Student Profile: Sierra
Sierra was born with a hole in her heart, an effect of alcohol in the womb. Open heart surgery was in order - twice - to patch the hole. As life resumed, Sierra found herself at a horse ranch with her mother. Sierra’s father eventually manipulated his way back into Sierra’s life, despite her mother’s original attempts to create separation.
When Sierra was eight years old, her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. As Sierra’s grandparents stepped in to care for their daughter, Sierra’s father became her sole caretaker. It soon became apparent to Sierra’s teachers that things weren’t right at home, so CPS got involved. Sierra’s grandparents were granted custody; not too long after, Sierra’s mother passed away.
In 2011, Sierra graduated from high school. It was then that her high school sweetheart introduced her to meth, which would dictate her life for the next five years. After he was put in jail for theft, Sierra found alternative methods of obtaining the drug. When Sierra didn’t come home for three days straight, her then boyfriend notified her grandparents, who painted a clear picture of two options: rehab or homelessness.
Then began the battle to stay clean. Sierra managed seven months after her first stint of rehab before she relapsed. “I would be out there for four to six months and then be clean for a month. It’s all very vague… I eventually lost my car. Then I went back to rehab on my own choice. I was 90 days clean - and one month clean after that. I relapsed again and was homeless without a vehicle. Eventually I got really possessed by the drug. I did things that were not my usual.” Circumstances escalated quickly, the cops got involved, and in her depression, Sierra’s only solace was drugs.
In April of 2016, after a referral from Powerhouse Ministries, Sierra came to CEM for a tour. Though CEM seemed to be a nice enough place, she wasn’t convinced that a long-term placement was necessary. “I tried doing it on my own...but I relapsed again. It got out of control...My grandparents told me to go to a program.”
Sierra arrived at CEM that October. “I wasn’t a Christian, but I didn’t want to go to [another secular] recovery program - I didn’t think it was working for me.” Sierra integrated easily into the structure and discipline of work program and began soaking in spiritual input and biblical truth. “The biggest things I learned here are learning about the Bible, learning about Jesus, and learning to be at peace with myself. Knowing God has my back, I can trust Him. He’s my Savior!” As Sierra moves forward from CEM, she requests prayer for her ongoing involvement in church and for her relationship with the Lord.