The summer streets of Phoenix are hot, unbearably hot. Spending just ten minutes out in the desert sun is enough to send most of us running to the nearest air conditioner. But just imagine what summer would be like if there was nowhere to run, if those sun-baked streets were less of a temporary inconvenience and more of a permanent residence.

Elizabeth, a recent graduate of our recovery program, doesn’t have to imagine it – she lived it. In fact, thanks to an addiction to meth, she was forced to survive six homeless, blisteringly hot summers in a row before she finally found hope.

I started on meth when I was 18. I worked as a topless dancer in Yuma and meth just kinda went along with that lifestyle. I didn’t realize at the time where it would take me.”

Elizabeth was a functional addict for almost 13 years, managing to balance her drug use and hold down jobs for reasonable amounts of time – that is until life took a turn for the worse.

“I got into a couple of abusive relationships. While I was fleeing one of them, I was shot in the hip. Not by my boyfriend, but by a completely random drive-by shooter. Not long after I recovered, I was hit by a car while out on a walk. It was one thing after another.”

The constant trauma was too much for Elizabeth to handle, so she reached out to methamphetamine for comfort. It was a decision that ruined her life.

“Meth took everything I had left. I was on the streets for almost seven years, living in abandoned trailers or shacks when I could find them, fishing for clothes in dumpsters… I got food stamps but I only used a tiny amount for food to survive, the rest I sold for more meth.”

But in 2013 something happened to Elizabeth that she wasn’t prepared for, something that would finally replace her addiction as the primary motivation in her life – Elizabeth became pregnant.

“I called my mother for the first time in a long time because I didn’t know where else to turn. Fortunately, she told my brother about my situation. He got me in contact with the Changing Lives Center.”

From that point on, Elizabeth’s life completely changed.

“The moment I arrived at the CLC I was amazed at how much love the staff showed me. I felt a connection right away – it was instant.”

Elizabeth was seven and a half months pregnant when she enrolled at the CLC. Thanks to the care and guidance of our counselors and staff she’s gained the tools she needed to break the addiction that has haunted her life for the past 20 years.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve been baptized, I’ve got my GED and I’ve given birth to the light of my life, my son Justin. My life has completely turned around. God has given me a great gift – a chance to start over. I know I’ll be able to provide for my son now because I’m good up here [points to her head] and good in here [points to her heart].”

This is the kind of permanent life-change you make possible by partnering with the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Because of friends like you more and more forgotten and lost souls like Elizabeth are finding their way off our sweltering streets and into brand new futures filled with hope.

Thank you for the loving prayers and support that continues to transform lives and bring hope to those that need it most!

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