Nicole Nelson: The Messenger
This month we talked to our own Nicole Nelson! She commenced our program last May. Recently she also was invited to become a member of our Second Mile benevolent group. Having worked her steps, Nicole has discovered a new freedom and new happiness. She further knows serenity and has found peace, but it was not always this way for her.
She was abandoned by her parents as a newborn and grew up with an unshakeable sense of having been thrown away like garbage. She asked herself the same questions such children normally do: why they didn’t love her, what she did wrong, and what was wrong with her. Nicole grew up feeling disconnected, and she suffered a deep sense of being empty and alone. Thus, at the age of only 23, she had already checked all of the boxes one might expect of a child who grows up parentless: living in poverty, with four children out of wedlock, and deep into alcohol and drugs.
Tragedy begets tragedy. In an aimless search for the missing piece from her soul, Nicole fell headlong into a very bad crowd. Tragically, one of her children died when her drug dealer went on a rampage. He and his crew invaded many houses, including Nicole’s, looking for missing drugs but found nothing. A struggle with one of her captors ensued while she tried to escape with her children. In the scuffle her one year-old, Cayden, fell to the floor and suffered fatal injuries. The police arrived to find Nicole out of her mind with grief, having nearly beaten her assailant to death.
Her surviving children were removed to safe homes by protective services. “The DFS said that I was an unfit parent, that I would never have my kids again. I just gave up, thinking there’s no point, and started using. I fell off on heroin really bad.” She told us about several hospitalizations too:
“They said that I went crazy after what happened with the kids. I was stuck in torment for an entire year. I couldn’t hold a job down, function, and was completely overwhelmed with grief. When I would get clean for a couple of days, it all came back and I would go crazy again. I didn’t want to feel anything.”
Finally, an old friend told Nicole about CORE. She came to our Springfield program and, after an initial false start, returned and started working the 12 Steps. She also began volunteering her time back to the program. During our interview Nicole expressed her gratitude to CORE for sticking with her and helping save her life:
“CORE gave me a home when I didn’t have a home. They allowed me to work on myself and have mistakes, and they still accepted me. I’m blessed. It’s why I give back. Everybody else gave up on me, but CORE never did. Even when I messed up the first time they didn’t turn their backs on me. They continued to help. They saved my life and showed me the way out.”
While working her steps Nicole processed some bitter resentments, against her assailant (who’s serving time in prison), herself, and God. Two months ago, however, Nicole became ready to publicly show her commitment to God and was baptized! Her morning routine now includes reading from her Bible and getting on her knees next to her bed to pray. Likewise, at the end of each day, Nicole gives thanks to God. “I really don’t ask him for anything,” she said, “like before, I would say please do this, or help me, but now my prayers are ‘thank you.’ I can’t be more grateful for Him showing me life out of the darkness that I was in.”
Nicole has also discovered that she can be a powerful witness for God. The Big Book says that our experience can benefit others “no matter how far down the scale we have fallen.” She recently realized just that when she gave her testimony at Joplin’s Lafayette House. Nicole later learned that one of the ladies in attendance had contacted CORE and specifically mentioned her testimony. “I’ve done something so bad. I didn’t appreciate how it might help others,” she said. Energized by the experience, Nicole has committed to helping teach our CSR recovery classes. She’s nervous but is preparing and feels up to the challenge.
CORE is very happy and proud for Nicole and her progress with the program. We wish her the very best in rekindling loving bonds with her children again. We have every confidence that she will inspire and help clients with their recoveries. Above all, we look forward to her being with us as long as she can in the future!