Five days after Laura graduated from Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program, she suffered a heart attack. “I was sitting in my room, getting ready for bed…and I called down to staff to come to my room, ‘stat’,” Laura said. “…That was just a wakeup call from God.”
Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, Laura was very close with her father. When Laura was 13, her father suffered from liver cancer, spending five weeks in the hospital before passing away. “I was really upset with God for taking him away when I was so young,” Laura said. “And that was when I started drinking.” Laura’s addiction to alcohol was a reoccurring battle throughout her life. A never ending cycle of achieving sobriety and relapsing, Laura’s drinking eventually led to losing her Certified Nursing Assistant license.
Desperate for help, Laura arrived at Open Door Mission in October 2014. “When I walked in, I was crying,” Laura said. “The staff made sure I got a bed and something to eat, and I surrendered that day. I knew the moment I walked in that God had brought me here.”
Laura has since successfully graduated from the New Life Recovery Program. She has learned to embrace God’s peace. “I have been learning to love myself again and to trust other women,” said Laura. She has also found closure after the death of her father and reconnected with her sisters.
She enjoys being a support for the other women at the Lydia House. “This year will be fun and exciting!…I’ve been encouraging [the other women]…it is overwhelming to see how much the donors love us and want to make our holiday the best ever.”
Laura’s heart attack brought an unexpected blessing. While in the Emergency Room, Laura prayerfully called her teenaged daughter to tell her the situation. Years earlier, Laura’s daughter had moved out due to Laura’s drinking, and it has been three years since they have seen each other. When Laura’s daughter heard about the heart attack, she came to Omaha to visit Laura, and their relationship was restored.
Laura’s daughter has forgiven Laura’s mistakes and is proud to see progress towards lasting change. Laura is currently working full time at a nearby hotel, is close to getting a car, and plans to renew her CNA license. Laura expects this Christmas to be even brighter, with hopes that she and her daughter will get to spend it together. Her daughter plans to pursue being a pediatric assistant, being a nurse just like her mother.
As for the heart attack, Laura says “It taught me to slow down and enjoy life. I can trust God and live in His peace.”