Jackie’s Story – Someone Believed In Me

Jackie’s Story: Someone Believed In Me!

Looking at me today, you probably have no idea what kind of life I lived before.  The sassy, spunky, confident person you see before you…. is not the same person I used to be.

Prior to coming to Refuge for Women, North Texas, I had a really sorry attitude. I didn’t care what anyone said or even what the law said. It just didn’t matter. Very little mattered. The main problem I faced was that I was not loved or cared about.  I also had no faith in myself. I was in desperate need of guidance, love, and affection.

Before Refuge for Women, my whole life revolved around men, drugs, alcohol, and sex. The most important things to me were getting my next fix and trying to make the wrong type of people happy.

Peace of mind was nowhere to be found. Not for me.  Not back then.  I only looked for love in the streets and in a lifestyle that never provided what I was looking for. Sometimes I felt safe; other times I didn’t. The only place I looked for happiness was in men. To no avail.

My childhood was simply awful. I didn’t receive any love or positive attention at home. I was never spoken to like a normal child. Every word uttered in my direction was spoken in anger or indifference. I was beaten violently for everything under the sun. Not too surprisingly, I ran away from home many times. My family was clearly embarrassed by me. My stepmother was my first abuser. She called me all sorts of deeply hurtful names. Around 7th grade, I decided to drop out of school. After all, I wasn’t wanted, and I wasn’t learning anything. What else was I to do?

For a long time, I didn’t realize I was being trafficked. I just knew I was being used to have sex with men and women. I felt that the ones who were using me were my friends and/or my drug dealer. It was hard having men in and out of my life. My right to choose and sense of power were taken from me; I had absolutely no say-so. I simply had to do what I was told. Living this kind of life, I felt lower than a scumbag. I was beyond disgusted with myself. I hated men. I hated women.  I hated myself. I hated everyone.

I will never forget what started me on a different path in my life. There I was, incarcerated in the county jail, when I heard about a program that was perfectly suited to help me and others like me. So, I decided to sign up for that program. I learned that it referred ladies like me to long-term recovery at Refuge for Women North Texas.  I knew what I needed.  And I knew what my next step would be.

I desperately wanted long-term recovery because I was so tired of being abused.  I was so tired of my life on drugs. On June 22nd, when I tried to overdose on $3200 worth of crack, it hit me like a two-by-four that I indeed needed long-term treatment. I didn’t want to go back to this destructive lifestyle. I wanted to start over and get help with the issues that had plagued me my entire life.

To be perfectly honest, when I first arrived at Refuge for Women, my thoughts were far from positive. “I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE! TOO MANY RULES!” I thought this process was going to be way too hard and that I would not be able to do all it would take to graduate.  It was difficult to get used to new people.  There was so much work to do. I feared I wouldn’t be able to comprehend anything because my education ended at such a young age. I had reason to have such concerns.  It was hard.  And there was a lot of work I needed to do.

Letting go of my past and believing that I truly do matter were really hard topics to face during our program. Taking compliments from others was incredibly difficult. Accepting the fact that I was partly responsible for my own problems was painful to do, though necessary. Delving into the abuse I suffered as a child, it became clear how deeply my childhood wounds had impacted my life choices as an adult. 

A turning point was when the program director said to me, “If no one else believes in you, I believe in you.” Those words caused a sudden change in my attitude.  Someone finally believed in me. WOW!

Even as I moved forward in the process of healing and growing, there were still obstacles to overcome. The biggest mental barriers I faced were the things I kept telling myself… that I would always be a dopehead…. that I just wasn’t worth it…. that I would never have the things I desired. I believed I wasn’t smart enough, deserving enough. I struggled with depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

The changes I’ve seen in myself because of the help I’ve received at Refuge for Women, North Texas still amaze me. For one, I can communicate better with others. Today my past is in the past, and it no longer haunts me the way it did. Before Refuge for Women, I was a dopehead in jail, broken and unloved. Today I am grateful to live safely in the Refuge for Women Transitional Living Home. I’m no longer a person full of hate. In fact, some would say that I bring light to any room. I love to encourage those around me, including my friends in the long-term house. I’ve learned that the Lord has given me many gifts and so many opportunities. I now get to use my past experiences as a tool for motivation and wisdom to help those walking a similar path. I am proud to say that I have been a full-time employee at Survivor Made for over a year. Mrs. Abby likes to call me, “The “Queen of Sew.” I love doing what I do. I was given the chance to learn a new skill, which has turned into a career that I absolutely cherish.

Halfway through my time in Transitional Living, I realized the change that had occurred within me. My heart was different. My thinking was different. It hit me hard in a glorious way that it wasn’t just the program director who believed in me.  There were others who believed in me, saw the good in me.  Best of all, I finally believed in myself. 

 

Note from North Texas Executive Director, Abby Germer:

“Jackie continually inspires us all at Refuge for Women North Texas. When Jackie first came into the program, we knew it was going to be hard work but God can do big things with humble hearts.

One of our current residents shared this about Jackie recently: ‘I am so proud of the way Jackie is out there and being molded for greatness. I see far ahead and she is gonna be something greater than ever. It’s amazing what a chance can do for someone’s self esteem.’

Jackie has grown so much during her years at Refuge For Women and we couldn’t be more proud to announce that she is now on staff full-time as a Survivor Leader! Jackie will be helping our team in various ways from inspiring other residents while working through their healing journey to sharing her story of hope with the community.”

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