'God has given me back what I lost'
If you look at me now, it is hard to believe what I went through in my life. It was not so long ago and it was real – 10 years in the hell of addiction.

I followed my husband in using drugs when we still lived in the Ukraine. You know how it usually happens – the street, bad company, looking for kef… When we came to Israel, I tried everything available on the drug market. We needed money all the time. My husband started robbing people and I helped him. We began to have problems with the police; the owners of our rented apartments would force us to leave their property. Soon I was rejected even by my own mother.

When you start using drugs, you feel fine at first and you do not notice how quickly you lose your health. I turned into a thin, scary figure. When my husband was in jail, I did everything I could to get money for drugs. I used to help him get out of jail, but the police would arrest him again soon. Our little daughter was taken from us by the Social Services; we were not allowed to raise her by ourselves.

Then I hit the bottom! I would sell drugs – for a fix or some food. I had no home, no belongings, no rest. Several times I tried rehabilitation programs, but I could not hold on for more than one month. Sometimes I thought about taking an overdose that would end my suffering. In those times, my mother did not know anything about me for weeks and had already “buried” me in her thoughts.

One day, on the streets of south Tel Aviv, I met Julia. She told me about herself – that she was a former addict and lived in a Christian place. Julia said, “If you want, you can go there, live with Christians and become clean from drugs.”

I knew who Jesus was. I even considered myself a Russian Orthodox Christian and prayed to God when I needed help or wanted Him to keep me from getting caught. When I went to live with these Christians, I suddenly felt so good being among them – as if the finest oil anointed my heart. I had no doubts, this was the way out! My crisis came and went easily. One night when I had a strong desire to take drugs, I went to the prayer hall and prayed with another girl. It helped. The people there were kind to me; I found real friends among them. Pleasant faces, normal lives – so different from the suffering of the streets. That is how I found out there was a God – and He is real, He saves people.

I spent three months living among the Christians, but then I left them because I thought something offended me. I returned to drugs, but understood quite soon that I could no longer live as before. So I suppressed my pride and returned. “No problem, we can take you, if you want,” was their answer to me. Words that brought me great relief.

It’s been three years already since my new life with God began! His love is much greater than the one drugs pretend to give. Actually, every human being is searching for this love – but I was looking in the wrong place! God gave me love, joy and spirituality. In the past I used drugs to ease the pain in my heart and forget everything. But then I woke up and the suffering and pain continued! Now I rejoice always no matter what, for I know that my God is with me.

My life has changed direction, as if it made a u-turn. So many things have happened since then! I prayed for my husband, a professional thief. He has found the Lord. I study and work. And a beautiful miracle – my one-year-old daughter is growing up in our home. I am a happy person. My oldest daughter, my mother and brother are all proud of me. We are so close now. My husband found a good job and is making good progress in it.

What do I want to say to you? The hope is real! Your health and family can be restored and the joy of life can return to you. It is not a fairy tale. God can give you everything you have lost – and give you even more than you ever dreamed about!

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