Resident Testimonials

“The biggest accomplishment that I have achieved in the last eighteen months is falling in love with myself. I come from a strong loving family that has always been a positive support. However, I have felt heartache and loneliness that lead me down a path to self-destruction. In 2008 I was a single mom raising four amazing children on my own and working in the education eld when two tragedies rocked my world. On

February, 21 2008 my mother passed away of a heart attack, and a few weeks later my best friend, my baby sister committed suicide. I started to drink and take sleeping pills in order to get any form of sleep. Then I just drank for no other reason than to be drunk this continued for several years. I would leave the school where I worked at 3:00 and be at the liquor store shortly thereafter every day. I was a drunk and although on the outside I was working and living the best I could, I was in a personal hell and not present for my children.

I have never been one to do things half way and when my contract was not renewed at the school in 2012, I began to live o unemployment and savings. I had chose not to look for work due to my continued drinking, I ended up shattering my knee cap and needing several surgeries to heal .This was the beginning of a way of life I wasn’t use to and I needed money and fast.

I had a friend that also was low on funds, and thinking radically I made the worst decision of my life, I started to deal drugs. After one successful sale, I was hooked. I could pay my bills and have extra money and only had to work two days a month. This quickly led to a life of money, drugs and casino’s which left me no time to be a mom. I had four kids who didn’t need to feel the pain of my mistakes, or so I thought. I felt if I paid the bills it was okay to let the children move into their fathers and I rented a condo where I could work.

The lies never stopped until the day I was arrested and was facing many charges and many years in prison. I went to jail for a few days and then lost it all money, condo and desire to continue this time on earth. I was at a crossroad and then the moral compass I was raised with kicked into high gear.

I clearly couldn’t understand how I went from being a professional to jail in an 18 month time span. I made the choice to turn myself in, do my time and pray for forgiveness and a second chance. While I was in jail, I took the time to get my thoughts together as I knew that when I walked out of those gates life had to change, I had to change.

I left Jail September, 22 2014 and went straight to rehab. I learned I grieved and I started the healing process. After my release, I went to Life Well rehab for three months and then was given the opportunity to move into Soul Sanctuary in the Desert’s housing program where I took residence December 23, 2014. I was not used to riding the bus or living with other women struggling with their own issues, but the true journey began here.

The inspiration of the woman around me at Soul Sanctuary including Josette Sullins, Cyd West, and the support of my family gave me the motivation to go the distance. Once I moved into the Soul Sanctuary House I knew it was time to finish my degree in addiction Counseling and start a new journey. I was at NCADD in group therapy for four months and during that time I finished my Chemical Dependency degree at Rio Salado College in May 2015.

I am now working at Soul Sanctuary and I plan to continue my career using my certification to give back to others as I am grateful for all I have.

I know God has amazing things in store for me. I plan on continuous growth in my recovery and the relationship with my family. I would like to continue to grow my career at Soul Sanctuary to help open and manage more houses to support women who are in the situation I once was. Someday I would like to buy my own home, but first I need to make a home for my children and myself. My future is so bright now and I am working toward moving back to Gilbert near my family and friends.

-Johanna

“I always wondered what it would have been like to grow up with my mom and dad under the same roof. I never knew that feeling as my parents were separated before I was two. My mother had escaped what was to be my future, an abusive relationship with an alcoholic man (my father).

They say history repeats its self, boy did it… time and time again in my life I went off with a man who was just like my dad. Looking back now maybe I was trying to help someone like him or recreate my childhood home… I am not sure what a therapist might say, all I know was during that time it was the darkest and loneliest place I ever lived. I know I was only attracted to unhealthy men, if he was a drunk… awesome! Abused me… even better! I had no idea that I was worth more.

I remember having nights where I was unsure if I would make it out alive. If it wasn’t bad enough that I let others abuse me, I abused myself, began using drugs to cope with the pain, using to bring people closer, or maybe to push them away… getting to the point where I used to exist. I would occasionally see my family and lie about what was happening… “No he didn’t hit me again… I fell”, “I slipped in the tub…he loves me.”

Looking back I wasn’t just lying to them, I was trying to convince myself. Fast forward… I am using drugs… in unhealthy relationships… and pregnant. I would try to escape and get away… only to return, to feel less worthy than I had before. If I didn’t feel beaten enough by life, I lost my children… What was left? I remember sleeping in oleander bushes praying no one would see me, hurt me, call the police… that for the moment I would be ok.

I have been beaten physically and emotionally but nothing can explain the pain that comes from losing your child. What was left to live for? It was by the grace of God I am here….He gave me a second chance…. a do over at life. I was pregnant again and thankfully my sister let me come to her home to leave the unhealthy life behind. I had had enough.

I reached out to an organization for rehab here in the valley and through them found Soul Sanctuary. It was a place to call home, a sanctuary if you will, away from the life I lived. My five month old son and I moved in and for the first time I began to believe I was worth more. Living in Soul Sanctuary has given me time to heal, to move forward and to create change not just for me but for my son.

My son has never and will never see a man place his hands on me. The cycle is broken, the game is changed. I am now a credit away from being a college graduate and working toward an ASU graduate degree. My goal is to serve women who need a second chance, a sanctuary to turn to, and to know that life is not the dark horrible place that it seems…..that they are worthy of love, just like me.”

-Ali

“Since being at Soul Sanctuary I have progressed at getting my kids back. I am in school and building a future. I have more confidence about my parenting skills and my future.”

-Brandy

“I went into the interview feeling a lot of shame and embarrassment, but I found I was not judged, I was showed compassion and understanding. After the interview I was excited to find out I was accepted and on New Year’s Eve day I moved in. Immediately I got health care for me and my unborn baby. Then I sat down with the Social Worker and we went over my goals while at Soul Sanctuary. I was never told anything would be done for me, but given the tools and support to do for myself. My son was born in February and I was able to bring him home to a safe place and everything I needed to take care of him. After his birth I started counseling and relapse prevention classes which I attend three times a week still to this date. I thank Soul Sanctuary for giving me the confidence and for the unbelievable support system the staff provides.”

-Donna