Former addict helps others stay clean and sober
Written by Julie Borgen, Twin Cities Media Relations Director for the Salvation Army Northern Division
Nearly 11 years ago, Pat Stevens (pictured above) landed at The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis, desperate for a fresh start.
“I got here broken. Spiritually, mentally, physically, I was a mess,” she said. “The Salvation Army saved my life, thank you Jesus.”
Stevens spent much of her adult life addicted to drugs and lost everything she cared about in the process.
“My life was totally out of control, I was on drugs for 30 years. I lost my kids in 2002, and didn’t really put my life back together until 2009.”
Today, at age 60, Stevens is reunited with her children and loves being grandma to seven grandkids. She’s married to a man she met in recovery at The Salvation Army and now volunteers at Harbor Light.
“I am a beacon of light to a lot of women, I am proof you can turn it around,” she explained.
“Pat has been such an inspiration and a support for me,” said Kristin Jeter, who attends the class. “I’m here to celebrate my sobriety with this class, it helps to have support from other women who have been through the same battles.”
“I live in sober housing now, and I’ve been clean for 15 months,” she explained. “I come here for Pat’s class, both to keep myself on the right path, and to support her and other women here. She was an advocate for me when I was homeless.”
This class and others (like exercise, job searching and even learning to grow orchids) were created by Captain Katherine Clausell, leader of the Harbor Light Center, and Captain Clara Braddock, pastor of the church here.
“The idea is to create community and provide our guests with life skills to help them get back on their feet,” explained Capt. Clausell (pictured, right). “We know that without a good support system, many people will end up right where they started. So we are doing what we can to make sure that doesn’t happen once they leave here.”
Stevens says she is forever grateful for the help she received at The Salvation Army, and giving back is her way of sharing the love that transformed her life.
“I promised God that if he got me through this, I would be his servant and help others, too, ” she said. “He led me here and The Salvation Army prayed with me, they restored me. Now I’m filled to the top.”