Central Indiana Teen Challenge
Growing up I thought I had the perfect life. I was home schooled by my stay at home mom along with my three siblings and six cousins. I went to church regularly and was involved in many church activities. When I was seven years old my “perfect life” was shattered when my oldest cousin decided that my body would be his new sexual outlet. He kept me quiet by convincing me that because we were not blood related our relationship was fine. My abuse went on for three years. I was so ashamed and felt so dirty. I needed an outlet for all my pain, I began to cut myself for the next three years. During this time, I stayed active and went about life like any other kid. I played sports, got good grades, and still went to church. In 7th grade my parents divorced, and my dad moved. I was so infuriated with him. I wonderer “How could he just up and leave like that?” I wanted nothing to do with the man. Because of the divorce, my mom had to go to work and I had to go to public school. My whole world was being turned upside down and I was not okay with it. Over that summer I spent a lot of time alone because my mom worked and had school and my sisters were always busy. Going into eighth grade I had a lot of hurt and anger. I started off doing well, I played basketball, had a 4.0 GPA and had good friends. But second semester everything changed. My emotions caught up with me and I needed an outlet. I got two new best friends who were drug addicts and very promiscuous. My whole life revolved around my boyfriend, then the comments about my weight started. I was so terrified I would lose him if I didn’t lose weight, so I made a trade, myself for him, and I began to starve myself. When he dumped me anyway, depression took me over like a storm. I went to the hospital and it was there it was discovered that I had an eating disorder. I was 60 pounds under weight. Ninth grade I thought I was living a true nightmare. My ex-boyfriend had spread rumors that I had been sleeping around and told other kids at school that I had been cutting myself. The dirty comments and jokes were never ending. Every day stepping into that school took every ounce of courage in me. After being in school for about two months I over-dosed on my anti-depressants. Over a few weeks I was admitted to a inpatient psych unit, to out-patient and then back into in-patient. Finally, I came home and put my brave face on. My parents had pulled me out of school and things seemed to be going okay. It was a lie. Thanksgiving eve I overdosed and was taken back to the hospital. Once released, I went straight back to my old friends and decided drugs was all I had left to try, so I did. It started with just cigarettes. then I started smoking marijuana. I was still living a double life. I was able to stay sober for seven weeks over the summer, smoking was too hard to try to hide from my parents, I started abusing my Adderall and codeine. At first it was just after school, but it only took a few weeks and I started before school and during school. When my dad got re-married, I drank for the first time. I began drinking every weekend, and I was drunk and high every day at school. My grades were the worst they had been my entire life, no one else could. So I asked my parents to get me help, and I wanted it to be faith-based. After several months of debate and conversation my parents made the decision and I came to Teen Challenge. I was so upset I was here and just wanted to go home, I tried several times to convince my parents to pull me, but to no avail. I was stuck here. I determined that I was not going to participate. But after three months in the program, I had an encounter with God that all at once shattered all my walls I kept hearing Him say to me, “I did not abandon you, you replaced Me.” I literally heard Him, and His voice sounded broken, like His heart was broken. That night was the beginning of a long battle with myself. I still had a very hard time accepting that God is a good God who loves me and His love cast out my fear. My boldness for God comes from nowhere but His love for me. I will no longer allow my past or this world to tell me who I am. I am a child of The King. Through all this not only did I receive my heavenly father, but I accepted my earthly father too. Through God’s strength I have been able to forgive my dad for who he has been. I have accepted him for who he is, which is a dad who loves me very much, even when I cannot see it.
I am from Texas and am 15 years old. I grew up with a mother who abandon me at two. Her need for drugs, alcohol and prostitution proved more important to her than her family. My father loved us the only way he knew how to and gave into our wants without any discipline. He wanted to provide for us the love and nurturing that a mother would bring into our lives, but money did not buy our happiness. Eventually at 13 years of age, I lost my virginity to the popular jock of our school. After continuing to have a sexual relationship with him, a pregnancy resulted. Both of our families would not be okay with this, so I moved into my mother’s home. My mother had not changed, and still chose not to be a mother to me but more of a friend. While living with her I had a miscarriage. It devastated me and caused me a lot of shame. Following this I started to date the local drug dealer, a 19-year-old, and became addicted to cocaine. I went to a party my mom was throwing with her boyfriend, I talked to a guy who invited me to go to his car and it was there he raped me. I further plummeted through drugs and prostitution, my dad kept trying to help. He would not leave me alone – so a friend of mine suggested I accuse him of rape – so I did. This destroyed my relationship with him and my step mother. Things had to change, and my dad found Teen Challenge. During my time at Teen Challenge I have learned, to put boundaries up for my mom so that she no longer can influence my life. To let go of all my shame and not let it hold me down from my future. My step mom and I are working on forgiveness for the shame and hurt I caused my dad through his investigation and proven innocence. I have learned that I am worthy of being made sober and putting my comfort in God and God alone. Jesus has set me free from the bondage of lying, has helped me gain respect for myself again, and over time He will continue to heal me from what was lost.
“teen challenge changed my life completely, I learned what it really meant to be a Christian and after I graduated I learned how hard it was to live what I was taught. It has been a struggle for me but now I know what it is like to live. Teen challenge turned around my life. I will never forget the friends I made during the time. I will always keep in touch with the friends that I have been blessed to meet. I couldn’t have done it without their guidance, thank you so much”, Melanie
“Growing up, I felt like the black sheep in my family. I felt that I was always being compared to my older brother, but I could never quite measure up. To avoid the pain and frustration I felt, I turned to drugs and alcohol. Life began to spin out of control and eventually, I asked my mom for help. I came to Teen Challenge willingly, with a desire to change. At Teen Challenge, I learned that I am not alone and that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I accepted Jesus into my heart and I am working through the issues that took me down the wrong road in the past. I am happiest I have been in a very long time.” Emily