By Chris Eyte (Good News)

Set free from years of self-hatred

How a young woman’s tragic life of addiction was saved, healed, and restored

Steff today
Steff today - healed and happy.

Steff used to hate God. She hated her life to the point of wanting to kill herself.

Today Steff smiles, completely transformed and free from the cycle of drugs alcohol, and sexual abuse she was trapped in. But she endured years of self-hatred, depression, and suffering before she discovered joy.

The 27-year-old says she "hated anything to do with God or religion" growing up.

"I made a decision when I was 11," Steff says.

"I didn't think God could be real because of all the evil things that happen in life.

"At that age, I had moved 11 times and I had depression. I had been bullied since I was very young and loathed the way I looked. I saw an ugly pig when I looked in the mirror and I started self-harming, and I made my first attempt to commit suicide.

"I hated life and if God was real, I hated Him too."

Steff grew up with her stepdad, whom she says was a bad role model, and was sexually abused at nine years old by a female, which left her confused about her sexuality.

She started using drugs and alcohol at the age of twelve to dull her inner pain.

"I just wanted to be off my face," she says. "I had no self-respect or value for my body. I met a lot of cruel men and lived a life no 12-year-old should live. I experienced a lot of evil things. I exchanged my body for drugs and alcohol."

Steff ended up in a children's home but ran away most nights to parties and clubs. She roamed streets and parks alone to find men until authorities moved her to a secure unit because, she says, she was a danger to herself.

“My mind
was so
sick ...
and I just
wanted to
be dead”
"It was a miracle that I wasn't abducted and murdered," she says. "Addiction put me in a lot of bad, dangerous situations. I struggled with a lot of fear and anxiety and different disorders throughout my life."

At 18, Steff had a baby boy. But she says her addictions, paired with postnatal depression, affected the care she was able to give.

"I was an awful mum. And then, when I turned 19, that was the worst year of my life – a year of destruction. After years of sexual assault and rape, I allowed men to treat me like trash because I felt worthless and disgusting."

Steff ended up in hospital several times. In one incident she was thrown out of a moving car after two men used her, abused her, and robbed her. Then she had a mental breakdown.

"I felt so dirty and unlovable," she says. "I was hated by so many people for the things I did when I was intoxicated. I was called many names but the main one was 'slag'. That became my identity. My mind was so sick, it was in so much torment, and I just wanted to be dead."

Steff at 12
Steff at 12 years old - ‘I lived a life no 12-year-old should live.’

Eventually, Steff found her way to a rehabilitation centre, where she met a former prostitute who had given her life to Jesus Christ.

"She was the most happy, lovely, and joyful person, and I realised God must be real because she had been changed into a new person and I wanted what she had. So I asked Jesus into my heart.

"It was the best decision of my life," Steff says. "I am a new person now. God has completely changed me, He has set me free from so much."

Steff doesn't claim to be perfect, but she knows she is no longer the depressed, anxious, and stuck young woman she was. She is now a trainee on a Christian discipleship program run by Youth With A Mission.

And she knows that, in the same way He changed her, God can change anyone.

"Do you want to be free from addiction?" she questions. "Do you want to be free from your guilt and your shame? Have you had enough pain and hurt? If you ask Jesus into your heart, He will transform you. He will heal you!

"You are not reading this by accident. You are reading this because God is giving you the opportunity to know Him. If you ask for forgiveness, God will forgive you for any sin you have committed and He will wash you clean. The Bible says: 'Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!' (2 Corinthians 5:17)."?

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