WHO WE SERVE
My name is Kaci and I have struggled with addiction and with coming to know God my whole life. As a child, my father wasn't around much due to his addiction. When I was 12 years old I was dying to know what was so good about drugs that it would keep you from coming to your kids. It was at that point in which I got high and drank for the first time with my Dad and Stepmother of all people. Instantly I was hooked. Drugs and alcohol distracted me from the pain and sadness. For 14 years out of 29, I used drugs off and on in order to cope and to be "happy". At 16 my Dad died without me ever truly getting to know him which made me jump further into the drug world. I was in abusive relationships from that time on, desperate for the love I never got from my Dad. At 21 the father of my first two children was found dead in the middle of nowhere. Within the year my 14-month-old son died, it was classified a homicide. My other child was taken at the time as well. A year later I had a son who was taken from me at his birth. After all this loss and tragedy life seemed utterly hopeless......until, one night when I wasn't expecting it, God came into my life and changed everything from dark to light. He filled the hole inside of me that I had been trying to fill with drugs but that never seemed to work. This radiated hope within me and gave me strength, however, this newfound spirituality was foreign to me and I had no clue how to water the seed and make it grow. My environment remained the same and I kept using drugs which inevitably led to the loss of my job, my daughter being removed from my home, me going to jail and then losing my home. I had nothing and nowhere to go in my time of need. I felt God inside me still but lacked the structured setting to enable the growth of my faith and my recovery. Making a change from using to recovery and from lost to saved is a process that requires a complete and total transformation from thinking to coping skills to new associations. I believe with the right support in place many women can come to know God the way I know Him now and in turn eventually reach out to other women! Bridge Houses will be the beginning of an eternal beacon of hope and haven where great transformation will occur!
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act." Proverbs 3:27......Galatians 6:10 "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith."
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My name is Brandi M. I am 43 years old, and I’ve been fighting meth for over 25 years.
Lately, I’ve been winning…..
My story is a cliché, so many like it out there like it, that it becomes predictable. I came from a broken home, never knew my father, and had too many abusive stepfathers. I used to say “my mother married often and badly….”.Being the youngest of four, I saw my oldest sister and my only brother fall into drugs as teenagers and I sought a different route. I grew up going to church “religiously” and was very active in all I could do. I was chosen to represent my church every year as a teenager at a Christian Teen Leadership Conference called “Kingdom Seekers”. I was a camp counselor and taught 5th-grade girls Sunday school class. I also graduated top 10% of my class and received several full and partial scholarship offers to universities. All of this I did because I believed I had to hide the fact that I came home every day to severe mental and physical abuse. A week after I graduated high school, my Mom decided to divorce him and she and I move out. Much to my surprise, my Mother was shunned by our church for this and I felt betrayed by them for this and never went back. Consequently, my Mother was ‘shopping’ for a new husband, and I was left to figure things out on my own…..like, who am I? And where do I belong?
So, here I was 18 years old, a virgin, never tried any type of drugs or alcohol, wasn’t sure what my religious views were if any, and free to do whatever I pleased. Needless to say, in less than a year, I was none of those things and having the time of my life. I had reconnected with my older siblings who welcomed me with open arms and into the stage of my life called “enlightenment”. I kept steady jobs and partied on the weekends until it became a daily need. I got so good at hiding my addiction, nobody knew my inner turmoil. I was arrested for drugs in February of 2000 and spent 355 days in the county jail waiting for trial. I signed over custody of my 2-year-old son to his father for fear they would take my parental rights. I did 5 years supervised probation with flying colors and was on unsupervised after a year and a half. That was the last time I got in trouble. I have used meth off and on since then.
I’ve never trusted men, or marriage, or any particular religion, but have slow and steady sought a relationship with God. I have 3 kids, years 9, 11, and 18. My 18-year-old still lives with his father, and I am in jail for past-due child support. My children are the reason I stopped doing drugs and hope to never return to that lifestyle. I took my kids to church but hop around, taking turns picking where I go. I suppose part of me is still that 18-year-old girl, lost and alone, with no one to trust and more than ever, needing a place to belong. I get out of jail in a couple of weeks. I have no home, no job, and no money. My kids are separated, with family on opposite sides of town. Neither place is a sober-living environment. Where will we go? Will I be strong enough to stay sober until I can get back on my feet and give my kids the life they deserve? The life I promised the when I held them in my arms when they were born?
I am learning to trust in the Lord that He will provide all that I need. I have prayed for Him to give me strength and pleaded for a small miracle…..to place people in my life to help me find the place we supposed to be….a place where we belong.
Tina is a 47 year old mother of 3 boys. She grew up in a very strict but loving family who went to church every time the doors were open. But that did not stop her from starting to use drugs at 12 years of age. She did graduate from high school and married the man of her dreams. They had 3 wonderful boys, but by their 13th year of marriage the drugs had taken over their lives. He ended up in prison and in 24 hours her whole world changed. Her husband was incarcerated, her children were taken from her and she lost everything when the landlord kicked her out of their home. And she continued down the horrible road of drugs, which included things she never dreamed that she would do. She eventually decided to clean up her act in order to get her boys back. She worked hard. It took her six years but she did it.
When her oldest son ended up in prison for the second time, and her middle son in jail looking at a prison sentence, she fell off the wagon running......after a short time she ended up in jail herself. As she walked down the run in jail and saw her son in his cell, she knew that she and her children were more than the life they had created for themselves. They had sold themselves short.
She wants to be an example to her children, to show them a better way of life. Her 17-year-old son lives with her mother, goes to school and works to help make ends meet.
She wants to show her boys a better way to live. Tina wants to come into Bridge Houses, to have an opportunity to be a better daughter to her mother, to be a better mother to her boys, to be the better woman that she knows she can be. We want to give her the opportunity to do this, with your help and ours. (update: Tina went to prison because her monthly disability pension was not enough to support her in Drug Court. Please pray for her and her family. We pray that she will reconnect with us when she returns. )
“My name is Tammy Franklin; my title is Executive Director for Branch 15 Transitional Home for women. I am also called wife to Alfred Franklin, mother to Billy and Eddie, there is a certain two year old who has also labeled me with the awesome name of OMA AND I might also add, I have been labeled as Grandma by Kelsey and Jacy Watters and I AM A CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING!
I tell you all of these “labels” because it’s hard to believe that less than 2 years ago I carried on my back a very different list of names. Less than 2 years ago I was known as Inmate number 128965,
I was labeled things like addict and looser and felon. I had been called these things for so long that I had bought into the lie that is who I was and who I always would be. But today I have a very different story.
My story is like many others who are in Oklahoma jails and prisons. I began using drugs at the age of 13, was an intravenous drug user by the age of 15. Methamphetamine was my drug of choice. My addiction started after being raised in a dysfunctional family where alcohol and depression were the norm. I went to the Southside streets of OKC looking for a place to fit in, looking for love and acceptance from anyone who was willing to give it. Unfortunately this was all the wrong people. I was a child lost in a very, very dark world and for the life of me I could not seem to find my way out.
After many years of addiction and 18 years of incarceration I finally reached my bottom. This came at the Oklahoma County Jail, when my daughter in law sent me an envelope full of family pictures. I began to look at these pictures and hang them on the wall in my cell and my world came crashing to a halt when I realized of all these memories of weddings, birthdays and graduations I wasn’t in any of the pictures. Because of my desire to get high, I had missed out on every important event in my sons’ lives and now, headed back to prison with a brand new 20 year sentence, I was doing the same thing to my grandchildren. This was my bottom, my point of surrender.
After meeting myself face to face in the county jail and knowing something had to give, I used the next years of my incarceration to take every class that was offered and to do some serious soul searching. I ended up serving 6 years on that sentence. Because of God’s goodness and people who believed in me, upon my release, I was able to find employment at a company who implemented Biblical standards in their everyday operation. They knew my background and gave me a chance in spite of my past. Since then I have learned time and again how God uses His people to make a difference in the lives of others. It is The Church who showed me Jesus in the flesh. I was able to learn about His love for me because of their love for Him.
Today I serve as Director of Branch 15 Transitional Home for women in OKC. For the absolute first time in my life I know that I am in the perfect will of God, giving back what was given to me. I see the women in our home get to experience the life changing, transforming power of Jesus and I know there is nothing more important. To share the love of Christ with the lost and broken, just like someone did for me, is the most fulfilling place I have ever been.
Summer grew up in a family where drug abuse was the norm. She attended her freshman year in high school as a regular student, but dropped out her junior year and started selling drugs. She thought that money made the world go round and that life was perfect. In 2011 her son was born and she stayed in an abusive relationship in order to have a home for herself and her baby. Selling drugs to pay the bills seemed like a good plan until she ended up in the county jail, now pregnant with her 3rd child and having to reevaluate her reckless lifestyle. She realized that happiness was not something you could buy and that no one in the dope game misses you and the people you hurt the most are the ones that you love. Summer always believed in God but never sought Him out, believing that she could handle things on her own. Then, with her oldest child living with her mother, DHS took her two younger children....and she was lost in the world of addiction. Sad that she could never take her kids to the park or even out to eat, miserable with her life no matter how much money or drugs she had, always wishing she could find a way to heal her broken heart. She is in county jail again, but this time reads her bible every day and now has hope that God has her back. She believes that whether she is released, or goes to prison, that she can live in peace. She says don't waste your life without God like she did, find Him and you can live in peace no matter what you are going through. (update: Summer is going to prison. We pray that she will continue to seek God and allow Him to bring healing to her and her family and that she will reconnect with us when she returns)