Cocaine was nothing more to Trisha Henderson than an experiment, a way to at last be accepted among her peers.
At first. Then it turned into an uncontrollable prison of an addiction that had her smoking crack six days a week and left her immune, it seemed, to all types of rehab programs.
Trisha grew up with her single, alcoholic mother in Binghampton, Memphis, with no money and a herd of bullies.
"Growing up, I was teased a lot because my mom was single, and we didn't have much," she says.
"She was an alcoholic, and wouldn't work, so we suffered."
Prostitution quickly arose as an easy way to make money, and Trisha started at 18— a few years before she started on crack cocaine, because "[the other girls and I] were all outcasts, and I wanted to fit in with them."
"I started doing crack out of curiosity," Trisha says.
"It wasn't long, though, before I realized I couldn't stop using it."
She entered six different rehab programs— none of them worked. She explains it was because she didn't go for the right reasons but because she had to.
However, over time she became more and more miserable and increasingly desperate to be free from her addiction.
"I smoked crack six days a week for four years," she says. "It was so horrible."
She did enter a period of sobriety where she stayed clean and resisted her body's urges to return to her drug, but it did not last. She soon began to drift back into her old way of life and her addiction came back with a vengeance.
Then one day Trisha met two people on the streets who told her they had come to Binghampton to share God's love with people and to help those in need.
"We started a Bible study at my apartment," Trisha recalls. Later they met in the local library so as not to upset Trisha's housemate, who did not like the idea of a Bible study being held in his home.
As she spoke to her new friends and read the Bible, Trisha began to realize she was "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that Jesus had died for her sins so she could enter into relationship with God and become free from the things that were negatively impacting her life.
"I knew God wouldn't let me stay [in my addiction]," she says.
She resumed her search for programs that could help her recover. She admits the decision to get better was not easy as she knew the sacrifices she would have to make.
"Part of me wanted to stay where I was, because that was my comfort zone," she says.
"But I knew I was going to die if I kept living the way I had been."
Any remaining doubt was eradicated as Trisha stepped into Moriah House, where she decided to enter treatment.
"I just knew I was delivered when I stepped in there," she says.
"I was like, 'Wow, thank you, Jesus. Thank you for delivering me'."
Over her time in the program Trisha's life made a 180-degree turn. "I've learned that [Jesus] is the deliverer, and He is a restorer of relationships," she says.
"It's awesome being here. He's given me my life back."
God has also restored Trisha's relationship with her mother.
Trisha not only graduated from the Moriah House program, she went back to school for her certificate in substance abuse counseling and now helps others who are struggling with addiction.
She is also an active member of her local church and is involved with the church's recovery ministry.
"God has given me my life back," she says again. "[He] has really changed me." •