Shimica, a woman in our program, shares how her story of addiction, incarceration, and extreme loss has brought her to the hope she has today. Living by faith and trust, leaning on God and her community of women in Sister's Recovery House, Shimica is now striving to use her past experiences and pain to help, serve, and lead others. Listen to her story to hear how God has transformed her life, and how He is using her to influence others.
Kate Wadsworth:0:03Hi, I'm Kate Wadsworth. Welcome to Light of Life Rescue Mission's Podcast: Hope Unveiled where you hear stories of hope and change from clients, staff, and volunteers. Today you'll hear from Shimica, a woman in our program who also lives at Sister's Recovery House. Alright, Shimica.
Kate Wadsworth:0:22Thank you so much for joining us today. We're so excited to hear about your life.
Kate Wadsworth:0:28Um, so would you start by talking about what was life like before light of life?
Shimica:0:34Okay, well, I was incarcerated and um, I went to female offenders and I was in their program for nine months and during the nine months I remember a program that like helped me stay clean and that was light of life. My mom was alumni here. She was like one of the first ones that went to here. So I always knew about Ms Sherry, what she do with people, with the women that she truly loved. And I was here before and um, I didn't do a good job because I ended up going back to jail and relapsed and again staying out until I got arrested again. And I say I rescued. However, this time I went through a mental health court, I did everything I was supposed to do in mental health court. I went to other programs, successfully complete those programs and I just said, okay, well I'm going to get back to light of life and that's what brought me to here.
Kate Wadsworth:1:40Awesome. And so you said that you had relapsed. So does that mean that there was addiction in your past?
Shimica:1:46Yes, yes, I'm currently,
Shimica:1:48um, November fifth, I celebrated 20 months clean. I just went to the convention for the first time and it was wonderful and I know that there is a God because he wouldn't allow me to go and see so many people recovering, have, have the same addiction as me. I'm overcome their obstacles, overcome their fears, overcome their, like homelessness, um, loneliness and not having God their life.
Kate Wadsworth:2:22Yeah. And so the convention you're talking about is a recovery convention where people from all over the state and probably other states to come together for a whole weekend to talk about recovery and just get encouragement and help from other people in recovery. And that was your first time?
Shimica:2:37Yes. And that, that's what they did. They shared their experience, strength and hope with other recovering addicts to help stay clean.
Kate Wadsworth:2:45That's awesome. Would you mind sharing how long you were in active addiction before your clean date?
Shimica:2:51Um, yeah. It wasn't an active addiction for only like nine months. Probably six to nine months. It wasn't long.
Shimica:2:58But, um, this
Shimica:3:00time I came back when I was in female offenders, I got a sponsor and I got a home group and I started calling my sponsor and my sponsor, the first thing she said, I'm a sponsor that prays. So every time you talked to me you'll pray on the phone. And that opened so many doors and has so many blessings come down on me because of me being constantly prayed up that it might seem at time, am I seeing like really, really bad. But at the end of the day, God have your back and he opens up doors that you can never possibly imagine. Like I'm giving you an example. Um, I had caught a case in my active addiction. I found a $500 money order and I cashed it in my addiction. It was just like a big payoff. However, um, I forgot about it. So, I'm in female offenders, and I;m doing the right the right thing and this charge comes up and I go, go get fingerprinted and everything.
Shimica:4:11Well, it was like at the end towards mental health court, where are you want to court every month and a half. It's like you're about to graduate. And they said to me, the only thing that's keeping you from graduating this program is that new charge. So I had one back and they told me, well, Shimica you have two choices. Either you pay out the phone dollars and you got probation and six months and you'll be graduating. Well, when I was in the courtroom, the lawyer her her say that to me, the judge. So I was okay with me having the six more months to get because I see it at tunnel light at the end of the tunnel. So after that I just went outside and the lawyer came up to me and said, Ms Buckner, I'm going to pay the $500 for you. And I was like, what? I'm crying in and I'm jumping down. Thank you Jesus. And it was just like so wonderful. Was such a such a beautiful gesture. And he's the man of God. And he said, call me on Friday and I'm want you to me at the courthouse any day, any pay the five hundred dollars. And the next month, September 24th, I graduated mental health court.
Shimica:5:28So I had no paper. No probation.
Kate Wadsworth:5:28Oh Wow.
Kate Wadsworth:5:31Big Deal. That's amazing. And um, I think I remember hearing a little bit about your graduation and I think what I heard was that you had some support there with you. Can you talk about that?
Shimica:5:43The whole Sister's House. Except for tiffany because she had the baby by a came and supported me. And um, the judge like seen, it was so awesome and she just was so proud of me and she how much. I gave her so many problems in the beginning. But at the end I came through it and she was, she was just so proud of me for, for being the person that I've become.
Kate Wadsworth:6:10So she noticed the change in you?
Shimica:6:12She noticed she noticed the change when I started changing.
Shimica:6:16That's how much she gets very, very personal with her people that she has in front of her. She gets personal and she does a very good job at what she did. She cares about the people and she wants what's best for them at the time she knew what was best for me and I take the suggestion and I took it.
Shimica:6:35And they brought me here.
Kate Wadsworth:6:37That's awesome. So she's the one that introduced you to coming to light of life this time?
Shimica:6:42No, I actually did it on my own.
Kate Wadsworth:6:44You did on your own?
Shimica:6:45I knew that, I knew that was a new Ms Sherry loved me. And I knew that I had a rocky start at when I first got here. But this time not no more.
Kate Wadsworth:6:59Yeah. That's awesome. When you have a great community of women around you.
Kate Wadsworth:7:02So could you talk about maybe, um, a moment if you had a lot happen leading up to you, you coming this time, um, was there any moment that things changed for you and you knew you wanted to make a change? Like what made you reach out to light of life? You said, you know, Sherry cared about you, but like what happened before that? Like what, what sparked that desire to change in you?
Shimica:7:26Um, one, one to stay clean this time from my life, to change my life, that's what we wanted. That's what I wanted to stay clean and I want to change because I deserved it. I deserve to be better than the person that I was and I knew that I could be better, but I needed some, some type of support system that will help me and not just like, oh, we beat me down, but like always put me on on the right path, make me accountable for, for my, for my actions, and stop putting excuses. So under Ms Sherry is the type of person she is very, very loving and caring, but she's good at what she do and she loves the fact that she loved these women and I love the fact that she has gotten a life that shows her talents and her gifts that she gives all of us as individuals and not as a program, but as individual women that have specific problems that can conquer anything and everything because we talk about it in group, we talk about everyone that has the same problem and how they got rid of it or how they went past it and that's what she brings.
Shimica:8:55She brings a community that a community can raise a child and they can also build a character. And that's what she does.
Kate Wadsworth:9:04Yeah. That's awesome. So you reached out because you knew that this was the type of program that you needed. You needed a person like sherry in your life, so you reached out and um, what you're accepted into sisters recovery house,
Shimica:9:17which was a new program which I didn't even know about.
Kate Wadsworth:9:19Yeah. Because it was new at that time when you got here. So what was the date that you moved in?
Kate Wadsworth:9:26Excellent. January 15th 2018
Shimica:9:29So this year? Yes.
Kate Wadsworth:9:30Yes. Okay. Excellent. Um, what was that like for you when you first walked in the door of your apartment?
Shimica:9:35Oh! It was amazing! First she said she, Shimica, I don't care. This is what God had put forth for you. So deal with it. I walked into my apartment and it was so beautiful. It was fully furnished and everything that I possibly needed except for my clothes, but everything was there was provided for me and I mean everything and it was mine and I didn't have to worry about where I was going to lay my head at or if I will have to eat or if I'll be around people that was so toxic to me. It was a breath of fresh air and still when I go into my apartment today I be like of thank God, I'm home.
Shimica:10:38But not when I walk into my apartment and I walking into the apartment building, I say, oh I'm home, because that is our house. That's where we live. And that's where it was given the opportunity to, to create a new person than us. And like everywhere that we look in our apartments and all apartments is all God sayings. And you're such a beautiful creation and, um, God will inspire you in an, you know, you're blessed because God is in your life. They have things like that was on the walls. Now everywhere you look, is this the same that it's God all through the, through the apartment building? Yeah. And that's the, the um, type of home that I have.
Kate Wadsworth:11:26That's awesome. Home is such a warm feeling when I even hear that word. So I'm so happy. But that's what you have. Um, could you talk about your relationships with the other women at Sisters Recovery House as well as the women in the longterm program?
Shimica:11:40Okay. Um, the sister's recovery house, we have a meeting every Thursday. It's a family meeting and then we have family night every other Thursday. So we become very, very close. We have a cook that Gina, she cooks a lot. She likes to feed us and we love that. We have like a big sister that's like Kristi the and me and have met my best friend April and we have a, um, a little baby Jackson, tiffany son that loves everybody and that everybody that that's in that house, we have a very, very close closeness together. You know what I mean? We have a bond that we do have in the women's and children's program, but we're special because we all come together every morning for devotions and we pray together every morning and that we just, you know, inspire each other and encourage one another, do the right thing. And that's what we've been doing.
Kate Wadsworth:12:53Yeah. Those relationships are priceless. They are really special to have those type of close female friendships.
Kate Wadsworth:13:00There's nothing like that.
Shimica:13:01Yes, because I know, I know. I know how to be a friend now and not to be a tust. I trustworthy, compassionate and loving friend without no conditions.
Kate Wadsworth:13:13And so that changes the quality of your friendships.
Shimica:13:15Yes, it does.
Kate Wadsworth:13:17That's awesome. What other things have you learned since being back in the program about yourself, about God, about other people in relationships? Like what are some of the most important learnings that you've had?
Shimica:13:29Okay. Well just recently I have a plan for the peer support specialist training program and that is, I feel as though it's like a calling to me
Kate Wadsworth:13:45Could you kind of just say what that is,
Shimica:13:47What the peer support? It is a as a career that helps like a person like myself that has a mental diagnosis that can help another person that has a mental diagnosis, overcome obstacles like I have like being homeless, being on drugs, being in jail system. I mean have overcome all those obstacles and I can give them encouragement and support that they can do the same thing. That's what peer support specialist mean to me. Okay. So I had um, got orientation for, for peer support specialist. I got accepted.
Shimica:14:34So this is where God comes in. That I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to go because I might have missed some group times well per support training classes is every Tuesdays and Fridays. And I will miss it, no group, and it was like God put that in my life because he know this is what I want, this is what he wants me to do, this is my calling to, to give back to what was given to me and to be on God's good side, you know, cause I was all because I was a bad person when I was using, but now that I'm not using, I have an ability to like really give back. So that's what I'm doing. So I start on the 13th of this month and I'm going to OVR I have in my life because they help you find a job and they'll still pay for my training for certified, to be certified in peer support specialist. So everything is laid out in front of me. All I gotta do is continue to walk the walk that he put forth and don't go off the path. And that's it, is that, it's just that easy.
Kate Wadsworth:15:45Wow. So right now you currently able to go to all of the groups here at light of life as well as to the trainings for the peer support specialists. You're able to utilize OVR, which is a community resource that helps pay for that.
Kate Wadsworth:15:58So it sounds like things are coming together and I just, for the record, I think you'd be a fabulous pair peer support person. You have such a warmth and openness about you. I think you're going to encourage and help so many people.
Shimica:16:09Thank you thank you thank you, that's the ultimate goal is to help encourage, not, not. Um, I don't have no magic one. I'm just let them know that they're not alone in this process and the process can be kind of hard and it can be like, um, like you can give up so fast because it's so unfamiliar. But when they find their niche and that's what a lot of people don't get. They don't find their niche to keep them clean or they keep them like going through their program or keep them going to the therapy or to the psychiatrist. They get frustrated and um confused on what to do and all know is that if you stay on the right path and you keep going to your therapy, it's gonna pay off
Kate Wadsworth:17:00And you, um, have walked that you've overcome homelessness, addiction, incarceration, you've steadied out your mental health. So you really are a great example for those, those that are going through it in the middle of it right now.
Shimica:17:15Yeah. I'm currently still going through therapy. Excellent. And going to my meetings and I'm still doing that.
Kate Wadsworth:17:23Yeah. And that's an important piece, very to keep doing it so you can stay healthy.
Shimica:17:27Very, very important.
Kate Wadsworth:17:29So tell me a little bit about your relationship with God.
Shimica:17:33Um, um, it was rocky at first. Um, I had a tragedy that happened in my life that my son had, um, drowned and camp in Bible camp and um, I just had got a job and it was, it was unexpected, very, very unexpected. So I took it very, very hard.
Kate Wadsworth:17:56How long ago was that?
Shimica:17:58Thirteen years ago.
Kate Wadsworth:17:59I'm so sorry, Shimica
Shimica:18:00Yes, he will be 23 years old. I mean that when he was 10. Now the have an open, honest relationship with God and I talked to him a lot. It makes me talking about that very, very easy to do. Now it makes me living my life to the fullest because my son wouldn't want me to be stuck in addiction because I was using that excuse to keep getting high for the longest time. So I stopped doing that. I stopped making excuses and just start living my life and I didn't want to let my son go, but God says, you know, if you put all your will and your life over to me, I'll take care of you. He said, Jeremiah 29:11, that I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to destroy you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. That's my favorite favorite verse. And I believe that and I believe that at the end of this lifetime, I'll see my son again because that's what I strive for is to go to heaven. So I think God has been a significant part of me turning my life around because he gave me the strength to do so. He gave me the opportunity to not, not for the past but to, for me to conquer it right then and there because that's where my strength come from. And maybe I wouldn't be scared or shy or nervous, but no, I don't have to be because in an actually like it saves my life. Everything that I do save my life. And that's where I got to look at it. If I go to read in front of people, it saves my life. So it makes it easier if I go to, you know, have to say I'm an addict in front of a lot of the people that don't know I'm an addict. It saves my life because they get, might be able to help me and protect me if I don't know what's going on, you know, um, I can speak on who I am because I'm a person that, that, that is in love with myself. Like now I'm in love with myself. Now I have a relationship that grows because God sees it grow and wanted to grow and that's it. Like God is, is my father, my savior, my Lord. He's my forgive her, you know, he forgives me for things that I've done in past and he loves me and he never left me no matter what. I just left him. So for that I have to give back because I know if he could do it for me, you can do it anybody else. And I just love him for that. Even though I get mad at him sometimes and even sometime I might think it's not fair, but at the end he still love me and I'm a his child and we can be brats at times and we can be so childish at times, but still I'm his child.
Kate Wadsworth:21:28I think the strongest relationships are the ones where you can express all of the feelings you can express. I'm disappointed, I'm angry, I don't understand. And that's where the strength and the relationship is because God's always going to come back to you and say, and I love you and you don't have to understand. You just have to trust me and love me and have faith in me. And so, um, it sounds like you are able to demonstrate that real type of relationship.
Shimica:21:54Yeah. Because you know, before I didn't have it before, I always doubted myself that doubt God, but now I still doubt I still have fear about things, but it goes away quicker than what it used to. And I know that's nothing but God's grace and mercy because he's working on me. I'm not there. I'm not, I didn't arrive yet. I still got some learning and some have gone into, in my life am I am me being a person that I am now in my relationship with God I've grown into but I'm learning and I'm willing to learn and I'm honest about it and I love the fact that I see what he'd done for me now that I have 20 months clean so I can just imagine what he has in store for me mean cause he's not gonna like God will not stop giving you abundance and blessings. He was not like, just drop you on it. He didn't say there's the door and let me know he's going to keep going and keep nurturing and keep picking you up when you fall. And that's the kind of God I serve.
Kate Wadsworth:23:08Yeah. That's beautifully put. And what a beautiful heart you have Shimica. I feel so moved by what you just shared. Um, I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm so grateful that you've been able to be honest with God about that and he has ministered to you and, and, and shown you who he is in the midst of such tragedy. And so thank you for sharing that with us. Um, it's really brings me hope and I know other people are going to feel something from that and God's going to speak to them in the midst of what you just shared because we all have suffering in our lives. And so to be able to be honest about pain and pain. Yeah. And I think that you just really shared some very powerful things in that and I appreciate that so much. Um, is there anything else that you want to share or talk about before we end today?
Shimica:23:59That I'm God has brought me here to this program. And if it wasn't for this program, I wouldn't be talking to you now. Um, he does things for a reason and you just got to stay on the right path and stay prayed up and stay like if you ever had a drug problem or alcohol problem or gambling problem or whatever kind of problem you have, as long as you try to work on it and, and understand that there is help, but you got to ask and they will just come to you. You have to ask and you gotta want it. And that's what this program brings. It brings hope, love and caring for one another that you have no choice but to ask what you need and he'll give it to you.
Kate Wadsworth:24:50Beautifully put. Thank you for sharing your heart and I am so excited for your next steps. You're gonna just below so many people away when you're a peer counselor because you just have, again, like I said, you have this warmth and openness and you make it safe for people to be able to share who they are and so that is a gift that God has given you and I can't wait to see how he continues to use that.
Kate Wadsworth:25:15Thanks for listening to Light of Life Rescue Mission's Podcast: Hope unveiled. We hope you join us next time for another story of hope and change.