I lay unconscious and dying on a couch in a trailer on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. I was 23, and the chains of addiction held a tight grip on me. It was during this dark time in my life that I first encountered Christ. Today, I’m free from meth, the drug Satan used to attack me.
I had a bittersweet childhood. Both of my parents struggled with addiction. They divorced, and my papa and grandma helped raise me. Their influence in my life, nurturing me with the love of Christ, enabled me to survive and eventually break free from bondage.
In my early 20s, my father died suddenly, presumably of a massive heart attack. My grieving was unfathomable, considering I didn’t know Christ at the time. I surrounded myself with people immersed in the drug scene as I sought to fill the void. I turned first to heroin, then meth, and was immediately taken captive by the chains of addiction.
For the next five or six years, I was a hardcore IV meth user. I lost everything, living in motel rooms and alleyways. I was homeless. I found myself in several abusive and toxic relationships with men. A lot of the people around me died from drug overdose, suicide or even murder. It was terrifying.
In 2010, by a miracle from God, my mother found me on that couch in my unconscious state. At the hospital, doctors diagnosed me with a staph infection I had contracted from a dirty needle. I had strep in my blood and liver failure from the prolonged infection.
That night, two women from a church came to my hospital room and laid hands on me and prayed over me in Jesus’ name. I felt the peace and the presence of Jesus wash over me. I knew then it was God and longed to fall in love with him.
For several years after that, I struggled to get clean. I kept immersing myself in drugs. Yet I never forgot the peace, comfort and unconditional love I felt that night in the hospital.
God gave me a second chance to surrender my heart when I came to another crossroads in 2012. I was living in a motel in downtown Colorado Springs, and I knew if something didn’t change, I would die there.
I found a Bible in my motel room and slept with it under my pillow when I felt scared. As I opened it and began to read, I fell in love with Psalm 23. It’s hard not to fall in love with Jesus. He’s just such a beautiful mystery.
I began to pray adamantly for a way out, and I felt God fighting for my life and my soul. Once I started praying, it didn’t take long for hope to shine through.
By another miracle, my aunt found me on the street. She knew my struggles, and she offered me hope and a chance for a new life if I would come and work alongside her in ministry on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
By Christ’s strength and my own faith, I put down the drugs and picked up my cross and followed him. I was just three days clean off meth when my aunt brought me to South Dakota. I never could’ve done it on my own, but because I willingly opened my heart to him, Jesus carried me out of that dark place.
My aunt and I worked in ministry together in Whiteclay, Neb., a town near the reservation with 14 residents and four liquor stores. Many people lived on the streets and struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. Experiencing the brokenness of others and showing them God’s love helped me forget about myself and my own problems.
Not long after that, I gave my life to Jesus at a church in Rapid City, S.D. It felt like my heart and soul were dipped into a pool of cleansing water, and I was immediately healed.
Coming out of addiction was hard, and I still struggle occasionally as a result of my past. Jesus doesn’t promise to take all our troubles away, but he does promise to be with us, comforting us, through them all.
I’ve been clean more than five years now, and I live a life of unexplainable peace and joy that can only come from Christ. Breaking free from the bondage of addiction was like coming out of a bad dream, from darkness into light. Jesus made beauty from the ashes of my past. It’s miraculous how far he’s brought me.
By Meghan Shagla with Janae Rempel
Meghan Shagla is church secretary at Bible Fellowship Church in Rapid City, S.D., the church where she was married to her husband, Caine, was baptized and now works. Meghan frequently shares her testimony at the “Passages” program for women transitioning out of prison. She has ministered to people struggling with addiction and held Bible studies, using every chance she gets to tell people what Jesus has done in her life. When she’s not working at Bible Fellowship Church, Meghan works in property management.