Aubrey Waters: Business Owner, Wife, and Mother
Editor’s Note: Occasionally we share “update” stories of New Life Program graduates and how they have continued to succeed after first sharing their life story in the Rescuer. This month we bring you an update about Aubrey Waters, who first shared her testimony in the July 2015 Rescuer.
I am amazed at how God has continued to change my life since I graduated from the New Life Program.
As a quick refresher, here’s my backstory: I started partying when I was a teenager, became pregnant at 16, and married my boyfriend at 17. With an infant in tow, we fell into opioid addiction and were driving back and forth between Utah and Las Vegas using fake addresses and doctor shopping to get prescriptions. By the time my daughter was two, I had to call my father and ask him and my step-mom to take her. She wasn’t safe with us anymore.
My father and step-mom legally adopted my daughter and she was raised thinking they were her parents and I was her big sister. My husband and I started buying and selling heroin. But after just a couple years we were arrested and charged with multiple felonies.
That’s when God stepped into my life. My attorney connected with the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake and the judge allowed me to enter the New Life Program, instead of going to prison. In the program I met the real true God and learned how much He loves us. I was able to find forgiveness and even forgave myself for the many mistakes I had made.
When I graduated, I had been sober for over a year and had a good job at Mylar Disability Center, helping disabled people apply for Social Security. I worked there for five years and was promoted so that I supervised a team of eight people.
During my recovery I was divorced. When I left the Mission and started to live on my own, I met a new man and we began dating. We were married about a year later and moved into our own place. I had been sober for over two years by that time and my parents approached me about my daughter. They told me they were proud of the progress I had made and thought it was time to tell my daughter that I was her mother. They said they would give me guardianship and let her live with me and my husband.
I was floored. I had gone through life thinking that my parents would never let me have my daughter back. After all, they had legally adopted her, raised her (at this time she was six-years-old), and they might have been skeptical that I would stay in recovery.
But I was overjoyed at the offer. My daughter welcomed the news, and we clicked immediately. Soon afterward I became pregnant and my husband and I had a son. My daughter went from being a little sister in my parents’ home (I have two little brothers who she grew up with) to being a big sister in our home. It was awesome to see her enjoy the change and be an awesome big sister.
We made a good family together. My husband and I both had good jobs and we were bonding as a family. But after working in an office-style setting for five years, I wanted a change. I discovered that I had a knack for photography and was able to start my own photography business. I started out doing photography jobs on the side while I worked, but my company grew successful and I was able to leave my job at Mylar Disability Center to run my photography business full time. The business has grown so much that I recently put up an announcement on my website that I was no longer seeking new customers. I don’t want to be spread too thin or have work take over my life.
In my past thoughts, I believed the life I live now was unreachable. I am blessed to have a loving husband and two great children. I even run my own business have a good car. I went to parent-teacher conference recently and my daughter (who is 10 now) is above average in all her classes. My husband and I have worked hard and have saved up enough money where we can purchase some land to build our own house. We are currently looking at lots and will decide soon. It will be nice to own a home, instead of renting.
I know that material successes are not what life is all about, but for someone who was a heroin addict living out of motels and facing prison time, it’s amazing to see how God has blessed me. I stay close to God through prayer and journaling. My counselor from the Mission and I talk every week, if not more often, and her fellowship and friendship encourages me to put my relationship with God first. One of my goals moving forward is to attend church more regularly. As I started my photography business, I had to work a lot of Sundays (for weddings, and events, and family pictures). One reason I don’t want more clients is so I can slow down and ensure I have close connections and relationships at church and focus on my family.
I know God can use me to help others. My biological mother has struggled with addiction for most of her adult life. I was able to take her to the Rescue Mission where she received help for her addiction. Now my biological mom lives with my husband and me and helps take care of our kids when we are working or away.
The best way God is using me is as a mother. I am fortunate to have a second chance at being a mom. My husband and I are in the process of legally adopting my daughter. While my parents had given me guardianship, they remained my daughter’s legal parents. Since I have been sober for nearly seven years, they said it’s time for me to have legal custody again.
The way my life has changed is unexplainable and that’s how I know God did it. He brought me to the Rescue Mission where I could hear the truth about Him and experience new life. Thank you for helping to change my life and reading my updated story. If not for the Rescue Mission I would probably just be getting out of a long felony sentence. Your support of the Mission means so much to people who need help, like me.