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Opioid Addiction Upends a Mother's Life

“It was an afternoon.  A friend and I were actually traveling from Pittsburgh,” Kia recalls.  “And we just hit an icy spot.  And she lost control and within seconds we were in a ditch.  We were actually able to walk away, uh but it was later on that day I realized that, you know, some pain had set in.”

The back pain would only get worse for Kia Waller, a wife and mother of three young girls.  After a couple of months, a doctor prescribed powerful pain killers.

“It took the pain away, but I also realized that it was, um, doing something else.  It was taking away worry, things that I didn't realize that, you know, was going on deep inside,” Kia admits.

One of those things happened when she was just ten. Her father suddenly died of heart failure, and to her, his absence meant the loss of love and security.

“I'm actually the one who found him,” she remembers painfully.  “And um, my main focus was making sure my mom was okay, making sure my siblings was okay.  You know, I didn't know how to mourn, I was a kid.”

Then shortly after, her mom told Kia that the man she called “dad” all her life was not her real father.  And that her biological dad abandoned them before she was born.  Kia believed that the reason he left was she wasn’t worth staying for.

“I had just stuffed that pain that I had went through that day, cause it was traumatic.”

Kia continued to bury that pain as she grew into adulthood, trying hard to appear as if everything were fine.
“I was a wife, a mother of three children, worked full time, went to church every Sunday -- living a normal life,” she says.   

Kia was 29 when she and her friend had their accident, leaving her with daily back pain.  The meds not only relieved that pain, but the years of hurt she had long since buried.

“Within two weeks of taking that pain medication,” Kia remembers, “I remember wanting to take another one before I was supposed to.”

After her prescription ran out, Kia bought her pain meds on the street.  Still able to function, she managed to hide her drug abuse for a long time, even from her husband, Orlando.  But inside, she was dying.

“I was just pretty much just a walking shell.  I was very disconnected emotionally because I had got to the point to where like I was spiritually dead because they had taken over my life,” Kia explains.  

When she could no longer hide her addiction, Kia confessed everything to the one person she knew would hold her accountable - her mother-in-law, Sonya.

“I was a crack addict,” Sonya admits.  “When you’ve walked it, you know what that monster looks like. I felt she needed to go to detox, rehab, and then a halfway house.  She kept tellin’ me, ‘No, no, no,’ because her family needed her.”

“She was the only person that gave me that tough love I needed,” says Kia.  “I couldn't stand her.  I couldn't.”

Sonya convinced her daughter-in-law to try rehab, but Kia’s addiction raged on.  In the coming years, she went to jail multiple times on DUI and drug charges, followed by more stints in rehab.  Orlando tried everything to help his wife, but even threatening to take the girls and leave didn’t work.

“I was carrying so much guilt, that every time I would go to rehab or go to jail, I would get out and I still had the guilt and shame,” she explains. “So that's why I would use.”

Even though she’d professed faith in God when she was younger, Kia came to believe she wasn’t even worth His help.

“He was there.  Because there was many times where I should have died.  He never left me.  I left him,” she says.  “I felt spiritually dead.”

Finally, in 2013, Orlando made good on his threat to leave.

“I came home and they were gone.  I hated myself, I wanted to die.  But I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop.”

It was then Kia turned to heroin and crack.  But after several months, she finally hit bottom.

"’I'm done.’ And I dropped to my knees, literally, and I just threw my hands up and cried out to God - was like, ‘Anything but death.  Help me!  I can't do this myself.  I don't know how to stop.’ I meant it,” she remembers.  “I meant it.”

Hours later she was arrested and back in jail.

“I said, ‘Alright, God, whatever we've got to do so I don't have to live the way I've been living anymore -  I'm willing to do it.’”

While in prison, Kia sincerely looked to Jesus and his word for truth and healing.  She also went through a long-term addiction program.

“It was the best thing that ever could have happened to me,” Kia states without hesitation. “My life changed.  That's where I really dealt with those childhood issues, the guilt and the shame that I had acquired over the years of active addiction - not just to myself, but to my family.”

“At that point,” Sonya recalls, “the chains were broken, and the hope was alive.”

After 14 months, Kia got out, returned to church, and joined a 12-step support group.

“God slowly, totally took it away from me and I was ‘bout four months in and that obsession was lifted.”

These days, her marriage and family are fully restored.  Kia now manages a women’s sober living home, and pours into them what she’s learned about true worth and God’s power.

“I definitely felt the love of God.  Ask him for help and he will help you. You can change.  It's so possible,” Kia says sincerely.  “I should be dead.  But God said, "Uh-uh.  I got a plan for this one." And boy has He showed off, and I know He's not done.”


Jesus said “In this world we will have trouble. But be of good cheer because I have overcome the world.”

Translation? We can’t escape the inevitable crises that face all of us at one time or another throughout our lifetime. Whether it’s sexual abuse, addiction, depression, career challenges, or gut-wrenching losses, these experiences can destroy our morale and lead us into despair if we let them.

Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength in Any Crisis is an inspirational and practical handbook to encourage and guide you to the better days that God intended for us. The real-life stories you’ll find there are a testament to the truth that Jesus has indeed overcome the world!

Learn more at https://www.storiesofgodsgrace.com

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