Living proof that you and your gifts matter
Raised in a small town, Angelisa was actively involved in church. But like many teenagers, she was anxious to grow up. She married at 17 and quickly found herself expecting their first child. Soon the abuse her husband imposed upon her made her regret the marriage. But with a small daughter and a baby on the way, she was determined to make it work.
Love? Not Really
They moved and things got worse. After 7 years of marriage, Angelisa filed for divorce. Eventually, she married again; this time to the love of her life—or so she thought.
“I realize now I put him in the place of God in my life,” says Angelisa. “When we met, I was a VBS Director. But he didn’t believe in church, so I quit.”
My First Drink
“I was with him when I took my first drink,” says Angelisa. “I was 27 years old.”
“I can remember him saying things like, ‘you’re prettier when you drink,’ or ‘you’re so much more fun when you drink,’” says Angelisa with tears in her eyes. “After 9 months, he left me for my best friend.”
The pain was unbearable. She started drinking. And soon, that’s all she did. When it became apparent she was struggling to care for her kids, her parents came and moved them back home.
"I truely believe I am alive because God’s hand led me to where he wanted me to be, and that’s the Hope Center."
“I was so angry with God,” says Angelisa. “I kept begging him to bring my husband back to me.”
Things Spiral Out of Control
Drinking became more important, yet Angelisa felt she still had things “under control.” She spent the next 8 years being angry and trying to drink herself to death.
“I couldn’t keep it together,” she says. “My kids were living with my parents. I was very much alone and decided to move to Tennessee in order to be closer to them.”
“At times I would consume up to 2 gallons of alcohol a day,” says Angelisa. “I had black outs. I married my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day and have no memory of it.”
A month later, he beat her up. She called the police, but decided not to press charges. But when it happened again 2 months later, she decided to press charges and file for divorce.
On that same night she ended up getting a DUI. Angelisa continued to drink excessively. Things peaked when she suffered a mild stroke in January 2009 following a severe bout with the flu.
“I was drinking so much I knew I’d never pass an alcohol test. I stopped reporting to my probation officer,” says Angelisa. “After the stroke, I knew I needed help. I heard about the Mission’s life-recovery program and as I was packing to go there, I got arrested and spent the next 10 days in jail for violating my probation. After that, I got permission to come to the Hope Center.”
“I really thought I had a relationship with the Lord,” says Angelisa. “I realize now, I never really knew Him. I would go through those 8 years of misery again, if it was the only way I could be close to the Lord like I am now. He is my strength. He is the captain of my life.”
“I recently celebrated my daughter’s birthday, her 18th,” shares Angelisa. “It’s been 6 years since I did that. When she and my son told me they loved me and were proud of me, it was one of the greatest moments in my life.”
Angelisa now works at the Nashville Rescue Mission and lives in the women’s transitional housing. She has plans to go to college and pursue a career in Christian counseling. She is living proof that you and your gifts matter.