There is HOPE!

By
Amanda Vineyard

My name is Amanda but I prefer to be called Al. My story is filled with extremes. You see, I have never been much on moderation. When I was in high school, I didn't have many friends. I stayed to myself and kept my nose in the books. I didn't try or experiment with drugs or alcohol in school. After high school, I went into the Air Force. I separated from the Air Force when I became pregnant with my son. Shortly after, I was a manager at a five star restaurant, for years. When I was 27 I was injured. I was put on opiate pain medication and benzos. Before I knew it, I was deep in addiction. When swallowing my pain fillers stopped working, I started snorting them. When snorting them stopped working, I started cooking them down and injecting them. Soon, I was shooting meth and molly too. I started neglecting my family, and abusing my husband. I spent all of our money on drugs, even selling and pawning our things, and stealing in order to pay for my addiction. My family would soon be living in our house without food or electricity. My family was so hurt.
In August of 2014, my world completely collapsed. My car and cell phone were stolen. A few days later, my kids were removed from my house by the sheriff's department. My husband got a restraining order against me later that same day. Three days later, my house was robbed and ripped apart. The people who robbed me took everything from furniture to the copper wiring from my walls. Everything. The next day, I had three felony warrants pop up for my arrest. Within a week, I literally lost everything. Not having anywhere to go, or anyone left in my life, I tried to hang myself. I figured my family didn't want me, society didn't want me and then I failed at killing myself. Death didn't even want me. I thank God today that He wanted me.
After my attempted suicide, I started working toward recovery. It was hard to listen to people tell me what to do and how to behave. My pastor told me once that I needed to spend some time alone and grieve. I needed to grieve the things I had done, and everything I had lost. I didn't say it to him, but I was thinking that if he only knew what it was like to be alone inside my own head, he would never ask me to do that. He was right though. The hardest thing for me to grieve was that everything that had happened in my life was by my own hands. That was an excruciating realization. Day by day, I counted. I tried to learn something new every day. I tried to make the right decisions when faced with difficult choices. I can't say that I have done everything right... in fact, there is so much I have gotten wrong in this process. I tried to follow Christ and make the choices in my life that followed what the Bible says.
I was afraid at first that people would judge me for the things I have done. I am now a felon. I have track marks covering my body. I wasn't anyone that anybody would care to know. I pushed forward. I shared anyway. I share to spread hope. I share to give myself accountability. I share because I believe that God can take the ugliest of situations and use them for His glory.
Today, I am 1126 days clean. I have full custody of my kids again. My husband even came back and God restored our marriage. I will be let off of felony probation 2.5 years early for good behavior, and the felonies will be completely removed from my record. I will be released on November 1, 2017. I will graduate with an associate's degree in paralegal studies with a 4.0 GPA the same month. I have also been afforded the opportunity to share my story of hope many times with different civic organizations within the county I live. My favorite place to go share is county jail. They give me 2 hours every week to do Bible study. That is a very unique experience because I know many of the girls personally. There is hope in recovery. There is life after tragic events and addictions. There is healing and restoration through Jesus Christ. I want to shout it from the mountain tops and praise God for all He has done in my life, as He uses the ugliest pieces of my life for a beautiful story of hope!