Tina learns a better way
by Marlene Gerber –
The Salvation Army is about changing lives. Tina Bettencourt of San Diego is a living testament to that.
Tina is a mother, grandmother and a great-grandmother who works at the Adult Rehabilitation Center. So, why did the San Diego police dub her a “walking miracle?”
Tina spent two years living on the streets, a seemingly hopeless alcoholic. She set some kind of record in 1981–the police picked her up more times in one month for public intoxication than any other person. When she finally checked into the ARC, the police sent her flowers and heartfelt congratulations.
The road to recovery was not without detours and a good deal of wreckage. The Puerto Rican native who had once been married to a captain in the U.S. Army was employed at a medical center when her drinking became a problem. She lost that job and subsequent ones, and ultimately ended up among the homeless.
She finally got the help she needed at the San Diego ARC. Tina was one of the first groups of women to go through the then-new six-month Women’s Recovery Program. Here she found a safe refuge. The Army’s comprehensive approach to rehabilitation, which stresses spiritual guidance, work therapy, a strong 12-step program and psychological counseling, was what she needed.
Today, Tina enjoys a rewarding life with many friends and a family that is proud of her. With 18 years
of sobriety and concurrent employment at the ARC, Tina is an inspiration to the beneficiaries in the program with whom she works in the work therapy warehouse. She shares her experience, strength and hope with people in recovery. “We help keep each other sober,” she says.
She is also a happy and grateful resident of the downtown San Diego Silvercrest for seniors.
Looking out from the terrace of her apartment, Tina can view the city streets she once called home.
“I never dreamed I would live in such a nice place. I thank God and The Salvation Army every day for changing my life,” she said.