Chantal Begins Her Recovery from Meth Addiction on the Steps of a Catholic Church

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When Chantal was in the 9th grade she had her first drink: her father’s peppermint schnapps. For her, it was the response to the turmoil brewing within her family, her father’s controlling and suffocating strictness and his drinking. She would move onto smoking when she was 15, then experimented with marijuana (though she didn’t like it), until finally she became addicted to methamphetamines her senior year of high school. Her use of meth would last for roughly 20 years, living as, what she would call, a “functioning user.”

“I managed okay as a young person using. I was able to hold onto great jobs, and raised a child, though things with my child’s father were chaotic. I maintained a job and would work to care for my child during the week and it was only when my son would leave with his father that I would get high on the weekends,” Chantal said.

Later on, she reconnected with her junior high school sweetheart and they started to use together. Being there for each other was not enough, though, and they both knew that there was something more to take away their pain and suffering that no drug could provide. This man would eventually lead her to Catholic In Recovery. He invited her to the first meeting at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in San Diego.

“He found Catholic in Recovery and I began attending with him at St. Joseph’s. And I found this to be a place of home. This was the something that I was talking about…the something that was more. It was the place I had been looking for, practically for all my life,” Chantal said.

Chantal was raised Catholic and maintained her relationship with God over the years. Yet, God would call her to healing from her drug use as well as a deeper trust in Him. And he called her on the very steps of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which have come to represent a sacred space for Chantal.

“I was going through a custody battle with my child’s father and I did not know what else to do. I thought I did everything I was supposed to do to be a good mother. My child’s father said cruel, awful, and untrue things about me in order to take control of my child’s welfare and attempt to take full custody,” Chantal explained.

After praying tearfully on those steps, she went to court and God answered her cries. All of the accusations were dropped and she was able to keep her child.

“I had to stand up for myself and praying to God on those very steps in front of the Church restored my faith, as it has time and time again. That staircase is where I found refuge from the world and all the not-so-positive events in my life. It was there where my love for God grew stronger and trusting Him made me His biggest advocate to help others,” Chantal said.

“God has bestowed his grace and mercy on me, even when I didn’t feel worthy of it. I love Him with all my heart. My blessings help me to be a light to others. We are all God’s children and, when possible, I try to extend a helping hand, even if it’s just a smile,” Chantal said.

Chantal has had great success with her recovery since attending Catholic in Recovery meetings for roughly three years.

“I have only fallen twice with using after using for twenty years thanks to this community,” Chantal said. “I know I am not alone when I attend those meetings, and when you feel alone and like the only one going through something you just clam up. But at these meetings, I feel the presence of others, others like me. It’s something not to fear and my fears just disappear as we start praying.”

Chantal also helps out as the meeting secretary, getting to meetings early to create a safe and comforting space to welcome members as they grow closer to Christ and strive toward recovery from addictions and unhealthy attachments.

“I make sure I’m at least an hour early to set up and get everything ready. I am setting the table as if it were dinner with family. Prayer cards and Reflection materials are set before each seat, like silverware and plates. We have a table to share our stories to support and encourage each other’s journey and to provide a safe and loving environment. It’s like breaking bread together. We all have something to contribute and to nourish one another in our recovery,” Chantal said.

For those who are considering attending but afraid or hesitant, she can’t say enough about the benefits of Catholic In Recovery.

“Come anyway! You won’t know until you go of the benefits from just sitting there. You’re not obligated to speak; you can just listen. And while you don’t have to share, I can guarantee when you are sitting there and listening you will want to share your story anyway. When you hear others share their pain and share their love your heart will just melt. And the Good Lord will help you to open up,” Chantal said.

Ultimately, Catholic In Recovery has transformed her life in incredible ways, all thanks to God’s grace.

“Other than my loved ones, Catholic In Recovery has been the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Chantal shared. “I have been truly blessed by the group. I consider them family and I look forward to it every Tuesday night.”