Tiffany laughs easily and often these days. She has reunited with her children and reconnected with a career in nursing that she thought was lost forever. A future that felt ominous not long ago, now appears as bright as her smile.
“I came here as a victim of human trafficking and addiction,” Tiffany says. “But the people here don't treat you that way. They don't see you as you were in your past. The way they approach you and speak to you and pray over you, even when you’re being difficult -- they exhibit the truest form of Christianity I've ever seen in action. And you're not a victim; here you are a new creation in Christ. And the expectation is to walk accordingly.”
Before arriving at the Hope Center in October 2019, Tiffany had struggled with addiction for 20 years. She had entered other treatment programs but had not been able to break the cycle of addiction for long. She had lost jobs and friends and a substantial amount of self-worth. She had been betrayed and abused by people she had trusted.
So, she was understandably skeptical about whether the Hope Center, and the people she would meet there, would be any different.
“I was pretty open to change,” she says, “but I didn’t trust people. People change over time, and I always expected people here to change, but they never did. It made me start thinking that I had some potential. I kept waking up every day and these people still loved me, even though I was cranky. After three months in, the other shoe didn’t drop. You start thinking, ‘Maybe there’s something more to me than my past. Maybe I am somebody.’ ‘’
Still, the path to healing and recovery wasn’t easy. One early obstacle for Tiffany was to stop smoking. Another was to learn how to manage stress in healthy ways. But one of the biggest was to offer forgiveness – not only to others but for herself.
“I had never really believed in self-forgiveness,” she says. “Either you do it or you don’t. And if you’re sorry, you don’t do it again. But I had a lot of internal resentment toward myself.”
One of the foundational pillars that the Hope Center has helped Tiffany put in place is accountability. She still attends therapy every other week and answers in her job as a nurse to the state licensing board.
“I do random drug tests and counseling and (addiction recovery) meetings,” she says. “Even when I leave the Hope Center, I recognize that I need accountability. You can’t let me just run free because I will. So, I line up my life so there’s always people I trust to be honest with me.”
One of Tiffany’s great victories, one that brings daily joy to her life, is her return to work as a nurse. For Tiffany, it’s about much more than a job. It’s a major milestone on the long and hard road to recovery.
“I didn’t come into the Hope Center thinking I would come out working in nursing,” Tiffany says. “I had pretty much given up on that because of everything I’ve been through. It’s so unbelievable that I go to work every day as a nurse. It’s surreal. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. And I’m very happy.”
Hope Center has taken careful consideration in the collection and sharing of this story, and it is being shared with explicit informed consent from its owner.