The Second Chance: My Life as a Child of Addiction
A not-uncommon statement from a person in addiction is, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” Denice Delgado would beg to differ. She grew up in a home filled with domestic violence and drug abuse, and that set her life (and the lives of her siblings) on a dark, self-destructive path, resulting in her struggle with an addiction of her own.
So how did she break the cycle? Take a look at The Second Chance to find out.
Read the transcript of the video here:
Denice Delgado: Both my parents, they were addicts. They would sell our food stamps for dope. I can remember a lot of times, not ever even eating. Then a lot of domestic violence back and forth. My mom stabbed my dad, my dad beat my mom. What happens in the home stays in the home and nobody’s supposed to know. My mom made it very clear that if somebody was to come, they would take us away.
My parents were dealers in the neighborhood. And so to get a break, me and my sister and my brother would go to a local church. Literally, we prayed for CPS to come. We prayed just to die and not be here anymore. Even at that young age, I can remember us talking about it. The pastor was bringing us home from church one night and the ambulance was at my house and my mom’s stomach was being pumped in the back of the ambulance. She tried to commit suicide that night, and the pastor dropped us off and drove away. We were just standing there and we could see everything going on with my mom, and we were just scared, we were kids.
That comes to play when we come to The Salvation Army because they were talking about how loving and wonderful God was, and I’m like, where was this loving God when we cried out for you and you never came? My parents would take us to The Salvation Army for meals. Literally the first time, like sitting around the table together as a family, having a meal was there. The lady from The Salvation Army, her name was Cindy. She started inviting them to, like, Bible study. And I can remember specifically her standing there telling them, “You only got to try it once.” “If you don’t like it, don’t come back.”
In the Salvation Army, church members are referred to as soldiers.
December 5, 1995, the whole family was enrolled as Salvation Army soldiers. They were clean about almost a year before that. There was no more domestic violence after that. There was no more abuse after that. It really stopped. It was just like overnight, now this is not OK? Something that once always was? And so it was around that time where I started going through my junk. I drank and drove a lot, and it’s only by the grace of God, I never hurt anybody. I graduated from high school. I would go drunk into work. I would do night shifts and people would come over and party in the back. But as long as I didn’t do dope, as long as I just stuck with alcohol because it was legal, then I was OK. And I justified my addiction.
It was 10 years of my life and it was literally, I was coming to the end. I can remember when I was in my dad’s room and I was begging him, crying, to go and get me alcohol. I was getting the shakes and it was making me start to feel sick, and just seeing the disappointment that was in his face. I’ll never forget it. That was October 17, 2007. I begged God to take it away because there’s no way I could have. Honest to God, there’s no way. And really, after that, I didn’t touch anything since. The shakes, the sickness, none of that was there anymore. It was gone.
My sister went through addiction. I went through addiction, and my brother went through it as well, whether he knows it or not or wants to believe it. But, I truly forgave my parents. I don’t have any bitterness towards them now, as I did. People are flawed, and no matter whether they call themselves a Christian or not, they will still let you down. But God has fully equipped me for where I’m at right now.
I have the wonderful pleasure of being the Anchorage Social Services Director, so I get to help run substance abuse treatment centers, not only residential and outpatient, but also in the prisons as well. It’s amazing, because then I can share my testimony as a kid of addiction and having gone through addiction myself, there’s always a second chance. There’s always hope for tomorrow. We’re not defined by our past, and our choices. God always provides a way out for us. He’s the component; he’s the peace that makes it all bind together. He’s the one who keeps me sober. He’s the one who sustains me. He’s the one who when I can’t, he does.
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