for the treatment, and my cousin looked after my son. I finished the program, and the counsellors encouraged me to become an addictions worker. They said that I was an inspiration and that it was my calling. But I knew my addiction wasn’t over. After treatment, my son and I moved back to Whitecourt, where I gave birth to my daughters, Miia and Bella-Rae, and became pregnant with my third daughter, Faith.
My current boyfriend decided we would have a better life if we moved to the city. He got a job at the refinery, and we moved to a huge, beautiful home in Sherwood Park. But our addictions got worse, and my children suffered immensely from this in many ways. He lost his job, and after falling behind on rent, we were evicted from our home and lost our belongings. The next day, Child and Family Services came to our hotel and apprehended my children. I was homeless, 9½ months pregnant and had just lost my children. I didn’t show up for Faith’s scheduled C-section. I was scared they would take her, so I delivered Faith naturally in my hotel bathroom. We were both ambulanced to the Royal Alex, where Faith was admitted to the NICU. I lived there with her for three weeks, and then she was apprehended too. My addiction was the worst it had ever been. I was the worst I’d ever been.
I adapted to street life quickly. I picked up a lot of criminal charges and my first jail sentence when I was 31 years old. Going into my second jail sentence, I had 57 charges out of Edmonton, 10 out of Sherwood Park, 3 out of Calgary and a couple out of Whitecourt. My second time in jail is where I really met God again. I saw the Chaplin, and he knew things he would have had no way of knowing. He got my attention. I started praying again. He said, “Samantha, you need a miracle, and only God can do that.”
The third time in jail, something was different: I wanted to change. The guards saw that I was trying and helped me fill out my application for Adeara. By the grace of God, I was released from jail with a summary disposition and minimal conditions. It was almost like a clean slate. I ended up in a crisis shelter where I prayed to God, asking Him to get me into a treatment centre. The very next day, Adeara called.
My life has done a complete 180. I see my son Brandon now; God has returned Bella-Rae and Miia into my care, and I’m building a relationship with Faith. God has blessed me with the privilege of being a mother again. I talk to my family again. Without God, none of this would be possible. My relationship with God is the strongest it’s ever been: He’s my ‘go-to’ for everything, and I need Him in my life daily. I am forever grateful. God and Adeara have saved my life.
Samantha, Adeara Resident