My name is Olga, I was always a party girl, and I loved to laugh, have fun and drink alcohol. Unfortunately this turned into an alcohol addiction which crept up on me subtly over many years. It then expanded to prescription medication, smoking and amphetamines, where I had a near-death experience.

I suffered the psychological and emotional consequences of addiction and had major depression, anxiety, fear, guilt and anger. My addiction cost me my marriage, happiness and security. It overtook all the love that I should have had for my husband. I also lost my flourishing work career.

I tried everything to help myself, including support group meetings, self-help books and counsellors. I thought I could fix myself with my own self-will, but nothing worked and I kept relapsing. The power of my addiction was so deep that I knew I had to be taken away from everything if I wanted a chance in life.

My mother and sister suggested Teen Challenges Living Free program, for which I am eternally grateful, and it was here that I gave my life to the Lord. Through this experience God immediately took away my cravings for smoking. For the first six weeks of the program I cried every day for my children, but I knew that God was protecting and watching over them.

One defining moment was when I heard a message at the Teen Challenge Chapel which helped me to focus on my future and my beautiful children, rather than my brokenness. The weekly counselling sessions have also helped to mould and shape me into the person God has intended me to be.

The program is very hard, but it is the best decision I have ever made. I love the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 which says, For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

My hopes and dreams for the immediate future are to focus on my health and wellbeing. When I am restored even more I want to bring this peace and assurance into my family. Its my hearts desire to see my children develop with the gifts of the Spirit and to walk in integrity, wholeness and love. I also have a strong desire to be involved in helping others with life controlling issues through the Living Free and Perez programs. My dream is to one day visit Times Square Church and the Teen Challenge in New York, to see where the original Teen Challenge began 57 years ago.

I dont need to be lost anymore. Teen Challenge has shown me the tools I need to deal with lifes challenges, and I have also learnt about having an abundant and successful life. I would never have believed that I would get a completely new chance at life with so much hope, happiness, freedom and peace. I know that All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:3) and I am looking forward to this season of new beginnings in my life.

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