Party Girl Rachel

In her pursuit of pleasure, Rachel lost her joy.
Disillusioned with the church, she ran away from God and became disconnected from family.
“In the back of my mind, I cared about family, but I had such a negative view on what being a Christian was, I didn’t want to hear about how I needed to come to God.
“I backed away from trying to have a relationship because I knew I was doing things [my family] didn’t approve of. I cut myself off from them. I wouldn’t return their phone calls… I didn’t want to answer the questions they had for me, like about drinking or partying or about a relationship with God…I was too ashamed of myself.”
Rachel described her life during that 14-year period as a “train wreck.” Drugs. Drinking. Promiscuity.
“My life felt the most out of control when I started losing everything that was important to me because of my addiction – losing my marriage, losing my home, all my belongings…My family didn’t want me involved in their lives as much anymore, and really losing the identity in myself was the hardest thing ever. Having no clue who I was any more.”
At that point, Rachel went to detox and, from there, found her way to UGM Women’s Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall. Her family was hopeful but cautious.
“Getting accepted at Anna Ogden Hall was a big turning point in our relationship, but the biggest change happened when I became a believer…A lot of good things came out of it.”
Rachel stopped pursuing pleasure as her ultimate goal. She stopped running from God and the people who cared about her.
“I started to go to church with [my family] and change. My dad said he could see the changes in me, every time he saw me. He always made me feel special and that I was doing well…he knew it was hard and wanted to encourage me.
“My happiest memory was just in the past year being able to have my dad say he was proud of me and how far I had come in my recovery…and that he had a chance to see it before he got sick.”
The day after Rachel was baptized, she received news that her father’s cancer had returned for the fourth time. What might have served as a trigger for relapse or renewed anger at God has actually caused Rachel to press in. Not that it’s been easy.
“I’ve felt like the light inside of me kind of died for a while. I’ve never handled grief. I don’t know what this is like…Through the three other times he had cancer, I was there, but I wasn’t really there because death was scary to me. I didn’t want him to die.”
This time, Rachel walked alongside him without running from her fear or her emotions. Knowing that the cancer was most likely terminal, she took advantage of every moment with him.
“[I asked] for forgiveness for all the bad things that I had done to the family or to him. He said, ‘You’re already forgiven.’ We both don’t have any regrets between us. We’ve talked about what we need to talk about, and so, I can just love him when I’m with him.
“I think it’s good because I won’t have anything I regret the rest of my life that I didn’t get to talk to my dad about. The last memories he has of me are in recovery and going toward a better future.”
Soon after this interview, Rachel’s father passed away.
While the loss has been devastating, Rachel continues to face her grief head-on, not with drugs, alcohol, or relationships. She’s relying on her relationship with God and support from her family.
“I don’t know how any of us function without my dad…but I also see my mom and I having a closer relationship, as well as my brothers and sisters. I hope to grow in the Lord and be a support to them, but also realize that I can’t be a strong person all the time. I have to lean on them, as well.”