Chelsea was eight when her parents divorced. Her dad was in and out of jail; and her mom, Sonia, struggled with addiction and depression. Meanwhile, Chelsea worried—about her dad, mom, stepdad, their fights, and the abuse.
“I was always nervous,” said Chelsea. “My mom and stepdad’s fights were bad—lots of pushing and yelling.” Her Nana’s house became a place of safety and security. Nana had overcome her addiction to alcohol and survived cancer. She was always looking out for Chelsea.
“I had spent the night at Nana’s when she died. I was still asleep when my mom arrived and was awakened by her screams. Nana’s death devastated me. When I started having trouble sleeping, my stepdad gave me something to help me sleep. I didn’t know until later it was Xanax.”
Unbeknownst to Chelsea, her body now had a craving. So, at 17, when she took opiates she was immediately hooked. Her addiction escalated and she was nearly three months along when she discovered she was pregnant.
CONSUMED BY ADDICTION
“Johnny was my best friend. He was my safe place. He would often break up the fights between my mom and stepdad.” They married and things were good at first. Chelsea started going to a methadone clinic for her addiction and eventually found her purpose in being a stay-at-home mom—first to Baylee then to Branson. But after Branson was born, Chelsea added Xanax to the mix. Her body still familiar with it, was consumed by it.
“When Johnny lost his job, things deteriorated. I was getting out of the shower when I saw myself in the mirror. It frightened me. My addiction had taken a toll on my body. It was in that moment I cried out to God.”
When Chelsea’s mom Sonia saw her, she almost didn’t recognize her. “She was afraid I was going to die. She convinced me to go to Nashville Rescue Mission and enter their Life Recovery Program.” Having graduated from the Mission’s program years before, Sonia knew what her daughter needed. She also knew if Chelsea didn’t get help, she would never live to see her boys grow up.
“Those first 30 days were hard,” recalled Chelsea. “I wanted to leave. But when I talked to my son Baylee, I knew I was where I needed to be. Hearing him say, ‘Mommy, I know you’re sick, but you’re getting better,’ gave me the confidence to stick with it.” Those next six months gave Chelsea time to heal. It gave her a chance to grieve the losses she had encountered along the way.
“I had never known the God I met at the Mission,” said Chelsea. “I thought I knew Him, but I didn’t. In the past, I found my purpose in being a mom, wife, and sister. But that wasn’t enough. Once I learned who I was in Christ, I experienced peace—and I found that at the Mission.”
Since graduating from the Mission’s program in 2017, Chelsea has reunited with her boys. She has a rewarding job, working for ABLE, where she gets to work with a blow torch all day soldering jewelry. She has grown closer to her mother and sisters than ever before. She reconnected with her dad. She and her boyfriend Hunter are making plans to marry. With his four children and her two, they’ll soon be a family of eight. She’s creating healthy relationships and learning who she is in Christ.
YOU HOLD THE KEY
For Chelsea and so many others—there but for the grace of God go any one of us—you hold the key. Not just in the hot meals, clothing, and the essential services you made possible. But with a recovery team that helped Chelsea with her anxiety and grief. And by keeping our door open, for her and for those who have yet to come, there is always room.