Samantha Anderson was able to become the mother she always wanted after going through Adult & Teen Challenge's long program.
"You could say I was born into addiction," says Anderson. "I grew up in a family full of addicts. So I can't say there wasn't a time when it wasn't a part of my life for myself. I started drinking at the age of 13."
Anderson was smoking marijuana by 17 and then dabbled with harder drugs like cocaine.
"I was raised by my grandmother and she committed suicide when I was 20. I started using crystal meth around 25 and that was the one that I used for like 20-plus years."
Things started to shift in Anderson's life when someone she knew entered Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC).
"I happen to know somebody that I went to Teen Challenge. I went to their grad and I remember watching him praising Lord on stage. I just remember the look he had. I remember thinking to myself, I want that because it said so many things to me. Unfortunately, at that time, I wasn't ready to receive it."
After trying many different methods to get clean and sober, Anderson walked through the doors of ATC.
"Honestly, my hope when coming in here was that I could become sober, and at that time, that's all I thought I could hope for. Coming here it was more than just becoming sober, right? It was about completely changing."
Motherhood and Addiction
Anderson is a mother of two children.
"I have a 27-year-old daughter and I have an 8-year-old son. Unfortunately, my daughter, my oldest child, I abandoned her due to addiction."
When her son was 18 months old, Anderson lost custody of him to Child and Family Services. At that time she stopped using meth to get her son back. However, the use of drugs didn't stop, and eventually, she went back to using meth and lost custody of her son again.
At the age of five, Anderson's son asked her a question that changed everything.
"He asked me to stop using pokies [needles]. That was the defining moment for me."
After that question from her son, Anderson made one of the hardest phone calls in her life.
"I called Child and Family Services on myself and it actually worked. I admitted I was back to using needles and they could have come and just apprehended him. They actually did a volunteer replacement with me. So I was still in complete control guardianship of him and they agreed to help me out for a year."
Giving up her son of her own free will was beyond painful and difficult, but Anderson found it would be worth it.
"Something helped me, so I have to say, now knowing it was definitely God's hands. My son was actually placed with a young pastor and his wife, and it was their first time fostering. He lived in this huge, ranch-style house with goats, ponies and chickens. My son got to learn about God and accepted Jesus while there."
A Bright Future
After finishing her long-term program, Anderson received custody of her son once again.
"It was 40 days after I graduated, on July 29 my son was returned to me and now we live together."
Anderson is currently enrolled in the SURGE Leadership program with ATC and she lives with her son and another mom and child in Brandon.
"I'm ministering to women and my heart is so from moms with children. There's so much shame behind moms in addiction, being afraid to ask for help. I can honestly say there is light at the end and hope. It's like, your shame is gone and you're surrounded by people who are struggling as well, and we're all here to support you. There's no judgment. There's freedom and joy. That is one thing God is giving me back; my joy."