From County Line Spring 2013

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RIPLEY COUNTY — Angel Schiering spent almost half of her young life struggling with addiction. She battled herself and those around her before finding faith and the path to recovery. It’s something she said she couldn’t have done without The Salvation Army.

“The Salvation Army saved my life,” Angel said. “I’ve been clean for five years and four months.”

Angel started using crack cocaine when she was just 13 years old. The mother of five was in and out of rehab facilities, and even prison, for years.

“In 2006 I had a baby while in prison. They let me keep him there,” she said. “Then two of my children were placed with the state in 2007. That still didn’t stop me.”

Each time she left a facility, rehab or prison, Angel found herself alone. With no support system to help her stay on track, she started using again.

Then, two weeks before Christmas, Angel was told her grandmother had only two months to live.

“She was everything to me. I went off the deep end and disappeared for two weeks,” she said. “On Christmas day, I went to visit my grandmother. I made amends with her. It was the lowest point in my life.”

The next day, Angel’s grandmother died. Alone, miserable and in desperate need of change — Angel knew she had to do something. She called The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in Indianapolis.

“While I was there, something amazing happened. I was in the right place,” Angel said. “But I still found myself struggling with guilt.”

Angel did whatever she was told to do while at Harbor Light. She knew this trip to rehab had to be the one. It was. She overcame her personal guilt with help from a corps officer and learned to turn to the Bible instead of drugs when life got tough.

“It really helped me change at a time when I needed it most. It was empowering. I got my life back. I got a life,” Angel said. “I went back to school and graduated from college. I have a career. I have my kids.”

Angel also travels around the state speaking to others about her experience. She always credits The Salvation Army.

“I changed,” Angel said. “And because I work in mental health, my first referral to those in need goes to the Salvation Army.”

Join the County Line mailing list. Contact Jennifer Jarrell: Jennifer_Jarrell@USC.SalvationArmy.org