With a past laced in addiction, heartache, and brokenness, Sandy’s life now speaks promise and hope.
Sandy graduated from Trevecca University with a degree in Management and Human Relations in 2015—a feat she never imagined she would accomplish. But her story is more than her earning her degree. It’s a story of triumph, overcoming, restoration, and redemption.
“I grew up in a good home,” said Sandy. “We went to church, but I became rebellious in my teen years. I ran away several times with my boyfriend, who I later married. The beatings started after our son Josh was born.”
Sandy drank to numb the pain. Five years later and eight months pregnant with her daughter Gina—after one too many beatings, she decided enough was enough and left her husband. While she managed to stay sober during both pregnancies, the challenges of being a single mom of two kids while working two jobs was more than she could handle. Drinking soon became a daily habit.
“I remarried four years later, but he too was abusive,” recalls Sandy. “In the midst of this, I lost my father and nine months later my mom developed cancer. I was devastated. It was a dark time in my life and I started using cocaine and crystal meth.”
Each time life threw Sandy a curve; she turned to drugs and alcohol. She divorced, moved to a new city, and changed jobs. “I started working in a bar where I was first introduced to crack cocaine. It’s a drug of pure evil and took me lower than I could have ever imagined. It almost killed me.”
Sandy will never forget the day her brother told her, ‘I love you, but I have to love you from a distance. Don’t call me again.’ She was heartbroken. “He told my family that if they wanted to kill me, to keep giving me money, but that he was done.”
A year later, after receiving the worst beating of her life, Sandy vividly recalls seeing her granddaughter right after it happened. “She touched my face and said, ‘Maw maw, what’s a matter with your eye?’” It was at this moment, Sandy knew she’d hit rock bottom.
“I walked into the house and looked in the mirror—I had no idea who I was. I walked out with plans of walking in front of a truck, but God’s divine hand pushed me out of the way. It shook me to the core and I knew God was trying to tell me something.”
She called a friend for help, who decided to reach out to Sandy’s brother, despite what he’d said before. Two days later, they were on their way to Nashville. “I thought my brother and his wife were going to stay the night with me. But he handed me $50 and said it was up to me—I could either use the money for drugs or I could use it to pay for a cab to Nashville Rescue Mission the next day.”
Sandy remembers crying all night long, filled with fear and doubt. Her daughter Gina had been through the Mission’s Life Recovery Program a few years earlier and was doing well. Sandy wondered if she might find help there as well. She flushed the dope she had and caught a cab early the next morning.
“My life was forever changed when I walked through the door’s of Nashville Rescue Mission. I gave my life back to Christ and learned who I was in Him. I started building a solid foundation. The Mission’s program helped me see I was a precious child of God. I learned I was valued, treasured, and worth it. I had no idea my road to recovery would lead to so many blessings.”
While in the program, Sandy received an invitation from Morris Stout, a Mission volunteer, to attend Trevecca Community Church (TCC) with he and his wife. Sandy loved it. After graduating from the program, she made TCC her home church and joined a Sunday school class. This is where Sandy chose to put down roots after graduating from the Mission’s program.
By 2013, with God at the center of her life, Sandy was decided it was time to follow her dream of earning her bachelor’s degree. With the help of a friend, she enrolled in the MHR adult studies program at Trevecca with the hopes of pursuing a greater purpose and mission in life.
“I want to be a drug and alcohol counselor,” shared Sandy. “That’s where my heart is—I had to start by getting my bachelor’s degree to move forward with whatever God has for me. Earning my degree showed me that with God’s help, I could accomplish anything I put my mind to.”
Today, God’s promises are evident in Sandy’s life. She ministers every Sunday night at the Davidson County Jail. She’s active in her church. She’s taking on special speaking engagements to share her story with others recovering from addiction. She recently started her new job as Activities Director for Trevecca Towers and continues to work as a trainer/teacher for O’Charley’s corporate office.
Your gifts gave Sandy hope for tomorrow. And today, her life is filled with peace, joy, and love.