In the early 2000s, Catherine led a fairly normal life. She was married, lived in Dallas and her family was growing. In 2004 she was pregnant and overjoyed to welcome a new baby to their family. Catherine gave birth in a c-section delivery and was moved to her postpartum hospital room for continued care. During her postpartum stay, Catherine needed intervention for sustained pain, and the doctors prescribed medication to alleviate the discomfort. When she returned home, addiction ensued.
The dependence on the medicine overshadowed her life for 14 years. Throughout this period of time, Catherine checked in and out of rehabilitation facilities. After each visit, she made big promises to herself and to her family that she would stop taking the drugs, but a relapse always followed. With minor life modifications, Catherine hoped she would just get lucky enough to reclaim her vitality, but a predictable pattern developed. This rehab cycle repeated eight times. She was physically and emotionally drained, and her family was exhausted. Catherine was numb to life, and it seemed like nothing could change that.
A moment came where she reached her breaking point. Catherine attempted suicide in April 2018. The family was devastated by the attempt, and her actions drove a wedge between herself and her loved ones. Terrified at the near loss of their mother, her children experienced anger and fear as a result. Throughout this season of life, Catherine missed out on the daily joys of motherhood and marriage from an inability to form secure attachments. Their familial bonds were so severed, and her husband questioned if their relationship was salvageable.
One day, the mental fog lifted. Catherine clearly recognized the damage from her choices and distanced herself from this lifestyle. It was time to get clean. She distinctly remembers the date — June 18, 2018. She said goodbye to her chronic addiction, ready for lasting change. After the drugs left her system, she surveyed the wreckage of her life — from repeated family theft to the loss of their home. The relationships with her husband and three children were completely detached. Catherine lost her husband’s trust, and her children vocalized their doubts.
She reflected on the years with a numb body and mind to keep the pain at bay, but now there was nothing standing between her consciousness and the reality of her personal life. Was this rock bottom? Faith in God was not a priority, so there was nowhere for her soul to turn for comfort or rest. On July 4, 2018, the family moved her to Houston to live with her sister. This was a wake-up call.
Upon arriving in Houston, Catherine was determined to turn her life around. She did not have the tangible tools or resources to execute this life change, but she finally had the will power to do whatever it takes. Within two months of living in the Houston area, she encountered Christ and gained lasting hope, freedom and grace. “God has come into my life and is leading me down the right path,” said Catherine. She was disconnected from her immediate family, but she held to the promises of Jesus – a friend who will never leave.
Catherine soon found work at The Learning Experience where she discovered purpose and fulfillment while caring for infants. She credits her job for propelling her forward into her healing journey. After experiencing the unconditional love of God through her church, it was a blessing to spend time with babies who show love in a similar way. She was able to bond with families at the daycare and left work each day feeling connected and inspired.
From here, Catherine pursued professional counseling. She was new to Christianity and wanted to be guided by someone with faith-based principles. Her sister suggested STCH Ministries Family Counseling. Their team officed within a local church, and Catherine jumped at the opportunity to engage in counseling that was distinctly Christian. At this point, Catherine had been sober for more than six months. Her sessions began in early 2019, and she was expectant for personal growth. She needed her journey to deliver strategies for compassion and kindness toward herself while clearing the path for restoration in her relationships with family.
Catherine was relieved to learn that STCH Ministries Family Counseling does not assess the client’s ability to pay during the intake process. Each location within this ministry accepts and appreciates donations toward the program, but ongoing fees are not collected after each session. This policy allowed Catherine to breathe a sigh of relief and solely focus on healing without the burden of excessive financial strain.
She quickly learned that her counselor was able to create the right environment for tremendous breakthroughs each time they met. Instead of breezing past the heartache with empty positivity that is often prevalent in mainstream self-help movements, they sat in her grief. This allowed Catherine to feel and process all emotions associated with the loss of her family. From here, they focused on biblical accountability, relevant scripture and her identity in Christ. She felt hopeful again, living a life that looked radically different than before. “I am in a better place now than I have ever been,” Catherine explained. She was in a new city, living a new life and finally seeing herself in a new light. There was hope.
A big takeaway from her counseling sessions was a confidence to have difficult but restorative conversations about her past. She learned practical strategies for apologizing as she worked toward mending the relational wounds within her family. The STCH Ministries counselor gently reminded Catherine that her family wouldn’t become whole overnight, but in each interaction, she was putting in the work for tangible progress to occur. Catherine is proud to say, “I am not the same person I was two years ago. I am a totally different person, and I am happy!”
Catherine spent time working at Academy Distribution Center, enjoying her responsibilities and feeling equipped for each day. Her emotional skillsets, rooted in techniques from counseling, trickled into all aspects of life – including professionally. She was prepared to reach big goals, but when COVID-19 took aim at the U.S. economy, Catherine was laid off from her job. While this was understandably difficult, she referenced strategies from counseling to combat the anxiety and once again held to the promises of Jesus.
Time often brings the necessary space to process tough situations, but healing transpires when people make the choice to seek reliable help. “STCH Ministries counseling saved my life,” Catherine notes. “They helped me heal.” Catherine recognizes that a controlled environment in Houston is integral to her success as she continues to process her past, live in the present and plan for the future. With this in mind, she realizes she cannot move back to Dallas yet. Even from afar, her family sees the positive strides each day, and she is thankful to be on the right track. It brings joy to know that her children grasp the extent of her healing and cheer for continual progress.
Through counseling with STCH Ministries, Catherine learned that Jesus cares about her emotional, physical and spiritual wounds, and He is where healing happens. She is thankful to have a caring support system for when life’s burdens are heavy. “I want to share my story and help change lives,” she says expectantly. Catherine is eager to tell others about God’s grace and the effects of counseling on her life. While she found freedom from addiction before engaging with STCH Ministries, she credits her counseling experience for accelerating her personal development and guiding her family toward healing. With hope for the future and faith in God, Catherine now has the confidence to claim autonomy of her life and love herself again.