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Stairs with words written on them in chalkJuly 10, 2020

My name is Brandi and I am a grateful recovering addict. In the spirit of Fourth of July, I have been reflecting on the meaning of freedom in my life.  I want to share some of my experience, strength, and hope.

I know all about the loss of freedom.  Drug addiction took everything from me. I was enslaved by drugs. I used to live and lived to use.  I lied, I cheated and stole from people who loved me the most.  Every aspect of my life was contaminated. I destroyed all the relationships in my life. I was seemingly trapped in a vicious cycle of toxic shame and guilt.  I would constantly set the standard lower and lower, settling for a life I believed I deserved.  I hated myself and did not think it was possible that God could love me.

I had an inability to accept personal responsibility for my actions.  The disease of addiction is progressive in nature and I would eventually find myself inside of a prison cell.  My incarceration forced me to deal with my consequences.  I have heard it said that you don’t know that God is all you need until God is all you have.  This is proven to be true in my life.  I had to make tough choices, including cutting ties with old friends and associations from my past.  I make a choice daily to be active in my recovery.  I pray for and seek God’s will in my life.

I was once considered a lost cause, hopeless.  Now I know that with God, all things are possible.  We do recover!  According to the Vera Institute of Justice, the number of women incarcerated in Tennessee has increased 1,431% since 1980.  This presents numerous opportunities to impact the future of women in our state.  The volunteers and speakers inside the prison inspired me and were instrumental to my recovery.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 I can not express in words how important it is to work together as a community to spread the message of hope.  God found me, saved me and He set me free from the bondage of addiction.