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My name is Anthony. I am 16 years old. I have had a rough life just like many others. I wanted to share my story with you.
My mom was an idealistic type of mom. She had raised me by herself for many years and then remarried and had my little brother. She had a degree from Oklahoma State University. We lived in a nice house. She drove a nice car. We were a happy family. Then things started to change.
We moved again. People would come to the house and scream and fight with my mom. They would come there to buy drugs from her. Once they stole our car. Fights were constant. My mom often feared for her life but was so into getting high that she was willing to risk her life and ours to get the drugs. It was really scary.
I started getting more and more pulled in. The guys that my mom ran with were teaching me how to be tough, how to fight, how to speak like them. I learned how to guard and protect our home at the age of 10. I got in trouble for spray painting trailers and threw a rock at a cop car and remember running from the police as they patrolled our trailer park trying to find me. I remember being cheered on by my mother’s friends. I began to feel very powerful and bulletproof. But I wasn’t, this was all a smoke screen.
I went to my dad’s house for a visit. He had remarried and had more children. It seemed like a family. Like what I had lost. But things went really bad there. I got 3rd degree chemical burns during a mishap of abuse. I am scarred for life. His wife often hit me and was very verbally abusive. While with my dad, I became totally isolated. I couldn’t see my mom, my grandparents, no one. I began to get withdrawn and wanted to die. I was very sad. I felt I had nowhere to go.
My mom felt horrible. She decided to get help. My aunt worked at a rehabilitation center called Narconon Arrowhead. She set it up for my mom to come in. My mom had a court appearance, her boyfriend showed up and convinced her to leave with him. She left my grandpa at the court house and was missing for 19 days. I didn’t know where she was and my grandma hadn’t heard from her. My aunt finally tracked her down. She had been arrested in Dallas, TX, high on methamphetamine. She had parked at the cargo section of the Dallas Airport in the middle of the night. The police surrounded her and her boyfriend and took them to jail. During the court proceedings a lot of truths started to come out. Her boyfriend had tried to kill her. She had stolen stuff. She had lied. She had thrown away everything through her drug use. My aunt went to Texas, worked with probation, the attorneys, and the staff of Narconon® to get my mom released and to the drug treatment program.
During this time a counselor at school who was watching my struggles with life and with my dad stepped in. I was taken from my dad, couldn’t go back to my mother so I ended up in a shelter in Eufaula. The people at the shelter took good care of me but I felt I lost everything in my life. I had no family. No friends. No stuff. The people at the shelter gave me a white ball cap that had college teams on it. On the inside there was a tracking device that would signal them if I tried to run or someone tried to take me. People in town knew we were the shelter kids just by those hats. I got severely depressed. One night during a hard rain I cried and prayed to God, "Why are you doing this to me? Why do you hate me?" I never got an answer and I cried myself to sleep. I was now 11. I stayed there for 3 weeks, which seemed like an eternity when you are 11 and alone.
My mom wasn’t doing her program correctly, was interfering with other peoples programs and was dismissed with the option to return if she chose to follow the rules. My mom went back to court. She was able to get me out of the youth shelter but was under surveillance by the state to assure my care. She had a new boyfriend, had secured a house and a new job. We were going to be a family again. However I had never dealt with my anger. I was still mad at my mom. I started to rebel. I started running with some older kids, was smoking marijuana and getting into trouble. My mom and her boyfriend were fighting. I got caught up in the middle and took off. I went with my 1/2 brother and stole a car. I was angry, hurt and upset. Most of all I feared going back to the shelter. I loaded my brother’s nine millimeter hand gun stuck it in my mouth and prayed for the will to just die. But I thank God for intervening. I wasn’t able to do it.
I went home and my mom had been in my stuff and found marijuana and a pipe. She felt betrayed because she was trying to stay drug free and she sent me to live with my grandmother across town. I had not seen her for 2 years. My grandma was reluctant at first but she took me in. I have lived there since this time. I started passing school. I got back into sports. I felt loved. My grandma and grandpa have been really good to me and gave me the stability that I needed. I will be forever thankful to them.
My mom got pregnant and seemed to be doing ok. She was still with her boyfriend. She had been clean for over a year, but when she delivered the baby he was taken by social services at the hospital. This was a very confusing time. My mom tried to do right. She went to several different types of rehabs but it just wasn’t like Narconon. She had failure after failure. She needed to complete her program at Narconon. She ended up leaving the state and was arrested for transporting methamphetamine and lost any chance of getting the baby back. My aunt stepped in and adopted the baby. My mom went to jail, only to find out she was pregnant again.
She decided she needed to get straight and didn’t want to lose another child. She stopped all drug use in March of 2005. She left the state to live with her brother and delivered a healthy drug free baby girl. She has been clean and sober for 2 years now! I still live with my grandma but my mom has moved back to Eufaula. She is healthy and strong. She lives with me at my grandma’s with her baby girl. We are a family. My mom still gives credit to my aunt and to Narconon Arrowhead for saving her life. When things got truly bad Narconon taught my mom life skills that she needed to get herself straight. She still regrets not finishing the program but now that she has 2 years clean she is in the process of doing everything she can to make things go right and she will be returning to Narconon soon, so she can help others.
My aunt was able to get me a summer job here at Narconon and it has been a life changing experience for me. Everyone here has a story and I have learned after everything that I went through in my life so far, there are people who have been through much more and they survived. I now understand what my mom went through and it has helped our relationship. Narconon Arrowhead makes me want to succeed. I can rise above my hardships, get past society and the drugs, and come out shining in the end. At 16 I can tell you that Narconon saves peoples lives! It saved my mom’s life and made us a family again. For that I will forever be thankful. I wanted to share my story because I know there are other kids out there who are struggling. Kids that may feel they don’t have a chance. I just want you to realize, God may take a while to answer your prayers but he always does. Thank you Narconon for giving me my mother back!
Story written July 2007