Today, Tisha is the manager of She Brews Coffee Shop, our partner providing employment to women recovering from addiction, incarceration, or abuse. Her story is, of course, unique to her, but it many ways, it rings true for so many of the mothers we serve through Women in Transition.
This Mother’s Day, we celebrate Tisha and the hundreds of other moms we’ve served who have come back from the brink for the love of their children.
As a child, Tish was commonly exposed to drugs. Learning from her mother how to use and sell drugs.
I started having kids and got married and stuff. When I got pregnant with my first child, I totally quit doing everything because I wanted to be the mother that they needed me to be and I wanted them to have the mother that I wanted, that I didn’t necessarily have. And I love my mom. God rest her soul. She did the best she could with what she had but she went through a lot of things in her own life.
But there was always that need to sell the prescription narcotics. I would dabble as my kids were growing up, kinda dabbled here and there like on the weekends, for fun, with the marijuana and amphetamines and stuff like that, pretty much just occasionally. But I always sold prescription pills.
So in 2007, I had a little backache. And I was selling prescription narcotics at this time. My back was hurting so I thought ‘oh, I’ll just take a half of one of these pills.’ And that was literally the worst mistake I ever made.
Between 8 and 12 percent of patients develop an opioid use disorder.
Half a pill turned to one pill, one turned to two, until I was taking up to ten ten milligram Lortabs at one time. From that moment on, I was basically taking pain pills every day.
Just the fear alone of not having those pills would make you do things that you generally wouldn’t do. And I remember laying in bed one night, in my misery of this addiction, and I wasn’t saying a word physically. I was laying there and tears were just coming down my face, pouring out of my face, and out of my heart I told God, I said, ‘You know I want to serve you with my whole heart. I don’t know what to do here. I’m stuck. Help me.’
I don’t know what to do here. I’m stuck. Help me.
While high on opiates, Tish and her family lost everything to a flash flood.
And we basically barely made it out because we were so high. Like when we got out, the water was up to my knee and I had my kids with me.
My daughter was like, ‘Mom, I want to go home.’ And this was about a week after the flood happened and the hardest thing I had to tell my daughter was that we didn’t have a home to go to. And that’s all I could say to her.
So from that moment on my, I guess you would call it ‘Mom Mode’, survival mode kicked in. I thought, ‘Okay I’m going to get everything back.’
Tish began to sell drugs and got everything back. She later was arrested with outstanding charges.
They raided our house. They kicked the doors in. My children went through a lot at that time because they literally came in and put guns to my kid’s head.
DHS stepped in. Tish lost her kids.
But I knew at that moment, when I seen my kids, like something changed in me. Something changed. And that was the moment I surrendered everything to God and cried out for help.
Through Eddie Warriors [Correctional Center]… which I never knew that God would use a prison to set me free. But when I was in prison, that was the most free I had ever been.
I never knew that God would use a prison to set me free.
Rhonda [Bear, Stand in the Gap’s Women in Transition Program Director] came in. Her and Shaunte [Gordon] came in faithfully every Monday and I was a chapel clerk so we always talked. [Rhonda and Shaunte were teaching our Women in Transition course.] She just took an interest in me and my life. She gave me hope because she had been incarcerated and she was doing so well. Shaunte had been incarcerated and was doing so well. She had been out and now she was coming back in and helping. It was an inspiration to me.
The Lord has used His House Ministries, and She Brews, and Stand in the Gap to make sure that I have a good strength foundation from coming from incarceration.
Life now is really actually good.
We asked: Do you have any last words or anything you would like to add?
I just wanna thank God for the people that he’s placed in my life, this program, this ministry and all the people that have helped me along the way. I couldn’t have done it without them. Their willingness to humble themselves and to give their time and their effort and their energy to make sure that I succeed.
Are you ready to help bring a mother back from the brink?
Learn more about Stand in the Gap’s Women in Transition program.