Over the past year, God has profoundly changed Victoria Delgado’s life. So much so, that a year ago, she didn’t even recognize herself in a picture. “I remember looking at myself and thinking, who is that girl? I don’t even know who she is. She was skinny and her eyes were tired. I didn’t recognize her.”
The slippery slope that changed her life started out harmless, or at least that’s what she thought. Her cousin noticed that she was tired because she was working two jobs. He handed her something to take the edge off. The problem was, that it led her down a path that nearly destroyed her life. “I found my pain went numb and that was what I was going to when I was mad or upset.”
She was going out every day and partying with her “friends” though now she knows they were the wrong crowd. “It went from, ‘Hey, we have it to ‘Hey, I’ll give you half’ to ‘Hey, now you’re buying it.” She was drinking and doing drugs every day. It finally got to a point that she was hanging out with the person who was selling it to her. She was driving the dealer around town for deliveries and eventually ended up selling drugs. “You see these movies like ‘Scarface’ and you think it’s a movie-a fantasy, but it’s really not. It was the ugliest time in my life.” It got so bad that at one point, she was providing drugs to her mother. Victoria, along with her siblings, have lived with their grandmother all of their lives because both of her parents are addicts. “I thought to myself, what am I doing? This is not who I am. I felt lost.”
At her very lowest moment, Victoria held a handful of pills in her hands and thought about taking all of them to end her pain. She just kept looking at them, wanting to take them. Even though she had a young son who depended on her, she worried she would never get out of the nightmare. “I wanted to take those pills and be done. In my pain and suffering, I thought I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Instead, what happened was her aunt invited her to Sunday service at Discovery Church. Even though she went out and partied the entire night before, she still managed to drag herself there. As she sat in service, she cried the entire time. The memory of the day is still so vivid for Victoria, that tears streamed down her eyes as she talked about it. “Pastor Jason was spitting fire. I remember him saying, ‘If you’re hanging around four addicts, you’re going to be the fifth one.’ He said, ‘You can love them from a distance, but you don’t have to be around them.” She knew at that moment that God was speaking to her. She had finally had enough. The next day, she sat in the shower for thirty minutes on her knees praying and telling God that she was done. She cried out and begged for His help, and He saved her. “I tell my friends this all the time: He’s always there, but we’re the ones who leave.”
Taking her life back from the drugs wasn’t an instant thing. She had to fight for it. She had to learn how to set up boundaries with friends and family and not get discouraged along the way. A huge part of that was constantly seeking God. “I’ve never had such a painful but beautiful process. I’ve lost so many people along the way, but He’s always there to fill the loss with something else.” One such place was when she decided to join the Depression and Anxiety small group at Discovery Church. Victoria had a habit of going into hermit mode and running away instead of fixing her issues. She went into that group thinking nothing was going to change. She thought she wouldn’t fit in and the women would judge her. It was just the opposite. The women asked her where her safe place was and she realized she didn’t have one. She had nowhere to go, but now she has a place where she can be with sisters in Christ who are there for her and support her. “I know the women in my group will never turn their back on me. Until I went to Discovery, I didn’t know what love was, what it meant. Without God, without my church, and the ladies in my group, I wouldn’t be here. Discovery saved me.”
Victoria is proud to say that she is now baptized and sober. Not only is she clean from drugs, but she also has quit alcohol and nicotine. She faithfully attends every Sunday and worship night and she serves in the kid’s ministry. She has changed her legacy, not only for herself but for her son. “Never in a million years would I have thought I would have made it out of that ugly, dark place in my life. God’s set a fire in my soul and it has not burned out. Now I see the sun, I see light.”
(Story Curator: Jenna Ciecalone)