Cindy, a Sioux Falls woman, was addicted to men, booze and gambling for a long, long time.

“I was born into a dysfunctional family with a lot of hang-ups in life. One of them was men. As a child, I was abused and I think that gave me a false sense of what love really is. I would fall in love with men over the years and then all of a sudden I would be involved in abusive relationships. I don’t think I gave up on men. I just realized it was the wrong kind of love. When I found the love of Jesus, I finally understood what love was. I’m not against men. I’m in a different place now. If a true relationship would come my way, I would understand it more.”

Early on in life, Cindy’s life was out of control.

“I became pregnant at 14 years old and again at 19. I made a decision to keep my children. I choose to keep my children and raise them. I was basically a child raising children.”

Over time, Cindy’s addictions worsened.

“I was hooked on alcohol and other substances for many years. I also had a very big gambling addiction and as a result-- I was thousands of dollars in debt. Between the gambling and alcohol---I was a broken woman.”

That’s when Cindy’s sordid past caught up with her!

“I ended up getting arrested and thrown in jail. My life was really a mess.”

While behind bars, Cindy gradually began her walk with Jesus.

“The Lord was telling me ‘please don’t do this’ and I just ignored Him. Honestly, I always did have God in my life. But, I never listened to Him. I always felt I knew better. Given time I finally understood I could have it my way or the Lord’s way.”

Once released from jail, Cindy joined Celebrate Recovery---a Bible based support group.

“The Lord just opened my eyes. I can’t believe the doors that He has opened. I began to understand some of the things that happened to me. I had so many hurts in my life. I had a grandson that was murdered. I had a brother that took him life. All these events fueled my addictions. But, the Lord just kind of opened my eyes and made me understand that I could be forgiven and I could forgive other people. I don’t judge other people. I now understand where they’re coming from now. He has given me the wisdom and the knowledge to deal with life.”

So, how is Cindy’s life today?

“I have hope! I also have love in my life. I have found the greatest love of all! I go to Him when I have a problem through prayer, meditation and scriptures, He will give me answers. Everything in my life is so good. My relationship with my children, grandchildren, my parents, brothers and siblings---all those things have changed. Even my relationships at work are better. When I start to get some of the feelings of the past, the Lord keeps me calm. I no longer get overwhelmed and stressed out. I really do love my life!”

If you’re going through tough times and don’t think life is worth living, Cindy offers a message of hope and inspiration!

“Celebrate Recovery is a wonderful program that is based on 12 steps and the Bible. I now know my higher power is Jesus Christ. The Lord provides us with so many blessings. Now I can see them working in my life. Celebrate Recovery has helped me understand the Lord and myself.”