By Charles Walker

Elyse Roberts, a 37-year-old resident of Fort Valley, GA can testify that not everyone that gets involved with drugs comes from a bad home or negative environment.  “I had a good supportive family and always knew about God, his goodness, grace and mercy but things changed when I left home and went to college”.

First, Elyse says she started hanging out with the wrong crowd and although she drank a little in high school, college is where she really started experiencing drugs and alcohol.  “I first started smoking marijuana but later graduated to cocaine. My negative lifestyle caused me to quit college and things went down from there.”

“For the next 10 years of my life I was consumed by the disease of alcohol”, said Elyse. “I don’t want to say just drugs and alcohol because I was addicted to the lifestyle, the people, to being self-centered; it was more than just the drugs and alcohol. My addiction caused me to do things I wouldn’t normally do if I was in my right mind.” She says telling lies and manipulating were two of the big ones.

But in 2001, her conscious started to eat at her. She said she couldn’t get comfortable living her life the way she was. She was depressed, lonely and deep down knew God wanted better for her.

Elyse says she prayed a lot over the years. Many of them were what she called foxhole prayers, the kind of prayers you pray when you are in trouble and just want Gods help. But one night in 2005 she finally prayed to God “all I want is you.”  And God told her enough is enough; it is time to get your life on track.

Although she has been in and out of rehab for years, in the end she completed rehab and a one year out-patient program. “They really teach you how to live. It was more than just the drugs because I had to learn how to act.” The program was Monday through Friday 8 to 3 o’clock and had a variety of classes, support groups and helped her stay connected with people who could help her deal with her problems.

Things also changed when her parents, who stuck with her over the years, dished out a dose of tough love.  “For a long time they would come to my rescue until they realized they were only enabling me. They took the keys to the car, the keys to the house, and stopped giving me money. I thought they were being ugly to me but it was the best thing they could do.”

Thanks to the grace of God, Elyse has been free from drugs and alcohol for 6 years and has taken charge of her life. Currently she is a full-time student majoring in sociology, living on her own, and raising her two children. She says now she is able to help people who are in the same situation and she enjoys doing street ministry.

“I go into neighborhoods with a bag of candy and giving hugs and people are so receptive it allows me to tell them about God. They want to know how I’m able to live this life after being under the influence of drugs and I tell them it is the power of God.”