Testimonies

Who am I? It is very simple: I am Aurelia, an alcoholic!
If ten years ago somebody would have told me that I was to became an alcoholic, I would have been able to became agressive to that person, in spite of my peaceful nature. Yet I became an alcoholic.
Until 45 I spent my life without having ups and downs. I had a good job – engineer in chemistry – I had a house and a son. Having been divorced I needed only a person to share good and bad. In those years I consumed alcohol but not is an excessive way. I liked to have a cognac now and then at different occasions, but I didn’t develop a drinking habit.
In 2001 I began to drink quite often. I also met a man, a regular drinker. We got to know each other and after a while we decided to live together. I began to have problems at work and with my son. The emerging problems led me to an encreasing drinking by which I hoped to avoid the unpleasent things in life. I began to get deeper and deeper into the vicious circle of drunkenness without being aware of it. Drinking after work became a daily routine. I liked vodca and cognac. It was already 2005 when after a detox I recognized my alcohol-problem. Then I told it was never to happen again, but I was wrong. After three months of abstinence I thought I was able to control my alcohol consumption, but it turned even worse. How I longed to get home from work to have that drink! Day by day I bought my bottles of vodca and hid them from my son and my husband. There was nobody with me to help me stop drinking. Each day my husband arrived home himself drunk, blaming a threatening me with divorce. My son looked for a job far away from me and home. My only joy remained the bottle of vodca. The daily amount in 2006 was 1,5-2 litres. I wasn’t concerned any more of my looks, of what people told neither of my job. During worktime I was aware of all the evil I was doing to myself, promising to myself not to drink anymore. Yet the first thing after I arrived home was to provide my daily vodca enough until next day.
In August 2006 I had my second detox, followed by a four month long period of abstinence. Then I started drinking again. My husband left me, so there I was alone again. I drowned my bitterness and loneliness in alcohol. My mother kept praying for me. She tried to control me, but I always found the way to buy and hide my drink. I needed a quick shot of 300 ml vodca in the morning to become functional. I made promises to not drink on a daily basis, yet I wasn’t able to stop.
My faith in God weakened to almost nothing: I remembered Him less and less. Yet He cared for me. He showed me in a dream through a priest, that there was time to quit drinking. That dream scared me so much, that from that moment I didn’t drink any more. I got acquainted to the A.A. group, which became a new family for me. Two and a half years passed since then. I regained my trust in God and in my own strength. Now I try to help other alcoholics sharing my story with them.
I also participated in the group therapy programs of the Association „Identitatea”. There I could identify those thoughts and feelings which prevented me of becoming the person God meant me to be. I learned how to conquer my own weaknesses, following the call of Jesus. Now I work as a volunteer with the Association since it’s beginnings.
I am greatful to God and to all who helped and supported me in these two wonderful years of abstinence, and I desire to make people understand the monstruosity of the disease called alcoholism.

Aurelia

The police found Flori (Florentina) at a very young age, suffering severe pain as her mother had maimed her fingers by binding them together so tight, that the fingers would get black and fall off. This way Flori would be able to raise more money through begging to support her mother and herself in later life. Flori also has big scars of burns on her arms. (We read on Internet that in 2011 a gang of rroma was arrested, who maimed 168 children destined to beg for the gang in the UK) The mother was imprisoned and that is all she knows about her family. Through different operations, the grip function of her hands were restored but she was maimed for life. Growing up in orphanages with often a lack of personal, many times the 'big girls' were in control, they forced Flori from the age of 6 and on, to beg for money, so the girls could buy their goodies, cigarettes, etc, and Flori was beaten severely with broomsticks when she came home and didn't have the expected amount of money for the girls. After growing up in different orphanages, she finally found shelter in one of the Christian girls homes from Mama Sue, were she was introduced to the love of Jesus for the first time. When older she got a cleaning job, yet in her longing for love and belonging she found herself being used for sex by the old man she worked for, although the man was pretending, 'that he wanted to be a father for her'. When relatives of the man found out, she was thrown out on the streets of the small city she lived in, despised by everyone and refused to get back in the Christian home she was before. Former friends were looking down on her and in her despair she started to cut herself and got into prostitution to survive. In February 2010 she came to Bucharest, was severely raped and came to our center for help. She could barely walk and was in a lot of pain. She was also very confused, so we prayed and cared for her. After a week of treatment in the hospital against syphilis, she continued to live in the streets, were she was introduced to sniffing glue and shooting the legal botanic drugs. Through sharing needles she contracted the HIV virus, also lice and scabies as she was sleeping in the sewers (canal) . It looked like things got only worse, but we didn't give up praying for her and she always kept coming to all our programs and in our church services. She needed medication for various infections and dr Abigiu, (Prof. Matei Bals Hospital) asked Lisa (who went with her to the hospital), if Flori could sleep in our center in order to get the HIV blockers in the morning and evening. We then offered Florentina a room, but still, she often ran back to the street and the drugs, as after a life so full of abuse, being sincerely loved and cared for was too frightening... Then it turned out she was pregnant through prostitution. We were shocked of course. With the first check up different doctors told her that, she or the baby would die, because she was HIV pos., Hepatitis C positive and also had epilepsy. She must have an abortion. They didn't want to help her, to have the baby, as they believed once an addict. We knew this couldn't be true, but here in Bucharest they tell this to all HIV positive pregnant woman we found out. It was a big dilemma as she also had many epileptic insults, but respect for life and faith in God, gave us the strength to keep fighting for Flori and the baby. Lisa moved temporarily with Flori in an apartment outside of Bucharest and arranged for maternity checks and for the birth in another city. Through the Grace of God, Flori is now completely free from drugs for one year, has no desire to live in the street anymore, she is healed from epilepsy and many other infections, had a smooth delivery and the baby boy, now almost 9 Months is very healthy and handsome! From birth on and recent blood tests proved, he is HIV and Hepatitis NEGATIVE! Flori now 29 years old, (but because of the damage through abuse, still on a teenage level) and her baby became part of our Victory Outreach and personal family. With the help of Lisa, she is learning to become a good mom. Flori herself feels stronger and healthier than ever before and most important is growing in faith and trust in Jesus! The connection with her friends from the center she lived before is also restored, every Sunday they (2-4 girls) come to our church service and we are becoming an extended family for them too! People even Christians, told us in the beginning when we came to Bucharest, 'these addicted street girls are beyond help', don't bother to invest too much time and money in them. Well, we believe in the power of prayer and Jesus Christ, that His love never fails and goes a long, long way! Of course we realize that the healing process will still take some years, but nothing is more rewarding than to see a desolate, abused and hopeless addicted life, change in a beautiful girl, mother, woman of God! Glory to God! Also the little baby boy is a bundle of joy, who has a positive effect on all of us here in our center! We're so happy we didn't give up on Flori and so we'll continue to have hope and fight for many more girls and boys in Romania!

Florentina

I first tried drugs when I was 13 with a class-mate. I smoked heroine for 4 months after which I started to inject it. I was addicted for 10 years. A month after my first time I started to consume it daily – two or three times a day. After 3 months I felt bad if I didn’t consume it regularly. This forced me to consume more if I wanted it or not. Because of drugs I quit school. I’ve only gone though 9th grade. My friends rejected me and I couldn’t keep a steady job. I lost my trust in myself and in others. Lots of times I left home for short periods of time. After ten years wasted like this I realized that I hadn’t done anything good in life and I wanted to change. That is how I got to Teen Challenge. Recovery is very hard here because one has to study much. Before coming to Teen Challenge I never read a book. Here I have to read two books per week besides one hour a day from the Bible. It’s hard. It’s a lot easier for teens if they don’t try drugs at all, no matter what type. A weaker drug always leads to a strong one. Sometime you will get to the peek, from where there’s no way out. One more thing: avoid having friends that consume drugs and don’t call them “friends” because an addicted person has no friends, but people he uses.

Alex Ruptureanu
(alias Bebe), age 23

I first smoked marijuana and hashish at my high-school. When I was 21 I smoked heroine for three months and then switched to injections. My sister’s boyfriend did it, too and spending more and more time with him I wanted to do it also. That was the beginning. He introduced me to some more addicted friends of his. It was hard to get out of their midst. I was addicted for 4 years. I worked for the Romanian Information Service (SRI), but because of the drugs I lost this job. I had lost the ability to keep a steady job even though I tried in many different places. What made things worse was that I was kicked out of my house. I was so desperate for drugs that I sold my car. Actually I was desperate from all points of view: I had nowhere to stay, the relationship with my family was horrible and I was sick of the way I was living. Now I am at Teen Challenge. Recovering is hard. It was especially hard at the beginning when I didn’t understand much of the therapy… but as I continued to study the Bible and read other books I started to understand what real life is, so I started to grasp as much of it as possible. When I think of other teens I want them never to try drugs under any form. It can be fatal!

Dan Dragan
age 25

I first made contact with drugs when I was 17. A few friends in the neighborhood had started it already and kept telling us how fascinating it was. I started smoking heroine for six months. After that I injected it for 8 years because my body kept asking for more. The first two years I did it for pleasure and because my best friend, being rich, bought it for me. After the two years he moved to another country, so I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t because I ached all over, so I stole in order to get money for my daily dose. My body and my mind kept asking for it. After 5 years of being addicted I had no friends. My girlfriend with who I was going to get married to left me, my family kicked me out of the house. After three months on the street someone from Teen Challenge found me. I didn’t finish high-school and I can’t get into college. I couldn’t keep a steady job. I would work where ever anybody would give me a job, but I couldn’t keep it for long. I felt a strong desire to change. Before the people from Teen Challenge found me I wanted to commit suicide. The first month of being at the Centre was pretty easy, but it got harder because my body was readapting. It was also very hard for me to give up some things because I strongly believed them. The change is not at all easy. I’m still fighting. Young people should not believe that if they try drugs ones they can stop when ever they want. No one could. Me neither!

Catalin Georgescu
age 26