Testimony of the Month
Julie Healy: From Meth Addict To "Gold List"
My name is Julie Healy. I have been addicted to meth and struggled with shoplifting for most of my life. When I became homeless, I lost custody of my kids and ended up with 13 criminal charges.
Seemingly by accident, which I now realize was divine intervention, I ended up at the Rescue Mission where God has changed my life.
Today I am on the “Gold List” in my Drug Court program. It’s the overachievers list—the list they put people on who never test positive for drugs or have set backs. People ask me how I have been so successful in Drug Court. I have no real formula they can follow, all I tell them is I do it with God’s help. God’s the one who does it for me.
Before coming to the Rescue Mission I didn’t have a relationship with God. I never realized a new life in Jesus was available to me. But today I realize I owe everything to God. I never thought I would look forward to going to church, but I do. I love my church family at Capital Church. The community mentor the Rescue Mission gave me, Andrea, has been critical to my success. She is not only a friend but my spiritual mentor. We text, go out to dinner, and do girl stuff.
By living for God and staying off drugs I have cleared all but one of my criminal charges. The last charge will be dismissed when I graduate Drug Court this April 27. It really has been a miracle at how judge after judge has shown me mercy and allowed me to do community service to complete the debts I owe for my many offenses.
I have even been able to get my driver’s license back and two months ago started a great customer service job with a growing local company. It’s a great place to work and after another month I will be able to receive benefits. After I obtained my driver’s license my grandmother even gave me her old, 1992 Buick, which I drive to work each day. It’s not much, but I feel so blessed to have it.
I have been able to rebuild my relationships with my children. I know I have let them down and their father (my ex-husband) has full custody due to my addiction, but we are growing closer. It’s only by the grace of God that my children and I are still talking. While I don’t have a defined role in their life, I do have a place in their life. I am building trust with them.
And then there’s my parents. I have better relationships with them also. I realize that we had a dysfunctional relationship growing up on the west-side of the Salt Lake Valley. I also see that the problems in our relationship probably led to my drinking and drug use. Yet we are moving forward to create a lasting and positive relationship.
It’s really incredible that I have any positive relationships at all.
Meth, Theft and Homelessness
I started using drug recreationally to rebel against my parents when I was just 13 years old. When I got married at age 24 my husband and I started smoking meth together. I used drugs for most the next 20 years. I was able to quit for a while when I was pregnant and my children were little but about five years ago, my drug abuse started getting worse.
I couldn’t stay employed and developed all sorts of crazy schemes to get money. I would steal things and then return them to support my addiction. I also started stealing from my husband and eventually he kicked me about of our home in 2013. That’s when I became homeless, something I never imagined would happen to me.
My stealing and drug use only grew worse. All the money I could get I would spend on drugs or cheap motels. When I didn’t have enough for a motel I would try to meet someone who would let me stay with them. If that didn’t work I would stay at the homeless shelter.
Eventually all my stealing and drug abuse caught up with me and I ended up in jail charged with 13 crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. I was headed to prison when my lawyer worked with the prosecutors to allow me to go to Drug Court instead of jail. I wanted to take my Drug Court deal, but in order to be in Drug Court I needed a place to live. You cannot be homeless and be in Drug Court. It isn’t allowed.
My case managers helped me find me a place where I could stay while I worked through the Drug Court program. I thought it was a place where I could stay overnight and then do whatever I wanted during the day. But when I was dropped off at the Rescue Mission Women’s Center I was told I would have to make a 13-month commitment to stay there as an inpatient client. Especially at first, I would have little freedom to leave, at least until I stabilized in my sobriety. There were a lot of rules.
My initial reaction was to turn and run, but something kept me here, even as I felt like I had been dropped off at the wrong place by accident. But clearly it was no accident and only part of God’s plan to save me from myself.
Experiencing Divine Intervention
Now, a year later, I see God’s hand guiding me. I will graduate from Drug Court on April 27 and then in May I will graduate from the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program. When I leave the Rescue Mission I will start living at the Mission’s new transitional house for women. I am so thankful to the many donors who gave to make the women’s transitional house possible. I know the men have had a transitional house for several years now and it is such a blessing to have a place where women can continue the transition from the Rescue Mission into real world living with many more freedoms, but still a good deal of structure.
I, for one, feel like I need that continued support, instead of just moving out and living completely on my own. As I continue on this journey with God, my goals are simple. I want to stay sober, be a mom to my two children, now 13 and 10, and potentially finish my college degree. It’s been an amazing journey and I thank God for each one of you, the Rescue Mission’s supporters, who make this place possible. Without the Mission I would definitely be in jail or worse. God brought me here and saved my life.
Thank you so much and please pray for me. I know I will need God’s help as I continue on my journey with Him.
Director's Message: Just A Little Easier
As winter lingers on, I am mindful that we are rushing into Easter season and sprouts of spring will start pushing through the cold, hard ground.
Right now, though, hundreds of men, women and children experiencing homelessness come through our doors to escape the bitter cold. And as our dayroom fills with people I am reminded of a recent conversation with one of our program men. He had reached the level of the program where our students obtain employment and rebuild their financial stability.
His first-inclination was to take the first dead-end, minimum wage job that was offered to him. He wanted to take the easy way out, even as he knew he could not support himself on the wages he would be making.
But this man had more potential, and all he really needed was for us to make it “just a little easier” for him. So after encouragement from several staff members he took a skills and interests test. Then he got help creating his resume, learned interview skills, and found job leads. Now this man is looking for a career-oriented job. He won’t get to where he wants to be right away but he is on the right track to reach his goals and end his cycle of dead-end jobs and homelessness.
Much of the time all people need to change is for life to be just a little easier. This is where the Rescue Mission steps in. We make life just a little easier by providing a warm, safe place to stay. We make life just a little easier by providing three daily meals. We make life just a little easier by providing a hot shower and nice clothes to wear for a job interview. We make life just a little easier by listening, caring and offering God’s truth, spoken in love.
It is true that our homeless friends face mountains. They suffer abuse, addiction, mental illness, limited education, and more. But making life just a little easier in some small way can help a person climb a mountain.
Recently we shared how the right thing to do is normally the hardest thing to do. That is true. However, we find that making one small aspect of a person’s life a little easier—for instance, not having to worry about sleeping outside in the cold—enables someone to do the hard thing, the right thing. The person who is not worried about starving, can make the decision to get into treatment for their addiction (the hard thing) much easier than the person still begging for food.
So that is what you enable us to do here at the Rescue Mission. You help us make life just a little easier for our homeless friends in hopes that they will do the hard thing and allow God to change their lives. One meal, one night of shelter, a shower, a coat, or a listening ear—these are often what is needed to make life a little easier so men, women and women with children can get out of homelessness.
Thanks for making everything we do possible,
Chris D. Croswhite
STATS: HOW YOUR GIFT HELPS
Support Our Easter Banquet
It’s not too early to support or give towards our annual Easter Celebration for homeless and low-income families. Set for April 15—the Saturday before Easter—we are planning to serve over 1,500 meals. There will be free clothes, an Easter egg hunt and carnival games. We will also have music and an invitation for the homeless to join the Mission’s New Life Program—a free program that helps people get out of homelessness and into sobriety, employment and housing.
We’re still low on the items we need to make our Easter Banquet the best it can be, so please use the enclosed envelope to donate today! We are also in need of prize/candy-filled plastic Easter eggs. To volunteer, call our volunteer coordinator at 801.355.1302.
Consider Donating Some Of Your Tax Refund
April is inching closer and that means tax season. We hope many of you are getting a refund from Uncle Sam. If you are getting money back, please consider helping the homeless by sharing some of your refund with the Rescue Mission. We are always in need and your April donation will help us get through our difficult summer months, when donations slow down, but the need for food, shelter, clothing and our New Life Program continues.
There are many ways to give. You can send a check in the enclosed envelope, click on one of the donation buttons at RescueSaltLake.org, or call our finance office at 801.746.1006 to make a donation by credit card over the phone.