Inmate Leaves Baggage Behind Bars

Cris remembers, “When dad got drunk, dad got scary.  You know, but as a little girl I always just wanted my daddy so much.”

Cris’s parents divorced when she was 5, and her mother, who was a Christian, was given full custody.  But her father’s behavior continued to influence her.

She says, “I remember him always being really inappropriate.  Very sexualized talk in front of me whenever I was a little girl.”

Then when she was 13, her father’s drunken sexual talk escalated.  

She says, “It never went all the way to take my virginity. But, it was definitely physical.”

Her father molested her for three years.  Cris was too embarrassed to tell her mother.  Instead, she started drinking and doing drugs and seeking out attention from boys in the only way she knew how.  

She says, at that time, “I thought my worth and my value was in my sex.  You know, and that’s how you get attention, that’s how you get approval.  That’s how you get love.  Because that’s what I’d been taught.”

Cris was already addicted to drugs and alcohol when she left home at 17 to join the Air Force.  She stopped using in the military, but once honorably discharged, she tried meth for the first time.

Cris says, “I remember thinking oh my gosh, I finally found the thing I’ve been looking for my whole life, you know, the euphoria, just –everything was heightened and, you know, it’s like, ‘This is great.’”

She was instantly hooked and began using every day.  She recalls, “When I would try to go a day without meth, what I would describe it as this fingernail that would dig at the back of my brain and it would make me obsess, and I would just be like, you know, ‘What am I going to do, what am I going to do?’”

Increasingly crippled by the memory of her father’s abuse, Cris reached out to him for some sort of resolution.  She says, “I wrote him this letter.  Tell me you’re sorry.  And that’s all I need and we’ll have a friendship and we’ll have a relationship and everything.  And he wrote me back this letter that said no apologies, no regrets. And that-that was, that was a breaking point for me.  And I got really serious about my drug addiction after that.  Always so much wanting something from someone who didn’t have it to give.”

Cris was a functional addict, able to work as a bartender and even attend college.  But she was always fearful of running out of meth and made a deal with her supplier: she would hand over her college aid money if he would front her the drugs.  

Cris says that early one morning, “There’s this knock at my door. And I open the door and there’s what looked like a SWAT team. And they asked me my name and they were pulling me out of the door and they’re zip tying my hands behind me and telling me that I’m under arrest for conspiracy to traffic and distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine.  I had maybe…a half a gram in my house, tops.  And so I’m like this is crazy.”

The DEA had tapped her supplier’s phone and mistakenly tagged Cris as an investor in his business. Cris was arrested along with 25 other dealers and charged with a federal offense.

Cris says, “We went before the federal judge, and just carte blanche he said none of us were getting released.  And by this time the fingernail had started, so I’m starting to withdraw.”

Cris became desperate as her craving for meth intensified, confessing to another inmate that she felt she was in hell.   Cris says, the other inmate “looked at me and she goes, ‘You think this is bad?  Wait till you see you the real hell,’ and that’s all she said.  And that’s all it took.  And it’s like all of those years of my mom talking to me about Jesus, I’m like oh my gosh, I’ve got to reach out to Jesus.  So I went into my cell.  And I remember getting on my knees and asking Jesus to forgive me.  And come into my heart.  ‘Cause I don't know where I would’ve ended up if that had not happened. But it wouldn’t have been good.  Or even to be that empty for another second.”

Cris gave her life to Christ that day – and she was given something in return.   

Cris says, “I stopped craving drugs.  And I never felt it again.  Then I realized that that was the moment He’d healed me.  You know, He’d healed me.  From an addiction that had spanned my entire life.  It was just suddenly lifted and gone.”

Cris’s charge was eventually reduced to one count of drug trafficking and she was sentenced to a year in federal prison.  She continued to grow in her faith and study the Bible.  And she was finally able to forgive her father.  

Cris says that in prison, “That’s where I gained the freedom in Christ.  You know, where He really set me free.  And I see my dad for what he truly was, and that was just a broken, hurting person who in himself needed the love of his heavenly daddy to fix him.  You know and I think now that that was a lifelong quest that has finally been sated inside of me because of, you know, my heavenly Daddy.”

Today she is married and serves as director of a counseling ministry in Illinois.  And as a child of God, she sees herself in a whole new light.

She says, “One of the things that I’ve learned from God is that I’m a treasure.  You know, I’m special; we all are.  And that, you know, our worth and value is set by what Christ did on the cross.  So I’m, to Him, I’m worth everything.”

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