We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony.
— Revelation 12:11
 

Hi, My name is Shenika......

Clean Date: Feb 4, 2011 Recovering From: Crack Cocaine

Shenika Arredondo, Dawson State Jail, 1999

Shenika Arredondo, Dawson State Jail, 1999

 
 
Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together.
— My Life Scripture: Psalm 34:3

The Early Years

I was raised in an emotionally abusive home
I was raised with my grandparents, I didn’t know much about my parents however I would get to visit during the summers with my mother as a kid, but it wasn’t until I was 18 that I really got to know who she was. I was 15 when I got to meet my father and later when I was 24 and pregnant with my 3rd child. We tried to start a relationship the addiction just would not let me be honest and they lost trust and faith in me.


My grandfather was strict and very outspoken. I don’t by any means want to insult my grandparents they gave me what they had and loved me as they knew how.  I remember not ever being able to talk to my grandfather because he made me feel so small, so, I eventually began to withdraw from the family, and all my anger, and hurt went inward since I felt that I could not express myself outwardly.

I was about 15 yrs old when I started doing drugs, smoking weed and drinking alcohol with my so-called friends. By the time I reached high school I was lonely and just sort of the outcast I thought. I felt that I didn’t fit in with the other kids but Sometime later in life God revealed to me that I am not of this world, and I realized I did not fit in because I was chosen before the foundation of the world and I was like a square trying to fit into a circle of friends that could not accept me because of the greatness that was in me.

by 9th grade had I had already began to experience with different types of drugs, pills, and hallucinogenic drugs.

There was a girl named Dendra (not her real name) she came to our school (Brownwood Sr High) from California, and she and I started hanging out and drinking Bacardi rum in the bathroom sniffing locker room and skipping class to smoke weed, sometimes showing up late for classes. I don’t remember too much of school from the time I started doing drugs till I quit going altogether. I remember Dendra because she made me feel accepted and seemed to be a true friend. ( I found out a couple years ago that Dendra’s mom is now my friend) Gods ways are higher than our ways.

I got pregnant when I was 15 and had my daughter before I turned 16. I can remember my grandfather not wanting to speak to me and he didn’t the entire pregnancy.

I don’t remember being at school much. After my daughter was born. It was my 11th-grade year. I remember the first day of school that year, and the rest was a blur. The next thing I remember my grandmother was waking me up one morning for school and I told her I was not going anymore. I can’t even imagine the look on her face or the pain in her heart. She never said another word, just left my room and shut my door. I don’t remember her ever saying anything to me about that morning or quitting school. She probably saw it coming.

I got into heavier drug use and began snorting cocaine when I was 17 and by the time I was 18 was smoking crack, popping pills, taking acid, shooting morphine, doing and trying just about any drug that I could get my hands on.  It got to the point that I could not start my day without a drug.

Doing drugs, partying sleeping around, clubbing, was the norm for me. It became a way of life. My Grandmother and my sister ended up raising my daughter till she was 3 when my grandfather and his new wife took her.

There were days, weeks at a time that I wouldn’t come home and when I did it was only to sleep. The next day or two I’d be gone again....

Even if my father and mother abandon me, The LORD will hold me close.
— Psalm 27:10 Life Recovery Bible
 

It was during this time that my grandmother left. I guess she just got fed up with my mess and decided the best thing for her was to leave. I came home one day after one of my binges and she was gone. Move out and my sister was sitting in an empty house with nowhere to go and she had a one yr. old son. We had until the end of the month to get out. I quickly introverted hid my feeling of fear and shame and anger and turned toward the streets and drugs the thing that always made me feel secure, I didn’t have to think or worry or care. The last day in the house I came back, and my 15 yr. old sister her 1-year-old baby boy and I were sitting on the steps of a church in the flats that night with nowhere to go. We stayed there all night and I remember it was cold.

My grandfather lived a couple of streets over and I remember hearing on the street a couple days later that he didn’t want to take care of a couple of grown folks.   Not sure what he meant by that especially when my sister was only 15. I can see why he didn’t want me because my life was so openly exposed I love my daddy which is what I called him no matter what or how bad he made me feel. I know that he loved me too, but was not happy with the way I was living my life.

I am reminded of the scripture in Psalms 27:10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, The LORD will hold me close. (New Living Translations)  I believe that is just what He did.

By the time I was 20 I had already been arrested more times than I can count. The theft had become my means of provision. I would steal and sell the merchandise on the street for money or drugs to support my habit.

Just like most kids, I had dreams of becoming somebody, but I left those dreams in Brownwood and headed to Dallas with no ambition, no education not goals, and no motivation wanting nothing except to get high.


 

 
 
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Shenika Before/After

Jesus changed my life....FOREVER!

 
After I was shot, I left my 3rd child with my sisters when he was still a baby..... not even a year old.
 

In Late 1994 I was shot in a drive-by, I left the scene before cops got there for fear of going to jail.

After I was shot, I left my 3rd child with my sisters when he was still a baby not even a year old.  I just left after the shooting and never came back. Soon they gave up on my return and gave him to a childhood friend of ours. I don’t blame them, they had no idea where I was or if I would return, and they had families of their own.

By the time I was 25 yrs. Old I had abandoned 3 children and was now drug-addicted and homeless, living on the streets of Dallas, sleeping behind dumpsters on cardboard boxes, in open fields and in an abandoned building filled with the smell of urine and human feces.

1995 I saw myself being arrested like a vision, and a few moments later I was.

During this time of being in jail, I realized there was no way out, I called on Jesus.  I remember reading a booklet by Kenneth Copeland “The Covenant”. And after I finished reading it I did the salvation prayer at the end (I was a trustee so I had some extra crackers and juice,) so while everyone was asleep, I asked God to come into my life and I received Jesus as my savior and I took communion just as it mentioned in the book, my heart was sincere and God had a plan of Salvation for me. It took the extreme, but he did what he had to do. When I woke up the next morning, I could hear angels singing the most beautiful song, I can’t remember the words now, but I sang that song all day. I was free on the inside. “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed, only I didn’t know it. I had no idea how to live free; my mind was still in bondage.  While in jail, I felt the peace of God but did not know how to live free on the outside of the walls. Inside was easy, there were no drugs, no crime.

Soon I was released on probation. I had no other place to go but back to the streets. There I returned and to the same old habits. I don’t think I had any intention at that time to stop using but while I was in jail I was desperate and God used that time of desperation to draw me to him that I might receive salvation.

By the time I was 20 I had already been arrested more times than I can count. The theft had become my means of provision. I would steal and sell the merchandise on the street for money or drugs to support my habit.


I began to notice that things didn’t seem the same anymore, it was harder for me to do the things I had always done, it just didn’t seem right anymore, it was like I had a knowing that what I was doing was wrong, I remember feeling scared and confused. This was different for me, I didn’t understand what was happening.  But now I know that because the Holy Spirit came to live in my heart I was forever changed it may all seem the same, but I was in the process of becoming a new person.

1996 I was beaten over the head with the butt of a gun and robbed by a gang of 3 youngsters. This was traumatizing to me and cause great paranoia. I no longer felt comfortable with people.

1997 I was arrested  (I remember God specifically during this period of my life, He was definitely with me )I guess you can say I was rescued I was a whopping 95 pounds at the age of 27 locked up on probation violation I got 2 yrs state jail time and served every bit of it. I remember shortly before the arrest, some acquaintances of mine told me Shenika you need to be around normal people. (I could not understand that because the life I lived was normal it was all I knew. I thought about what she said but just could not get it. Even then God began to work in my heart) so during this incarceration is when the change began.  It was at this time I began to learn about God and myself. For so long I had hidden behind drugs I didn’t know who I was or what I liked, I didn’t know how to show certain emotions maturely.  God showed me that even though I was 27 years old, that I had the emotions of a 16 yr. old that is when I started to do drugs so heavily and I forget about life. I began to learn what I liked and didn’t, what my favorite color was, and that I was smart and that I could feel and I felt alive, more so than I had in years. God introduced me to the 12steps He began to lead me through the steps before I had even gone to my very first meeting.   Admitting, giving over my will to him, and allowing change, making amends.  And when I went to my very first AA/NA meeting and I heard the 12 steps being cited in the class, I thought to myself I just did these things. What a mighty God we serve. Awesome in Power God also had to teach me new language skills because the way I talked was not fitting for what He had planned for me.  Have you ever heard the term, he/she curses like a sailor, well that was me, so God taught me new words to use and remember walking around all day saying oh God forgive me, when I slipped up, it was not an easy task, but God is merciful, patient and He saw the job through.  And he will for you too, so just because you make a mistake does not mean that you give up, just get up and stay the course. What He began He will complete.

I was released from Dawson State Jail in Nov 1999- and returned to my old boyfriend this was a big mistake because he was still using and the environment I went home to was drug infested.  I never saw it coming; I didn’t realize that eventually, I would return to drugs and again back to the streets.

In 2000, I found myself on the streets with nowhere to go living from pillar to post sleeping in abandoned cars and anywhere I could sleep when I sleep. I would often go for days without food and sleep only because I was too busy chasing the high.  This was a bad time for girls on the streets. I remember one morning early just as the sun was coming up I was leaving a girl that I knew, I guess you could call her my friend, we had done time together in Dawson State Jail. We hung out one night and went our separate ways that morning. A few days later the word on the street was she was found dead in a ditch with her throat cut.  She asked me to go with her that morning that we parted. If I had gone with her, she might have lived or I might have died.  I remember her telling me one day while we were in jail together, she said, “If I go back out there, I won’t make it back” as if she was telling me she would not get another chance.

A few weeks later, I found myself in South Dallas, Christmas and new yrs just around the corner I was on the street with no family or friends. After a few days, I ran into another girl that I was locked up with Ill call her Kim. She was my best buddy in Dawson I believe God tied our hearts together at one time.  One day as she was standing by my bunk and we were fellowshipping I felt a tingling sensation in my chest area close to my heart and she looked at me and said,” Did you feel that “God had knitted our hearts we became close while we were there in Dawson, and when I met her on the streets of south Dallas it was as if we were still sisters. She took me to a place where I could stay and soon she left. She returned sometime a few months later in haste and scared. Someone was trying to kill her she had gotten involved in something that was bad. I begged her not to leave the house to stay with me for fear of her life, but she was the strong type and very independent. I remember getting on my knees after she walked out of the door and crying out to God praying in tongues to protect her and keep her safe. As faithful and merciful as He is, He did, and a few days later she returned unharmed.  God may have allowed me to meet up with her for that very reason to pray for her in her time of need, and for her to provide me with shelter.  I praise God for His faithfulness to all His children. God is always at work in our lives and there is a reason for everything and God is in control of it all.  To Him be the Glory and Honor always!

In 2001, I was met on the dark street by two gunmen one of which tried to lure me to the car at gunpoint but I believe that God intervened and sent angels that kept me from being forced into the vehicle. I might not be here to today had I of gotten into that car Two ladies that I had never seen before in that neighborhood came out of nowhere one was tall the other was short.

A few months later I was raped and sodomized at gunpoint and tossed out of the car half naked and terrified.

In  April 2001, I was arrested again on drug manufacturing charges due to a drug raid on a heroin house that I was living in, but the charges against me were dropped even after I heard that the guy whose drugs they were sold me out and told the cops they were mine but I was charged with delivery of controlled substance, and I was sentenced to 6yr in prison I was released Oct of 2002 I served a year and a half and was released on Parole

I paroled to my sister until she made it very clear that I was no longer welcomed so I hit the street I went back to the familiar, my old way of survival which was all I knew.

2003 On the streets again

I was homeless once more. And later that year in 2003, I was arrested again for delivery of controlled substance and sentenced to 2years which I served 11 or 18 months. I had met a man during the time I was out he cared for me and helped me and now that I was locked up he came to visit me.

God would send people to minister to me and tell me the relationship I was in with Ed was not of God, but I was in denial although I knew in my heart it was true. He was taking care of me, how I could let that go. It was hard, even though I did trust Got to care for me. Because He had done it before but I had been locked up when I had nothing, no money, no one to visit and I had to do hair or laundry to make commissary and having Ed was a relief from the hurt of having nothing and nobody.

I remember praying for parole and receiving confirmation that I was going getting out, and when I finally got to see the parole board, they denied me, but I stood up in my cell and  said “NO!, this is not my answer” and a few days later, I was called back to the board and was told I was given the wrong answer and was released, How good is God?

2005, I was released to a halfway house, ‘The Wayback House’ this is where I met Daniel. Who is now my husband.  We both got out of the halfway house and rented an apartment and did well for a couple years and in 2007 we bought our first home.  Daniel came to me one night on our way home from a visit to his parent’s house here in Brownwood, TX. (I remember this night all too well) he asked me if we could treat ourselves for all the hard work we had done. He wanted to get some drugs.  I remember refusing of course with the sternness of voice but quickly yielded, allowing the enemy to trick me by putting thoughts in my head thinking that if I did not, someone else would. That was a defining moment and a drastic change in our lives. I now realize that NO compromise is worth losing what God has given you. I knew in my heart not to turn back, but because of the fear and deception that told me, I would lose my husband I compromised.

Daniel and I spiraled down from there within a year we had lost our jobs one of our vehicles and eventually our home. We had used all the money in our savings and bank account and our relationship was nearly torn apart.

In 2008, After an attempt to get back on our feet. We got involved with a couple of guys who lead us into counterfeit money fraud. I was arrested and sentenced to two years. I did a hard time this time, I felt every pain there was to feel from losing everything God so graciously gave me.  I had always felt the pain of incarceration before, but nothing like this time. Before, I had nothing and basically wanted to get back to doing drugs, but this time I had lost something, and it hurt.

In 2009, A day after my birthday, I ended up being paroled to a halfway house. I had not heard from Daniel since the beginning part of my arrest. I returned to the halfway house that Daniel and I had met in just a few years ago, how humiliating to return. Everyone thought we would do well and I had made promises not to return.  After a few months there I began to pray and ask God to move me, I was not comfortable there, I could not concentrate on my bible studies, I was getting involved with another man and I felt myself slipping. God in His infinite grace and Mercy sent Pastor Sie Davis (pastor of Church of the Called Out Ones in Dallas TX ) I had seen him once at Overcomers before my incarceration at New Beginnings church in Irving Pastor Cynthia Harris Corder had invited him, at that time he only had a men’s home, now he was here recruiting for his women’s home he had just opened up. I quickly signed up and within a week or two I was there.

Pastor Sie saw something in me that inspired me to be more; He believed in me, he was the first person to make me feel as if I had no past.  I was fully trusted by him with no questions.  This was something new to me, and I like it.

I eventually found out where Daniel was by contacting his parole officer if anybody knows it would be him. Daniel was in ISF on a parole violation and was expected to get out in Dec 2009. When I contacted Daniel and we made amends, and when he was released he returned to the same halfway house but eventually came to Pastor Sie’s men’s home.

Daniel was arrested again and sent to ISF for DWI.  All the while God was working behind the scenes and through a series of circumstances; I ended up moving to Brownwood. His Family took me in and treated me just like family helped me in every way.  A native of Brownwood, I of course new everybody that was still in town that is. And started using again,  I even met a few new folks that almost got me sent back to prison....

During this time of being in jail, I realized there was no way out, I called on Jesus. 
Shenika 2018, I am an Overcomer in Christ!

Shenika 2018, I am an Overcomer in Christ!

On February 4th, 2011, The last draw for me, I fell on my face before the Lord of Heaven and Earth and cried out to God here is my life, if you can do anything with it, it is yours.  I was finally tired of going back and forth in and out, getting involved with the wrong crowds. I wanted to do right but could not stay on course. God showed up and showed out. I remember flushing my drugs and paraphernalia down the toilet and making a decision that that day was the last day, it was like a complete turnaround for me. I believe God saw that in my heart and by the grace of God and the strength he had given me I have been clean ever since.

March 21st, 2011 was the date that I believe was given to me by God as the date to quit smoking cigarettes. Of course, I told God that if He wanted me to quit, he would have to take the desire away from me.  Come March 21st that morning before I got out of bed, I was totally committed to obeying Christ and the instructions he gave.  That morning with my coffee I had no cigarette it was strange and it hurt to think that I would never be able to smoke again but He had a plan for my life that did not involve smoking cigarettes and I loved the Lord more.

Here I am today, an Overcomers in Christ Jesus.

I first started to go to Celebrate Recovery with Daniel just to support him, but quickly realized that I needed the life-changing message and the healing that God had to offer. I got involved in small groups and step studies, and just began to open up in a way that I never could before. This really helped to change my perception of my marriage and my life. Going to meeting with our loved ones is not only supportive but could just be the prescription you need as well.

My Past no longer has control over my future, I can truly identify with the song, my chains are gone, and I’ve been set free.  I am truly grateful to be here today. I have been given this awesome, awesome opportunity to share my life and how God has intervened and made me a new person. I am forever grateful for His mercy.

I now have a great job, where I get to help others and get paid to do it., and I give God all the praise.  I remember when I was job searching it was hard, with my background and it seemed like all the odds were against me, But I keep going putting in applications everywhere. I would get up in the morning and get dressed as if I was going to work and trust God to provide.  The job I have now, I’ve been there going on 7 years.

I Graduated College with an Associates in Software Business and Accounting in 2012. God has given me the opportunity to minister to others that are in prison and to the youth. I share with them my lifestyle and imprisonment and how God saved me, so that they may have hope.

I am now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work..... ya’ll pray for me!!

I have met some truly wonderful people at the church where I am a member. They believe in me and who have made a tremendous impact on my life and my walk with God.

Keep Believing.     Thank you for letting me share

Shenika

RecoveryChicks in Prison! Pastor Cynthia and Shenika serving side-by-side with Mike Barber Prison Ministries, 2015

RecoveryChicks in Prison! Pastor Cynthia and Shenika serving side-by-side with Mike Barber Prison Ministries, 2015

 

Years of Meth Nearly Destroyed My Life

Years of Meth Nearly Destroyed My Life

Brittany Lopez Meth Addiction

Look what God can do!!! Thank you Lord for creating in me a whole new lady from the inside out!!! What He did for me He is waiting to do for YOU. My story isn’t over yet; either is YOURS!

Favorite Life Story Scripture:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 
~2 Corinthians 5:27

Brittany helped launch a Celebrate Recovery at Elevate Church in Houston, TX, 2016.

Brittany helped launch a Celebrate Recovery at Elevate Church in Houston, TX, 2016.

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Tracy Carter, Meth Addiction,

Clean Date: May 13, 2013

Tracy is a new creation in Christ! He has truly worked all things together for her good.

Tracy is a new creation in Christ! He has truly worked all things together for her good.

Tracy in 2013 Before Jesus. Still smiling but dying inside. Lost in a 23 year addiction.

Tracy in 2013 Before Jesus. Still smiling but dying inside. Lost in a 23 year addiction.

Hi, I'm Tracy and I am a woman in long term recovery...
I've been standing on this scripture since 6-20-13. It was when I arrived at the faith based dorm at Harris County Jail. I opened my locker and a picture fell out..... It said " I will get you through this when you least expect it" Romans 8:28. At the time I didn't know what the scripture actually said but I took it as a sign that I was gonna get out. This was Thursday. On Monday an inmate said come here I want to show you something. It was The purpose driven life book turned to chapter 25. Which is all about understanding Romans 8:28. My court date was the next day June 25. 30 years prison is what the D.A. offered. And wasn't coming off of it. During the next several weeks as I worked for Cynthia Harris Corder as her chaplain helper, my faith grew and I was ready to accept my fate. My court date came and my attorney said the DA came down to 10 years in prison, but if you sign today, I can get you eight years. Where's the pen? Right ? The next day Cynthia called me in her office. I was devastated, eight years is a long time. She said, " Do you know what yesterday was?? " I hadn't paid attention. " Yesterday was 8:28 " and suddenly I realized that the picture was just as it said and I knew then that I was gonna be okay. He is still getting me through when I least expect it. I battled addiction to opiates for 23 years and to meth for 11 years. Jesus transformed me from the inside out. God Bless each and everyone.

Favorite Life Story Scripture: Romans 8:28

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

Follow fellow RecoveryChick Tracy Reid Carter on social media to enjoy her inspirational videos.

 

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