July 5, 2012-
Prayer is now a regular part of 41-year-old Christine Stewart's routine. It wasn't always this way.
"I've been homeless, prostituting, living on the streets. This was my third time in prison," said Stewart.
She turned to drugs at 25 while living in Pennsylvania. She said the man she was with first turned her on to them.
"Started out with methodone, then it went to pills, cocaine, and crack. It's a lifestyle, but it's a hopeless feeling. It's the getting, the using, everyday. Get up, to get more, to try to get more." she said as she recounted her drug use.
To support her habit, Stewart turned to a life of prostitution and living on the streets.
"It was easy money. And then I used that money to buy drugs. And then I met other women, and that's all they did, and it was easy money. At the end I was making 800 to 1000 dollars a day and spending it all on drugs."
Stewart has four children: two live with their fathers, and two live with her dad. Stewart's life has splintered her relationship with her family.
"My mom died in 2005 and I didn't get to go to her funeral because I was in my addiction here...and my dad hasn't spoken to me in 10 years," Stewart said as she fought back tears.
Now there's hope. Stewart says her third time in jail was her last.
She has been taken in by Radical Restoration ministries, a faith based organization that takes women like Stewart off the streets. She is being helped by people like Hollie Bargerstock who overcame her own addictions and now devotes her life to helping people like Christine. She says in just three months, Stewart has changed dramatically.
"She is everyday in her bible, praying, working through her problems and knows that one day God is going to open the door to reunite her with her children," said Bargerstock.
Stewart now works at PAWS Pet Boutique in Tallahassee as she continues to put the pieces of her life back together. Her next step is hopefully speaking with her dad. She hopes that her message will get to him.
"I am changed and I'll work very hard to gain his trust back, and that I apologize, but I'm very thankful he raised my children."