Addicted to Jesus
Amelia Eagle from Levin Corps is now clean and sober and living her best life as a beloved child of God. Amelia wouldn’t be where she is today without the support of her church family, her sponsor and the love of her parents, husband and son.
I’m a 34-year-old mum of a little blond rocket called Rex, and I’m married to Shaan. Until a year ago, I had never stepped foot inside a church, read a Bible or even considered believing in God. If you had told me back then that one of my best friends would be a priest, I would have laughed my head off.
I grew up in a loving family, with parents who have been married for 36 years. I wanted to be a vet and that’s where I headed after college. However, a decision I made along the way sent me into a life of drug addiction.
On Christmas Eve 2018, I tried to take my own life. I was very close to succeeding, but by some miracle I was found and taken to hospital. I realised that if I didn’t change my life and give up drugs I would most likely die.
I tried to get clean and sober over the next few years with some successful stints. The longest being while pregnant with my son and the six months after he was born, leading up to mine and Shaan’s wedding day. Unfortunately, I relapsed again. This time round I had more to lose and a whole lot more to live for. I was so aware of my addiction and the grip it had on me, yet even with the will to give up I still found myself using and went around and around in circles wishing I could stay clean.
Shaan and I separated a year after our marriage, realising we couldn’t get clean while together. Family Court became involved, and we both risked losing custody of our son. Thankfully this was enough motivation for us both to look for professional help. We were offered places in rehab, but with Shaan going first and then me afterwards so we could do the programme separately.
When Shaan went to rehab, I realised I had nine weeks to wait, so I looked for support options. Soon I had a great psychologist, a fantastic mental health support worker and an awesome counsellor. At this point, not once had I thought about God or church.
I went to the foodbank at The Salvation Army for a food parcel, where I met a lovely lady called Nicky. As well as making me a budgeting appointment and organising a food parcel, she offered to pray for me—something I had never done before. I had no idea what praying even involved, but something inside me said I should say yes, so I did.
Shortly afterwards I met Ben and Karen (corps officers). Karen gave me my first Bible—a Recovery Bible, which I treasure to this day. They invited me to come along to the Sunday service and I told them I would think about it. On Sunday I went along. I was stoked to be inside a church without being set on fire!
I’ve been to church every Sunday ever since. I’m addicted—but addicted to something good this time. I can’t explain how church makes me feel. It’s quite the emotional rollercoaster for me. I’m filled up with goodness every single week.
When it was my turn to go to rehab, I attended church every Sunday. People don’t realise just how much something as simple as a hug and a smile can be for someone who is in a dark place.
I wrote in my journal: I feel like I have people who believe in me. I know it’s ultimately me responsible for changing my life, but this is the first time I’ve felt guided, like someone’s cheering me on daily with a 24/7 hug.
On 1 September I gave my heart to the Lord; and on 9 September I graduated and finished my stint at rehab, having learnt so much. Going to church and having so many friends there has been such a huge motivating factor for me to stay clean.
I was talking with my hairdresser about my journey, and he asked me if I was still going to church. Our conversation was overheard by a woman who just happened to be the reverend at a local church in Ōtaki. She invited me along to the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group there. I decided to go because I was trusting God more and there was no way this was a coincidence—meeting a priest, who runs an AA meeting while at the hairdresser! I got the message, Lord! I go to AA every week, and I’m working the Twelve-Step Programme. The priest is now my sponsor and a very good friend. I also attend NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings in Levin twice a week.
I was asked recently what my favourite thing about being sober is, and my answer was my mental stability and the ability to emotionally regulate. When I’m anxious, I pray for calmness. When I’m angry, I pray for peace. When I’m triggered, I ask Jesus to take the wheel and remove these awful feelings, and it happens immediately—I can’t explain it.
Shaan and I have taken things slowly, co-parenting effectively with the help and support of both our mums. As of Christmas Day 2022, we are officially husband and wife again. With God’s help, we are rebuilding trust in each other. Our communication is amazing, and we have a whole new life of love and laughter.
Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on me! I feel so blessed to be a child of God, and a sober one at that.