On the Net
For more information on Abba House, visit www.abbahouse.com.
I’m always humbled by the perseverance of the human spirit.
When a friend of mine told me about Chris Croft’s story of recovery and redemption, I just knew I had to meet her.
As we got together recently for coffee, I sat spellbound as Chris shared her story.
Born and raised in Forsyth County, Chris said she was raised in a Christian home, but felt unworthy and unloved.
"My mother had a wounded past and my father worked all of the time," she said. "I just felt such severe rejection ever since I can remember."
At a young age, Chris was prescribed pain pills for medical problems. Unfortunately, she began using the medication to help numb her emotional pain.
After marrying her high school sweetheart, Chris hoped life would take on more order and stability. She and her husband had one daughter, Courtney.
Sadly, after four-and-a-half years of marriage, her husband left her.
"I was completely devastated," she said. "I felt totally lost. I spiraled out of control and began drinking, doing drugs, going to bars.
"I did things that were totally out of character for me."
By the time Chris met her second husband, she said she was a mess and their relationship was not healthy.
"We enabled each other, and were definitely not good for each other," she said.
When Chris got pregnant, which in her own words was a miracle, she stopped using drugs. The joy of giving birth to daughter Mikayla was followed by several tragic events.
First, her husband died suddenly in 2004.
And when Mikayla was 1, Chris’s then-17-year-old Courtney was killed in a car accident.
Through tears, Chris said, "I was so beaten down, I didn’t know how I could go on."
Like so many addicts, Chris went back to her old crutch and began using drugs again. Her addiction became full blown and using was all she cared about.
Chris told me at that point she wanted to die. It took losing custody of Mikayla for her to get serious about finding help.
"I had been to a few of the open meetings at Abba House, but up until that point, I was unwilling to make the 15-month commitment," she said.
"After losing custody of my child, I was ready to do anything to get her back."
Chris said living at Abba House has been a difficult yet amazing experience.
Founded in 1992 in Okeechobee, Fla., Abba House is a faith-based, long-term facility for women recovering from addiction.
It’s the only place of its kind in north Georgia that allows a woman to have her children with her while recovering.
While recovering, Abba House offers its residents classes to empower them with the knowledge and skills they need to live a full and healthy life without drugs or alcohol.
"The atmosphere is safe and full of love," Chris said. "I finally learned what unconditional love is."
Chris completed the 15-month program in August and is teaching classes and completing ministry training at the facility. That’s in addition to doing its public relations.
Her beautiful Mikayla, now 7, lives with her on site.
"I don’t know what the future holds, but for now I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing," Chris said. "It feels awesome to be able to share my story and hopefully help others."
The story and her beautiful personality inspired me. She is a courageous young woman, and I have no doubt she will go on to inspire, encourage and help others.
What a blessing Abba House is to these women, their families and our community as a whole.
Please help support this wonderful ministry by volunteering, donating and shopping in their thrift store.
Adlen Robinson is author of "Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.