Advance Stories

Finding Freedom from Addiction

Finding Freedom from Addiction

As a young woman, Erin found herself alone and living on the streets, battling addiction and despair.

Growing up, Erin Gillifan felt like she didn’t fit in, experiencing a persistent feeling of emptiness. She sought solace in substances during her high school years. This led her down a destructive path, making choices she never thought she would and turning into daily substance use.

At the age of 19, Gillifan’s family made the difficult decision to distance themselves from her, setting boundaries to protect themselves from her destructive lifestyle. This left her feeling completely alone. Desperate to numb her pain, she turned to even harder substances, further spiraling into a life of despair and self-destruction.

Seeking God

However, a pivotal moment occurred when Gillifan was 23, as she was involved in a devastating car accident. “It was this time that I started my search for God,” Gilfillan said. Through chance encounters with two believers at work, she found herself in fellowship with a church family that taught her about salvation and the love of God. Although she believed in everything she was taught, her life remained unchanged. “They tried everything they could to help me change my life. And I wasn’t willing at that point,” she said.

Gillifan continued to battle her addiction and found herself back on the streets, with her relationship with God strained. “I ran away from God. I know that he didn’t leave me, but I definitely ran from him,” she said. The situation worsened until, at age 30, she discovered she was pregnant with twins. Initially considering abortion due to her circumstances, Gillifan had a moment of clarity when someone suggested she get sober before making such a life-altering decision.

The Path to Sobriety

Determined to turn her life around, Gillifan achieved sobriety during her pregnancy and decided to keep her twins. She entered a facility for pregnant women, where she remained physically sober, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, she still struggled. Eventually, her sister and her family reunited with her, believing she was doing well because she was sober. However, temptation proved too strong, and Gillifan relapsed, breaking their hearts once again.

Subsequently, Gillifan’s sons were placed in foster care, and she continued to numb herself with substances, reaching the lowest point in her life. Realizing the dangerous path she was on, she made a life-changing decision to seek help. She entered a 30-day program, followed by a year-long program to work on herself. Although it was heart-wrenching, she decided to leave her boys in foster care during this time to focus on her own recovery. It “was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I needed that year to work on myself,” she said.

Entering Connie Maxwell Family Care

During her recovery journey, Gillifan reached out to Connie Maxwell Family Care, expressing her desire to join the family care program. They advised her to demonstrate her commitment and readiness by successfully completing her ongoing program first. She did just that, and at the end of the program, she contacted them again and they welcomed her into Connie Maxwell.

When Gillifan arrived at Connie Maxwell, she initially didn’t have her boys with her and only saw them for short visits. On December 13th, she regained custody of her twins, bringing them home for good. This marked a turning point for Gillifan, as she realized that her life was no longer about herself. “It’s about first and foremost God, because without him, there’s no way I would have gotten here, survived the things I did,” she said.

Finding Freedom

While the journey was challenging, Gillifan received immense support from the staff and community at Connie Maxwell. They became her extended family, guiding her through the trials and tribulations of parenthood, helping her raise her boys. She acknowledges that she has achieved numerous goals with the support of others.

Now 33 years old, Gillifan reflects on her life’s transformation. “I still go through struggles, but with the support of Connie Maxwell, I feel free of the mental bondage I’ve had my whole life,” she said. Connie Maxwell’s unwavering support has played a pivotal role in her recovery, enabling her to build a better future for herself and her sons.

This story was originally posted by Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries, an auxiliary ministry of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

  • SCBaptist Creative Team

    SCBaptist Creative Team

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