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Riassunto: My name is Andrea Bowman. I’ve lived a life like many others; perhaps, a life similar to yours. In my sane and sober moments, I wanted to change my life but didn’t have the strength to do it. I realized I had lost my self respect, forsaken my children, alienated my family, and was slowly killing myself. My life progressed from bad to worse. I looked in the mirror and saw a stranger-one I did not like. Perhaps, you see the same. My main desire in writing my story and my steps of recovery down on paper is the hope that it will lead others to Christ and give God the glory He is due for changing my life. God has restored my self-esteem, my family relationships, my daughters, my health, and given me unconditional love, peace, joy, acceptance, and forgiveness. I am including a brief “picture” of my past in the hope that some of my readers will recognize themselves and realize that no matter where they are in their life, they still have a choice to change because nothing is impossible for God (Mark 10:27). It all started when I ran away from home at 14 years old. Not wanting to abide by my parents rules, I decided to go out on my own. I hitchhiked to San Francisco where I knew no one. I found myself living on the streets resorting to prostitution and theft to support myself. Within a very short period of time, I became involved in drugs so deeply that without them I became physically sick. I resorted to any means I could to support my habits. Throughout the years I went to several treatment facilities and attended different recovery programs. These only helped for short periods of time before they failed and I returned back to my old habits. I became involved in many unhealthy and violent relationships during my addiction including numerous failed marriages. I subjected my children to severe emotional upheaval which led me to losing my parental rights and my daughters being taken away. In the midst of my fast-lane living, I was exposed to Hepatitis C and HIV along with my drug use. I became very sick and, at one point, several doctors told me I had less than 6 months to live. This only drove me further from my family and deeper into my addiction. I had lost hope in my life and felt that I deserved whatever happened to me. At one point, I was arrested and jailed but the amount of time I spent locked down was not sufficient enough for the fog to lift and my thinking to clear. Once back on the street, I started manufacturing my own drugs. This time out, I was worse off that before – running rampant in vicious circles of addiction until I was finally arrested again in 2005. This time I received a sentence of 8 years. Four years to be served in the Washington Corrections Center for Women and four years of strict parole. During my incarceration, I began to read my Bible and go to church. While attending chapel in the prison, I met a woman named Pastor Jody Pickney who took an interest in my spiritual well being. It was because of her encouragement and the godly example she set for all of the women prisoners in her services that my outlook began to change. I started on a new path to recovery. From the beginning of this journey, I have discovered the love of my life, Jesus Christ, and He has set me free from the bondage of addiction, sin, and death. My inspiration is Jesus, and through His power and the Holy Spirit, this book was made possible. My qualifications for writing this book are based on my life experiences and my faith in Christ to guide my pen. My task is not to convince you of God’s grace and wisdom in my own words, but to testify of the truth of the gospel and God’s love for each of us individually. In our own way, we are all prisoners to something or someone. Why not be set free by Christ Jesus? I hope this book will bless you, inspire you, and influence your heart, mind, and soul. Change is possible—I am living proof! God bless you.
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