name is Shana Hope Johnston. I am 35 years old. At the age of 12 I began
drinking and smoking marijuana. I had my first child at the age of 14.
After I had my daughter I was introduced to Methamphetamine. It did not take me
long to become addicted. By the time I was 16 I was a heroin addict. I did not
care about anything around me. My mother took care of my children and I had no
responsibilities. At 18 I went to jail for the first time. Eventually this
became a revolving door. By this time I had 3 children.
Wanting to get my life
together, I went to every program available. I always ended up leaving. I
eventually went to prison and that also became a revolving door. My life was in
shambles and all I wanted was to get high and not feel anything. I am a product
of my environment. My whole family had some sort of drug problem. Heroin and
crack cocaine was something that was a normal occurrence in my household. I
thought it was normal to use some sort of substance. I never knew it would
destroy my life like it did.
of Woman came into my life in 2007 when I was facing 6 years in prison. I can
remember Vivian coming to get me from Fresno County Jail. That was the
beginning of a new start. I was met by loving staff that genuinely wanted the
best for me and my children. I was never taught to take care of a home, daily
tasks or how to be a mother. Vivian put me into a job right away taking care of
linens and welcoming the new girls. For the first time, I had responsibilities.
My daughter came to the program in the second week which I had many struggles
with. I spent a lot of time in the office of whatever staff was available.
Their door was always open. I can also remember crying in Ms. Audrey's office.
Of course I was always given wonderful words of wisdom!! Eventually
I learned to be the mother I am today.
What I liked most about the program was
the therapy I received where I could process the feelings of being an
inadequate mother, molestation, and rape. I believe that therapy is a very
important component of the recovering process. I had never spoken about the
molestation or rape until I was in Spirit of Woman. This was definitely the
beginning point of my recovery.
I am an intern at Spirit of Woman. I have come back to the very place that
changed my life. I am committed to this program because, in my opinion, it is
the best. I want to be part of an organization that truly love the woman
and children that come through the doors. In all the programs I have been in,
Spirit of Woman was the most welcoming and caring place. There are no words to
describe the admiration I have for all the staff at Spirit of Woman. I hope to
one day be a part of this wonderful organization. Each day that I am at the
program I can remember different steps in my recovery while at the same time I
am learning to be of service to others. This has been a wonderful learning
experience so far.
Thank you so much for the opportunity of a new life.