It had been many years since Augustina had experienced anything close to fellowship with her family at Christmas or any other time. In fact, when she walked through our doors last year, family wasn’t just something that was missing from her life – it was something she was at risk of losing forever.
Augustina was a broken woman. She was the mother of six children, four of whom were no longer hers. A lifetime of addiction and run-ins with the law had permanently severed her rights and she was dangerously close to losing her two youngest children as well.
Living in Las Vegas with a boyfriend who shared her addiction, Augustina was managing to stay off the streets by making drug runs for the cartel. It was dangerous work, but it kept her family fed and supplied her and her boyfriend with the drugs they needed to survive.
It was working until she was stopped by police during one of their drug runs. Augustina went to jail and lost custody of the only two bright spots left in her life – her two little girls, Rihanna and Zariah.
“I told the police to call my mother because she would take them in,” Augustina tells us. “But when they did, she told them that I was homeless, involved with drugs and that the kids were in danger. When I got out of jail, I didn’t get them back.”
Losing her two remaining kids devastated Augustina. She fell into a deep depression and started using stronger drugs as a way to escape.
“That’s when I overdosed on heroin. The paramedics brought me back to life, but I was so upset and angry when they did,” Augustina remembers with tears in her eyes. “I did not want to live.”
Not knowing what else to do, Augustina cried out to God for help.
“I fell to my knees and said ‘God, just please take this pain away, take it all. I don’t want anything; just give me my kids back. I don’t want this life anymore,’” says Augustina.
That’s when God started her on the path to receive the greatest gift of all – a chance to become a member of His forever family.
She called her mother to let her know that she was ready to change. Her mom referred her to a detox center that would eventually refer her to the Changing Lives Center.
“I know that if the Changing Lives Center wasn’t around, I would be dead,” admits Augustina.
“I felt worthless, but here I found a God who said I have worth. Not only do I believe in Him, I trust Him with all my heart.”
With the love and support of our counselors and staff, Augustina graduated from our women’s recovery program in June. She’s earned her high school diploma and is in the process of applying to college to become an addiction counselor. She’s just received custody of her two daughters again and has repaired her relationship with her mother who is the adoptive parent of her four older children.
For the first time in a long time, Augustina will be experiencing the precious gift of family this Christmas. Not only that, her kids will receive the gift of a mother who is healed and sober, and Augustina’s mother will have her daughter back for the first time in decades!