When we met Seanna, she was a mother of two who was hopelessly addicted and living out of her car. It was a nightmare scenario – one that can’t be explained by any one factor. Unemployment. Addiction. Depression. Hopelessness. Each cast a shadow over her life, each added another layer to the darkness inside that threatened to smother her completely.
But that was Seanna three years ago. Today, the darkness is gone, replaced by an inner light and a winning, radiant smile that welcomes our guests to the Mission Café. She’s a different person because she found a truth here that changed everything. Seanna sums it up, “There’s life at the end of the tunnel.”
Growing up, positive role models for Seanna were few and far between. Both of her parents were alcoholics who constantly fought, often requiring police involvement to make peace. “After the divorce, my mother started using meth and shut me out of her world. She would lock herself in her room for days at a time. I had to teach myself to cook and how to fend for myself.” As Seanna grew older, life didn’t get much better. She bounced between living with her mother and father until she was old enough to afford her own apartment. She had two boys along the way, Lucas and Maximus. The last was a rough pregnancy and afterward, Seanna was prescribed powerful pain killers. She quickly became a victim of our country’s opioid epidemic. “I began taking pain killers on a daily basis. Then it went to Percocet 10s, then 20s, then meth when I didn’t have anything else.
Soon the daily routine became getting my fix, no matter what. I began stealing money from my manager, buying pills, getting high. At 26, I started shooting up morphine and oxys on a daily basis. It was a neverending cycle.” Layer upon layer, the darkness inside Seanna was growing. Then one morning, tragedy struck and it took over completely. “My mom came to live with me,” Seanna remembers. “She was still drinking. One night she drank a whole 18-pack of beer by herself.” Seanna found her dead on the bathroom floor the next day. “My life had been going downhill for a while, but that’s when it came to a dead stop. I stopped caring about anything at that point. I lost job after job because I never put any effort into them. I lost my apartment and we started living in my car. I began shooting up heroin in front of my children. For money, I started stealing the gold out of my grandmother’s house and selling it. I even sold my uncle’s guns while he was in jail.” That last one carried a hefty charge. Seanna was arrested and faced a possible 17 years in prison for theft and trafficking in stolen property. Fortunately, the judge offered her a chance to go to rehab instead.
Her parole officer brought her to the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center. “My attitude at that point was, ‘It was better than going to jail,’” Seanna admits. “But about 30 days after I got here, when I started getting to know people and the way things are, it was an eye opener.” Slowly but surely, our staff and counselors began to bring light to the darkness that bound Seanna to a life on the streets. We were able to give her freedom from addiction through our counseling sessions, treat her depression, and bring back the hope that was missing from her life.
“Soon I began to see what life was again. I had no idea who I was. I began to discover little things about myself, things that were good and that were funny. I made friends who mean the world to me. Finding God and sobriety opened my eyes to the truth… I had to ask myself, ‘What was I doing with my life?’” remembers Seanna. “Looking back before CLC, when I was sleeping in my car with my two kids, it’s like watching someone else’s life. It’s like I’m awake now.” Today she is a new creation.
Seanna is a graduate of our recovery program. She’s comp l e t ed our Servant Leader ship Training and our Ministry T r a i n i n g p r o g r a m and has recently been promoted to Front House Supervisor at Mission Possible Café! Not only does she love the work, she’s earning an apartment of her own while building her resumé at the same time. Next time you’re in the vicinity of 15th Avenue and Van Buren Street, stop by, say hello, and witness the change for yourself! And don’t forget to order a delicious meal that will help transform more lives, just like Seanna’s. “It [Phoenix Rescue Mission] changed my life,” says Seanna. “I needed that more than anything. The Changing Lives Center is a different place in this world, full of beauty, happiness and heart. I am truly thankful for all the good they have to give. I came out with a meaning and a purpose, something I forgot a long time ago.”