One woman shares her journey of redemption and healing here, thanks to a Teen Challenge center in Russia that partners with World Challenge.
My name is Natalya. I was born in Novokuznetsk in 1981. At that time, my mother and father were working at the steel plant. My parents are wonderful people; they have tried to give their best to us.
I always wanted to be self-sufficient and began to work at 12 years old. Since I had my own money, I was soon surrounded by friends who were addicted to drugs. In the 90s, it was cool if you knew how and where to get drugs. At the age of 14, I tried my first “heavy drugs” and liked it. By 16, I had been using regularly for two years and finally decided to tell my mom about it.
My parents sent me to a private clinic where I received serious treatments. I had no withdrawal symptoms and quit easily, but I got back to drugs a couple of months later. I was a good student at school, but my problem brought me very close to being expelled. My parents were greatly troubled and didn’t want to let me come home.
I decided to quit drugs a second time, and I was able to go through the withdrawals by myself. Very soon after that, I met my future husband. In 1999, our son was born, and I felt I had everything to be happy.
The Rollercoaster of Addiction
In 2000, my husband was taken to the hospital with tuberculosis. He was secretly doing drugs, and one day, I found a small drug packet he had lost. Soon we were using together, and we lost everything, including our apartment. In 2004, my husband died, and I continued drowning in my addiction.
In 2007, I was sentenced 7 years of prison and consequently lost the opportunities to use anymore. Thank God for that! I would’ve died otherwise.
After being released from prison, I came back to Novokuznetsk. My parents helped me find a place where I could live. I got a job and met my second husband. After being in prison, I didn’t trust people, but my husband did everything to change my perspective on healthy relationships. When my second son was born, I was extremely happy; my joy felt like it had no limits.
Then my husband died of a stroke in his sleep.
My life stood still. I couldn’t breathe normally. The first three months after his death, I couldn’t believe he wasn’t there. I would wait for him to get home after work. After a while, I began using drugs again.
Finding True Transformation
Drugs brought no lasting comfort. The only thing that stopped me from losing everything in life was my son. I couldn’t even think about losing him.
One acquaintance told me about a rehabilitation center, a “Mother and Child” program, where I could receive help. It was wonderful that I could go there with my little son, Rodion. I thank God for my rehabilitation, but the main and best thing in my life was the opportunity to meet Jesus and get saved.
I’ve received Christ’s salvation and great love. I’ve learned about his desire to be in relationship with us. He is so great and merciful!
For many like Natalya, a relationship with God is the key difference between Teen Challenge and other drug recovery programs. The Holy Spirit brings true transformation, healing and restoration. Our partners at Teen Challenge also work to bring those recovering from addiction into close community, ongoing discipleship and skills training groups so that they can successfully return to a healthy life and be a redemptive force in their communities.