Tragedy to Triumph
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 8
- Version: NIV
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My experimentation with drugs and alcohol began out of curiosity. I was 11 years old. The curiosity of getting high quickly turned into entertainment but ultimately ended in destruction and devastation. Once the shadow of intrigue had faded, opportunities for enjoyment disguised themselves in the form of alternative substances such as pills, mushrooms, cocaine and psychedelics. These substances helped mask the pain and discomfort of living in my own skin. Fear, rejection, abandonment, insecurity and isolation were battling for control of my life.
By the time I was 21, I was addicted to opioids and continued to indulge in other various mood altering substances including much of those mentioned above. My usual daily routine included a marijuana maintenance program accompanied by regular alcohol intake. I had a prescription for pain medication (opioids) after a surgical procedure and discovered my new drug of choice, OxyContin. This marked the beginning of a slow spiraling descent.
In the early years of my addiction, I was able to “function” enough to complete schooling and get an education. I held various professional jobs but found my need for and dependence on prescription pills rapidly becoming my full time job. Doctor shopping quickly consumed my daytime hours and I was let go from various jobs due to lack of consistency in job performance. I realized early on the hold the pills had on me and decided to try a geographical cure, moving to Virginia where my extended family lived. Here is where I realized the extent of my addiction; but without any desire to quit and any tools to do so, I continued.
It wasn’t long before I entered a new phase of the addicted lifestyle, which included legal consequences. The geographical cure appeared to be the answer once again and so I moved back to Florida. Unable to keep a job as a professional at this juncture, jobs in the hospitality industry proved to be a great mask for the rapid descent into deeper addiction that I was plunging towards. Marriages, children, and material blessings entered my life only to be followed by divorces, restraining orders, and jail cells. Intravenous use of Heroin and smoking crack had taken the place of anything and everything. Life was a chaotic nightmare characterized by a series of overdoses and suicide attempts.
I had been under spiritual instruction for most of my life and yet I traded it all for the deceitful lies of the enemy, who diligently sought to destroy me through the addicted lifestyle of living on the streets as a prostitute with an ever increasing criminal record.
After fleeing cross country via Greyhound bus at 8 months pregnant in order to avoid the latest legal consequences, I remembered the words I had heard so audibly in the confines of that cold dark jail cell upon discovering I was in fact pregnant. It was a pivotal and life-changing moment. It was there that I heard His voice audibly speak to me as if He were there in that cell with me. He directed me to place the child I was carrying for adoption. I remember crying loudly to Him that I had already lost my 3 children at this point in my life and I couldn’t possibly give up this unborn child. He spoke to me again and reminded me that He had given up His One and only Son for me so that I could be free - that if I would only trust in Him and call upon His name I wouldn’t have to live this way any longer. He would not only save me but would also strengthen me to do all the things He called me to do. He was true to His promise found in Philippians 4:13 which states:
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
It was through Him that I was able to place my fourth child for adoption. I found a Power greater than myself, which not only restored me to sanity but also empowered me to listen and do what He instructed me to do and to seek sobriety and recovery.
What has followed upon turning my will and my life over to the care of God, is one blessing after another, which continues to this very day. Life hasn’t become easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I am no longer anxious about things and commit everything to prayer. As Philippians 4:6-7 tells us,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I try to practice this principle in all my affairs and HIS peace that is promised has indeed guarded my mind and guards my heart. I have a relationship with God, my family, my children and even my dad (from whom I have been estranged from my entire life). I continue to have a relationship with my son whom I placed for adoption. Hope has become a joyful reality. Making amends for my actions has been and continues to be an ongoing process. I realize that we never truly “arrive” but that life is a journey filled with valleys and mountaintops characterized not only by trials and tribulations but also joy and victory. Serving God and serving others is my way of giving back to society, my community and to people God places in my path. Sharing my experience, strength and hope as a new creation in Christ is and will remain a humble honor and privilege. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Anja is a Wellness Warrior for Christ who endured a 28 year drug addiction and came out victoriously on the other side in April of 2006. Having been in a series of inpatient rehabilitative programs as well as numerous outpatient programs, Anja found the solution after losing everything, including her family, children, home, marriage, dignity, self-respect, health and freedom. She has since been restored to sanity and has received the gift of restoration in her life and the life of her family as well.
Anja continues to share her journey with residential treatment facilities, rehabilitative organizations, support groups and various other recovery platforms. She has been the guest speaker at women’s conferences and is a voice for birth mothers everywhere. She continues to inspire both men and women by planting seeds of faith, hope and love into the soil of each soul that hears her message. As the Executive Director of Community Recovery Alliance in Northern Michigan, Anja strives to break through the barriers and stigma that substance use disorder carries. Her journey of healing has brought hope to countless individuals and prompted her to form the non-profit organization Walking With Him 6, Inc.