Don’t be afraid to ask for second chances. You may be afraid, but you may be surprised at what you can accomplish.”
On September 6th, House of Charity participated in Operation Recovery 2012: Erasing Stigmas, an event held on the campus of Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and sponsored by their student-led Addiction Counseling Club.
We were delighted to take part, especially since the invitation came from one of our former residents!
Bethany had lived at House of Charity for several months in 2010. She regards House of Charity and her time here as a nice stepping stone. Having housing and food allowed Bethany to stabilize her life, “I looked for work. I didn’t have to look for a safe place to live. I was fed here.”
As an undergraduate at Bethel University studying on a vocal scholarship, Bethany was viciously attacked while running on campus. Soon afterward, she left the school. “I lost my faith,” Bethany stated simply.
Bethany began using drugs. She was in a long-term relationship with a man who also used. Together, they had four children, including one set of twins. Because she was found to be using in the home, Bethany’s children were taken away. To allow her children to move out of the foster care system, Bethany voluntarily gave custody to the children’s paternal grandmother, but kept her parental rights. Bethany expected the grandmother to maintain communication between her and her children, but Bethany has not seen nor heard from them in nearly four years. All of the cards and letters she has written to them have been returned. Bethany is pursuing legal assistance, but it takes time and resources. In the meantime, her children are growing older – now 11, 10, and 9 (the twins).
While she was using, Bethany broke the law for money. As a result, Bethany was imprisoned in 2009. She had a year of sobriety in prison. Soon after she was released, she came to House of Charity. Now, two years later, Bethany is taking classes at MCTC to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, with an emphasis on art therapy. An artist herself, Bethany sells her work and has exhibited at the Fine Line Music Café. Bethany knows firsthand how art can lead to healing. “Some of my worst moments in life have come through to make great paintings; I am a rape survivor and my piece ‘Holy Trinity’ came from that experience.”
She hopes to help others escape the pain and consequences of addiction. When asked what advice she would give to current House of Charity residents, Bethany quickly responded, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Utilize your resources. The more education you can get, the better, even if it’s one computer class. Don’t be afraid to ask for second chances. You may be afraid, but you may be surprised at what you can accomplish.”