Alecia was four when her dad died. Despite the hardship of being raised by a single mom, she kept up her grades and participated in school sports like cheerleading and softball. She headed to college where she majored in business. But after being assaulted on campus, her plans crumbled. She didn’t report the assault and began stuffing her emotions instead of dealing with the pain.
“I acted out,” said Alecia. “I started partying and drinking to numb what I was feeling. I was looking for something, someone to fill the void. I ran into Chris at a party. He was older than me, but we had attended the same high school. We started dating, and soon I was pregnant. I dropped out and moved back home for a while before we moved in together.”
At the time, Alecia had no idea Chris was battling addiction. They argued frequently. And when their son Ryan was born, Alecia experienced complications with her pregnancy, followed by postpartum depression. Having been raised to believe you ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps,’ Alecia stopped taking the antidepressants the doctor prescribed. Soon she started using drugs with Chris, and things quickly escalated to the point of them both losing their jobs and on the verge of losing custody of their son.
“We both went to rehab,” shared Alecia. “And things were better for a while. We got married and were on our honeymoon when I discovered I was pregnant again. Jackson was born later that year.”
After someone broke into their house, Alecia lived in a constant state of fear. The fear consumed her, leading her to return to some of her bad habits. Before long, they had once again lost their jobs, but this time it was worse—they lost their house and custody of their children.
Alecia vividly remembers the day she seriously contemplated suicide. “I couldn’t see my kids. My mom had legally taken custody of them. I felt hopeless.” So, when a family member suggested Nashville Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program, Alecia and Chris decided they would both go.
“I had no idea what to expect,” recalled Alecia. “I had a lot of anxiety at first. I believed in God, but I didn’t grow up in the church. God blessed me with a great roommate. She prayed with me, read the Bible, and her strong faith was an encouragement to me.” Alecia admits there were challenges, but the friendships she developed with the other women far outweighed any of the difficulties.
“The Mission’s program showed me how to look to the Lord for answers and let Him guide my path. The classes and counseling sessions were life changing. I started to hope again. In addition to individual counseling, Chris and I received marriage counseling. We also visited different churches and found a home church that loved and supported us from the moment we walked through the doors.”
Following graduation, Alecia and Chris both chose to live in the Mission’s transitional housing for six months, even though it meant living apart. That time allowed for continued counseling, paying down debt, saving for the future, and reacclimating to life.
Alecia can’t emphasize enough the value of the church community they surrounded themselves with. “Thanks to friends from church, when Chris and I moved out of the Mission, we were blessed beyond measure,” said Alecia. “They helped us find a house in a great neighborhood with good schools. They gave us furniture, dishes, towels, mattresses … everything we could need. They filled our house with so much food. The love and care they showed us was unbelievable.”
Once Alecia’s mom saw the radical transformation Alecia and Chris had experienced, as well as the unconditional love and support their church demonstrated, she was more than willing to let the boys rejoin their mom and dad.
“It’s been four years now. All of this, the house, the kids, our jobs, all of it … it’s nothing but a God thing,” exclaimed Alecia. “There’s no other explanation. He’s provided for us in every possible way. I never imagined our lives could be what they are today. We still have highs and lows, but we know that in every situation, we can look to the Lord for guidance and assurance.”
“It means the world to me to be able to take my kids to school, to allow them to participate in sports, and to even take vacations with them,” shared Alecia. “I will never forget how special it was to build sandcastles on the beach with my boys for the first time.”
“I’m so thankful for all the Mission did to help us get to this place in life. I praise the Lord for all the things we can do as a family. We don’t want or need for anything. We’ve gone from just barely surviving to living with eternal hope. It doesn’t get any better than this.”