Recovery Bytes

I Am Not Defined by My Past

I Am Not Defined by My Past | Turning Point of Tampa

When I first came into recovery, I heard people in meetings share about all the “gifts” they received by staying clean and working the steps. I didn’t think that I would receive any of those “gifts” because I didn’t think I was worthy. Little did I know, my Higher Power had big plans for me and my family.

When my husband and I graduated from treatment in 2015, we had arrest records, felonies, evictions and poor credit. It was extremely difficult and embarrassing trying to find a place to live after we were released. The treatment center we went to had a housing opportunity for us. Naturally, we took them up on the offer. Man, was I grateful! We moved into one bedroom, one bath apartment. I was almost 7 months pregnant with our son. After about a year, we moved into one of their 2-bedroom, 1 bath apartments. For the next 5 1/2 years, we were excellent tenants, paying our rent on time, for the first time in our adult lives!

We found out this year that we are going to be adding to our family because we are expecting another baby boy! After receiving this surprising and exciting news, we decided that it was time to move. Not only had we outgrown our 2-bedroom, 1 bath apartment physically as a growing family, we had outgrown it mentally and spiritually as well. We didn’t want to live in an apartment owned by the treatment center, forever! It was time for us to move on to bigger and better things.

Purchasing a home is not quite in our cards yet, so we started to look for a house to rent. I was skeptical about us being able to find a landlord that would look passed our background. I reached out to many property owners, explaining our situation, being upfront and honest about our pasts. Sometimes I wouldn’t get a response and sometimes I would get a “No, we don’t rent to people with evictions or felonies.” Despite the responses, I didn’t give up!

A friend of mine sent me a link to a rental house that was available in her neighborhood. It seemed to be everything that we were looking for. I reached out to the owner, explained our background and she asked to meet me the next day. We spent 45 minutes together. She let me look at the property, I asked her questions and she asked me questions. After our meeting, the property owner emailed me the background paperwork, we filled it all out and sent it back over. Then, I prayed. I prayed for God to provide our family what we needed. I prayed for His will, not mine, to be carried out.

Three days later, the owner called asking me when we could come sign the lease! Us! Two junkies with an arrest records, felonies, evictions and poor credit! And we didn’t even need a co-signer, like we had planned. This home is incredible and exactly what our growing family needed. Not only do we have the space we need, but we are in a beautiful, safe community.

Our 5 year-old Autistic son started Kindergarten this year. We were so concerned about the school he was going to have to attend if we had stayed in that apartment. The school that is in our neighborhood is a perfect fit for him. He gets to be in a general education classroom with neuro-typical children. He is able to have his therapists with him to give him the support that he needs to be successful. We are only into the 2nd week of school, and he is THRIVING!

I couldn’t be happier and more pleased with our decision to take that leap of faith and move. It was scary and at times, stressful. We were venturing into unknown territory, but we walked through all of those emotions with other people in recovery. We didn’t have to do any of this alone. We didn’t give up. And as for me, I didn’t allow my past to define me, my future or the future of my family. The 12 steps have taught me to recognize my worth. I am grateful for all of the amazing gifts of recovery that I have been blessed to receive. Thank you, God for always providing my family with exactly what we need. My name is Lisa. I’m a grateful recovering addict and I’m gonna keep coming back!