Regina traces her drug addiction back to age 15. Part of a Catholic family, she grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia in a gated community, and tried marijuana as a way to cope with sexual abuse from her father. Regina has since married and divorced, and her children are grown with their own kids, but her relationship with drugs has lingered.
“Thirty-five years later, I’m still an addict,” she said.
With the help of her sister, Regina came down to North Carolina in 2018 to join Durham Rescue Mission. She built a strong foundation for her faith, graduated from the Victory Program, and was put on payroll as a counselor and lead supervisor. But the job was taxing, and the constant need eventually burned out Regina.
Regina left Durham last December after three and a half years of sobriety. She arrived at Raleigh Rescue Mission in February. In those short three months, she had relapsed.
“They say when you relapse, they say you start right where you left off, which was true,” Regina said. “Immediately I knew that was not what God wanted for me, so I came to Raleigh Rescue Mission.”
Regina completed the New Life Plan with little trouble. Her administrative gifts shined when she worked the front desk, and she enjoyed getting to know the other women and their children. She learned practical skills like budgeting and purchased a car.
After graduating from Jobs for Life, Regina quickly landed a managerial job at Denny’s, as she has 40 years of restaurant experience and enjoys interacting with people. The night hours were difficult, and she has since switched to waitressing at Big Ed’s, where she already has a base of repeat customers.
Hospitality is a no-brainer for Regina, as she is welcoming and warm. She’s bright, too, making one of the highest scores in Virginia when she took the GED at age 50. Lastly, she’s an open book about her addiction and uses every resource available to her to recover. But she gives the credit to the Lord and works as hard on her relationship with Him as she does on her sobriety. She fights the addiction from all angles, continuing with daily AA meetings and spending time in the Word and in prayer.
“In the past I’ve done really well for a few years, and then something happens and I get bitter or think I was done wrong, and I turn to drugs,” she said. “But now I’ve learned – and the Raleigh Rescue Mission taught me this, too – that I need to depend on the Lord. I thought I could do everything by myself, but that’s not what God wants for me. He wants me to depend on Him.”
Regina recently moved out of the Mission and instead getting her own apartment, further committed to her sobriety by choosing to live in an Oxford House – a drug-free recovery home she shares with nine other women. She continues to go to recovery meetings in the house and online. She has been in and out of AA for 25 years, but decided to work through the steps one more time.
Now, Regina has been clean for nine months. Her mentors and client success managers from the Mission check in and are there to offer support whenever she needs it. She has applied for a senior living home, hoping to get accepted in the next two years. Since her recovery, Regina has restored relationships with her family members.
“They ask if I need anything, and I say, ‘No, can I do something for you?’” she said. “With the support of my family, with the accountability I have here, and reading the Word and going to church and praying and staying with the Lord, I think I’ll be OK.”