My name is Melanie and I am 40 years old. At age 12, I started smoking cigarettes and weed, thinking I was cool. But I never felt like I fit in anywhere, was misplaced, misunderstood and alone. At 14, my parents divorced leaving me feeling even more unwanted. I started drinking and learned when I was drinking or high, I felt better. At 15, I met a man who introduced me to “crank” and I was instantly hooked and loved it. It not only made me feel good but helped me lose weight. It wasn’t long before I was pregnant.
My name is Mirtha and I am from Nipomo, California. Before coming to Captive Hearts, I had been raised Catholic and knew God from attending church with my parents. My biological father has never been in my life and in 2008, I had the first of my two sons, Jordan and then Junior and had the family I had always wanted.
My sons’ father and I used drugs and alcohol heavily and lived a lifestyle of partying every weekend. I always had a job, but drinking and using always came first, and I would end up calling in late or missing work. I usually ended up losing the job and had to look for another one.
If you have ever seen the constant rolling of huge waves at sea, you know how restless they are–subject to the forces of wind, gravity, and tide. Divided loyalties leave a person as unsettled as the restless waves. If you want to stop being tossed about, rely on God to show you what is best for you. Ask Him for wisdom, and trust that He will give it to you. Then your decisions will be sure and solid. Morning starts at midnight, and then it is a new day. I know without a doubt in my mind, God saved me that dark, cold midnight in November as I laid there on my back looking up at the stars, so afraid, so alone and in so much pain. I reached up to a hand, a Hand that had been there all along waiting patiently as He always does. God reached out and saved me that night, a fisher woman out of water, and a girl running out of time. God led me to a place that truly saved my life. The place? Captive Hearts.
Out of the five months previous to entering Captive Hearts, I spent more than three of them in jail. My addiction that I thought I had hidden so well for years had officially taken over every part of my life. During one of the short times that I was out, my mom made a call to her friend Chaplain Judy Boen to get me into the house. And as much as I wanted to get clean and for things to be different, I had no hope and I was a slave to the drugs.
I will always remember one day in particular that my dad came to visit me in custody. We talked back and forth for awhile, and then came the questions. He asked me when and where things went wrong and what he and my mom could have done differently. For someone that seems to have an response for everything, I was completely stumped, so I paused and thought for a minute. I went back as far as my birth. I knew my biological mom used drugs throughout her entire pregnancy, and I was born strung out on meth weighing only 4 lbs. But I had no recollection of that.
I was 5 years old when the sexual abuse started by a neighbor, who did anything and everything to me except rape me. He was a much older man. I was friends with his daughter and used to go next door quite often to play with her. A lot of things that happened I’ve blocked out, but for whatever reason one time in particular stands out. I was swimming in the pool and my cousin was there. Not only did this man sexually abuse me but he also sexually abused her as well for at least 5 months. Fortunately, the neighbor moved away. Sadly, I lost a friend but thank God I no longer had my abuser living next door.
My name is Victoria Courtney Nicole, But I prefer to be called Nik. I’m from Tulare County and was raised in Porterville. I’m the youngest of five kids and come from a loving Christian family. It was a home filled with laughter and never a dull moment. I am the only addict in the bunch, and the only one with a rap sheet.
I got married in May 2003. We had our son, Cayleb Blaze in 2004 and a daughter, Kyli Rain in 2008. Life felt fantastic. My husband became a teacher and coached football. I worked lots of jobs but consistently coached volleyball for high schools and private clubs.