Healing one step at a time

Alicia Rigsby points to the name Jesus, who she credits for saving her from a path of destruction.

“My name is Alicia Rigsby and I am an addict. BUT, I am so much more than that.”

These are sobering words that began a journey of healing for a mother of three. One step at a time with God’s grace, Alicia is getting her life back together after a long road of being lost.

“I cannot stress enough the only reason I am here is the love of Christ,” said Alicia who was once a user of methamphetamine. “He is the only reason I can say I am okay, and I am no longer afraid.”

Alicia’s story is like so many others who become addicted to drugs. Living a normal life doesn’t guarantee safety from an unforeseen future. One day, she says, you can have it all together, and the next, due to a bad choice, the life you once knew can be swept away in a minute, leaving you unrecognizable to even yourself.

“I grew up with a single mom and helped keep after my sisters. This made me very mature for my age. I was homeschooled but it was all pretty normal,” said Alicia who was never in any kind of trouble growing up. “I was together.” Alicia says she did what a lot of kids do, went on mission trips, went to church on Wednesdays and Sundays, and lived a pretty good childhood.

Alicia met her husband Kevin when she was just 16 years old and he 15. It was her first date and she knew right away he was the one. Marriage followed as did children. It seemed as if the fairytale she saw as a child on the movie screen was exactly what she had hoped it would be. Unfortunately, the evil in those tales is also very real.

“My husband went down the wrong path before me,” admitted Alicia. “I wanted to be close to him and the division that drug use caused was so hard to bear with someone you love.” Alicia says she took the “can’t beat em, join em” excuse, and followed her first love into darkness.

“We told ourselves we would only do it on the weekends to have a good time,” said Alicia about meth. “But then it never stopped. I literally became a prisoner in my own body. My brain was telling me to stop and I was asking myself what on earth are you doing? How could you do this?” Alicia said it all happened so gradually, kind of sneaking up on her until it had its grip.

When Alicia’s husband was eventually caught manufacturing methamphetamine, she got sober for 29 months by attending programs designed to battle drug addiction. She thought she had escaped the misery she had put herself through, but in time, she slipped back into old habits and was soon on the wrong side of the law once again. The second time she thought she had lost her children for good. This brought Alicia to her knees and at the feet of Jesus.

“I am well aware of this journey I am on. I know the pitfalls and I know the devil was out to get me and still is. The difference this time is that I know God is with me and I know He is the only way I can stay clean. It is because of Him that I am no longer scared like I was. I could not say that before, as it was always nagging in the back of my head and bothered me so much. Now, I am free. I am free of those feelings. I am free of the grip methamphetamine had on me.”

The number one responsibility, said Alicia, is her children. She can’t waste time looking back, and can only look forward to hopefully use what has happened to her as a teaching tool, not only for her kids but others who battle addiction.

“I don’t want people who are addicted to drugs to give up on themselves. They need to know that they too, can pull themselves out with the help of Jesus. You are loved. He is there waiting for you to grab on and you can be saved,” Alicia says adding, “If I can help one person, just one, then what I went through is worth it because I would never be able to testify to someone else without traveling through it myself.”

July 15th, Alica has been sober for 18 months. Her husband received 15 years in prison for his role in manufacturing methamphetamine but Alicia was given probation to go home and raise her kids.

Although Commonwealth Attorney Neil Kerr sought a hefty prison sentence for her husband, based upon criminal history and his actions in the case, he agreed to recommend probation for Alicia.

“Based on all of the information I had, I decided it was worth the risk to recommend that Alicia be placed on supervised probation to give those kids a chance to be raised by their mother. In this case, both Kevin and Alicia worked for over a year with various social workers and participated in programs provided to reunite parents and children in situations with drug use in the home. By all accounts, they had done well and the children were thriving at home.”

Alicia claims her husband is using his testimony to help those behind bars with him. She still loves him and prays for him daily. It is her prayer he can come home to his family one day and the fairytale can resume as they ride off into the sunset.

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