What do you say to a young woman who was bullied at school, had no self-worth and used alcohol to escape her problems? Where can a young man find help when drugs have become his coping mechanism to cover the deep hurts of neglect? And what do you say to a young woman who was abused by the very person who was meant to protect her, and turned to drugs as a way of numbing the pain?
Teen Challenge Queensland is a non-profit organisation that has consistently and effectively helped, for over 42 years, so many young people who are facing these very issues.
This is just one of the stories of a young life that has been transformed from addiction to one of hope.
Hannah is 24 years old, the second eldest of four daughters. She grew up going to church, Sunday school and youth groups. After completing high school and a diploma of nursing, Hannah enrolled in a nursing degree. All seemed well, but inwardly she was struggling with her dependency on alcohol.
From a young age, Hannah suffered from lack of self-confidence – an inner war of inequality, failure, and self-loathing.
“I’ve always been a very deep thinker. I over-analyse everything, I’m extremely sensitive, and if I’m not careful, I have a short temper that can tend to get me into strife. This is almost the complete opposite from the personalities of my three sisters, and even though I love my family, I felt like I was an outcast.”
Being bullied at school and feeling like an outcast with her friends and family, at 18 years old, Hannah packed her bags and headed to the Gold Coast. Over the next three years she experimented with drugs and alcohol and worked as a bartender in a strip club. Every relationship she had during this time ended in mental and physical abuse, which added to her feelings of helplessness. Hannah says it was then that she resorted to alcohol to help ease the pain.
“I needed something to mask the pain; to get rid of the bad memories, so I chose to use alcohol. I was out of control; the binges became longer and then sobriety between each binge became shorter. Sometimes my binges would last over seven days, which resulted in numerous hospital admissions.”
After losing her license due to a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction and having a blood alcohol limit which put her in the ‘top 10’ readings for women in Queensland, Hannah hit rock bottom and found herself looking desperately for help. After speaking with a worker at Teen Challenge, Hannah began her journey of recovery at the New Life Women’s Centre (NLWC) in Toowoomba.
“For all the years I spent in misery I have now come to an understanding that all I needed was [God’s] forgiveness and guidance. I feel lighter, I feel kinder, and I feel like I am in a position to start a new life.”
“I was broken and exhausted, but through Teen Challenge I have found God and amazing friends that have helped put all the pieces back together, and I am sure that I will become all that God intended me to be.”
“My journey of recovery wasn’t easy, but I know that my Jesus put this organisation and these people in my life so that I could have hope for the future. I have now finished the program and I am doing an internship at the NLWC, while completing my nursing degree.”
“My prayer for the women that I live and work with, and for those women still to walk through the front door at the NLWC is … even when you can’t see why you should, please dare to hope. Even when you’re broken, please dare to dream … even when you feel like the world has turned its back on you, please know that you are worth far more than rubies or gold. I pray that you will know that you are women of great character; you are women of strength, courage and kindness. My prayer is you will meet Jesus, know His love, and know that like He did with me, He will descend the heavens from His throne, and He will walk with you too.”