A Guiding Light to the Lost: Tina’s Story

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For 10 years Tina sought shelter at a bus stop, living a life consumed by addiction and a struggle to stay alive, by any means necessary. We may have all passed her by, a woman marginalized and out of touch with basic needs.

It wasn’t always this way. Tina grew up in Abbeville, Louisiana the daughter of a very young mother. She graduated from high school, became a nurse and started a family. Her marriage was violent and emotionally abusive, not too different from her childhood.

When her husband left her to raise the children alone, her economic struggles began. She turned to alcohol as a means of escape. She quickly lost control. She lost her job, her family, and she began to suffer from debilitating chronic depression. Tina attempted suicide twice. Her family rejected her and put her on a bus to Houston, broken and dejected.

Upon her arrival in a new city, Tina found work and an apartment; but her addiction again interfered. She was evicted and with no place to go, she turned to life on the streets making her home at a bus stop.

After a severe brain stoke in 2007, Tina began to pray that something would change. An arrest saved her life.

Tina was placed in the STAR Court, an alternative of treatment and support for repeat offenders. Rather than incarceration, she was guided through a continuum of care that led her to sobriety.

After cursory drug treatment, Tina found The Women’s Home Treatment and Transitional Housing Program. There she was immersed in the WholeLife Model of care. Mental health counseling was offered to her for the first time. She developed a spiritual life with the guidance of a volunteer spiritual companion.

Vocational counselors helped Tina formulate a plan and secure needed income through the social security disability program and food stamps. She learned to believe in herself and dream of a better future.

After her stay at The Women’s Home, Tina continued her journey through part-time work and study. She was able to have her own time and space to discover the God of her understanding. She spent months healing her body through access to public healthcare.

Today, Tina has created a new life. She has her own home, a beautiful apartment at Jane Cizik Garden Place. She is sharing her experience, strength and hope as an outreach employee for a local mental health association. She is a state certified recovery coach continuing her training as a peer counselor. She is a beacon of hope to brothers and sisters who find themselves lost and alone in shelters, on the street and in treatment centers.

Tina pays her own way for all her needs, having turned back the government assistance she once relied upon. Her journey from crisis to self-sufficiency is truly inspirational and nothing short of a miracle.