By Deborah Minneman
Then, we were involved in a car accident. Both of us had been clean and sober for that year and a half. David…was hurt real bad…then he ended up in ICU with internal bleeding. A pain doctor was called in to see him and sent him home with a prescription of pills – 80 pills of methadone. David wouldn’t let me dispense them, as a matter of fact, I didn’t even know he had them at the time. At that point we had been married two and a half weeks.
I woke up one morning and David was dead lying next to me. He had overdosed and died the night before on the 60 of 80 pills that he took in a weeks period. I had his funeral on the day we were to go on our honeymoon. Gripped with fear and terror; I was numb realizing that I had been left alone again.
My next marriage cost me – my house, $170,000, everything I owned, my family, and my dignity. I had been addicted and married to crystal meth. That was in 2005 when I lost all the freedom I knew. Meth Kept me in complete bondage. I would do anything for that next hit. I was on a merry-go-round in Hell – and I couldn’t get off. Right after I turned 50 I was charged with a felony. Possession of meth. That was my wake up call! I was broken, down, beat up, and looked like death.
Then God led me to detox in Smyrna on April 7th, 2012. The night before Easter. When I walked in there, I had just thrown all of my drugs and paraphernalia out the car window on the way there. I slapped $600.00 on the reception counter. It was money received from drug dealing pills.
I said to the lady, “I need detox right now!! She told me there was no bed available, and told me to come back in the morning. I said I won’t make it back and begged her. So the assessment counselor took me in a room with a loveseat and told me to take a nap, she’d be back. Easter morning I woke up in that room. Feeling terrible, I wondered out to find the reception desk. I was hung over and sick from being up for so many days.
The lobby was filled with people, all dressed up to visit their family members for Easter. The assessment counselor was shocked when she saw me – and said she had forgot I was in there. But they had a bed just become available. From that day on, everything has been falling into place. I became willing to do whatever I had to do to break this cycle and fill the void in my life.
After ten days in detox, I was accepted right into the SA Program at Mary Hall Freedom House. I was at Mary Hall for two weeks. Then Sonflower Ministry which partners with Freedom House asked the leaders to send twenty four of their worse women to the May retreat. And I was selected!
When I arrived at the retreat, I felt an amazing sense of peace. I could finally breath, but I wouldn’t understand why until later. I can tell you the exact time of my salvation. I’ll never forget the moment I made eye contact with Mama Lucy, and accepted an invitation of salvation. Overnight, God had manifested in my heart and I knew I was born again.
I walked out of the chalet one Sunday morning at 4:30 am. I sat on the stairs overlooking the lake and gazed at the full moon. It was so bright – like it was daytime. I could have worn my sunglasses, but in reality it was still dark out. Becoming a new Messianic Jew Christian was my first finishing well experience of my life.
During my stay in treatment at Mary Hall, I was physically ill for the first six months while there. I developed hundreds of bumps on my legs, starting two days after I arrived at the treatment center. It turned out the meth had triggered an auto-immune disease known as Psoriatic Arthritis. I had the biggest most horrible blisters on my toes from wearing shoes that didn’t fit. You see, I had to walk a couple of miles every day, from my apartment on the property, to the treatment facility.
My knees were so full of fluid from the arthritis, I decided to take the bus and train to the hospital. They drained 40cc’s of fluid off my knees the first time out of many times I would wind up going. I went to the ER four times in two months, as well as numerous doctor visits. But I was determined – and without a doubt willing to complete the treatment. No matter what!
The void I had for so many years had finally been filled. It was filled with the Blessed Hope – the Lord Jesus Christ. When I thought I was too far gone the Lord wrapped His comforting arms around me. Some days He lead me and some days he carried me when I was walking with all my pain. I made it through by thinking I was in the wilderness and Jesus was leading me out. And he did! With God’s help and many prayers I made it through!
In 2014, God spoke to me while I was at the treatment centers transitional supportive housing program, and He clearly said to go to college and get your degree, so you can help others – and that is what I did! I became a full-time student at 52 years old during my stay at supportive housing. During my fourth year and two classes away from graduating, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was determined to complete school, so I took two months off for surgery and treatment, then back to school I went! I have been healed and delivered from breast cancer after three years of treatment in December, 2019.
I am now free from my past. I am completely free, because who the Lord set’s free is free indeed! I’ve come from walking the streets of addiction to walking to receive my degree, Summa cum Laude, in May, 2019. I am now in a master’s of science program for substance abuse counseling and I will be sitting for my state certification exam on February 8th, 2020.
And God’s Word says in Galatians 6:9 (RSV) “And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
Update: Debra received her state certification and is now working as a substance abuse counselor.
Bio: Debra Minneman currently lives in Cave Spring, Georgia and is a 2018 Summa cum laude graduate from Shorter University, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services and Criminal Justice. Debra is a person in long term recovery from a life of drug use and homelessness since April 7, 2012. At that point, she made a decision to dedicate her life to helping others live a productive life of recovery.
Helping people is Ms. Minneman’s passion, and is using her past lived experience, and current education to inspire hope, love and healing to others who find themselves hopeless. Her vision is to complete the graduate program she attends at Grand Canyon University with a concentration in substance abuse counseling and focus on her new orgnization entitled SAS – Sober Assisted Services.