Free from shame.
Free to have the desires of my heart.
"Freedom is peace. That's what it is."
June 22nd will always be a special day to me.
One day I realized I had enough. I was lonely, depressed, in an unhealthy marriage and living in addiction. I lost my children and was viewed as an awful person due to the choices I made while in my addiction.
On June 17, 2016, I cried out to God “I can’t do this anymore”. I wasn’t suicidal or anything, but I knew living the way I was was no longer an option. Five days later on June 21st, I was arrested. I was so heavy that when I realized what was happening I was like “sigh” finally. A weight was lifted off of me. Not only did I no longer have to worry about how I would support my addiction, June 22, 2016 was my first day clean.
Then, on June 22, 2018, I was released from prison. Even though I was finally physically free from the prison walls, I realized my freedom came before that day. I noticed myself free when I realized my perspective changed. I was no longer judgmental, and I saw the blessings I was receiving. I saw that I could reach out to others and ask for help. I learned I didn’t have to do life on my own.
June 22, 2019 I will be off parole, officially free from the criminal justice system.
Overall, I discovered freedom in my life experiences. Now I am free to live life and be the person God has created me to be. I am free to have the desires of my heart!
Because I can now say I am free, I want to help other women experience freedom too. I have been through a lot in my life. Not only substance use and incarceration. There isn’t much I can’t relate to. If I can encourage one woman to walk in her own freedom I would encourage her by saying:
We are fighters and we have to fight for the things we want. The fight will be hard sometimes, but the reward will be well worth it. Don’t fear, don’t allow shame to grip you, and accept help when offered.
A moment to exhale
Freedom to me is knowing I am NOT going back to that life.
Freedom is peace. That’s what it is!
Vestal is a mother of three boys and is currently working to rebuild her relationship with and regain custody of her sons. She is also a North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist and is CPR/First Aid trained. On April 14, 2019 Vestal was awarded the Shirley E. Henderson Award for Outstanding Achievement and Overcoming Adversity. She was also recognized by Mayor Nancy McFarlane for being a recipient of the Shirley E. Henderson Award.