A Second Chance: Cynthia's Story

Feb 5, 2018

“God saved me, and I know if he saved me, he can save anybody.” Cynthia Williams states this with absolute conviction. It is the truth that guides her every day as she works one-on-one with her clients at The Salvation Army's Harbor Light Center. 

For twenty years, Cynthia struggled with a drug addiction while living a double life. She would often work two jobs to both fund her habit and continue to provide for her children, all without her family and friends knowing the truth of her situation. “I was a good chameleon,” she shares. “I still dressed nicely and took my kids to school. I still cooked, went to school programs, cleaned, was a mom, all because I didn’t want anyone to know the real Cynthia. I wore many masks.”

Cynthia’s moment of truth came after a weekend of using that left her penniless and stranded on the side of the road. Sitting in her car, Cynthia knew she’d hit rock bottom. “I just looked up and said, ‘God, kill me now, because death has got to be better than this. I’m tired.’” She got out of her car and started walking toward the hospital where she worked. That day marked the first day of her recovery and the turning point in her life.

This fall, Cynthia will celebrate fourteen years of recovery. In that time she has earned two degrees and is on her way to a Masters of Divinity. As a counselor at the Harbor Light Center, Cynthia uses her own story to forge connections with men and women still struggling to break free from addiction. Many are so discouraged by their past that they cannot imagine a better future. It’s a difficult psychological barrier to overcome.

“I tell my clients all the time, ‘We’re not bad people. We make bad choices, but we’re not bad people. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re a bad person. You’re a good person. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made, that’s what God says in the Bible.’” Cynthia knows that her recovery truly began when she finally surrendered to God. It’s a lesson she passes on to her clients, encouraging them to look at this journey as one they do not have to take alone.

Every day, Cynthia walks the halls of The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center as proof that God provides second chances for everyone. She hasn’t forgotten her past, but her eyes are focused on a future that had once felt out of reach. “I don’t think about using drugs at all, because I have faith enough in the God that I serve,” she declares. “He delivered me, so there’s no way I can go back. Even when I was at my worst, God cared enough about me to say, ‘I still love you.’ I owe my life to Him and I owe my life to serving people.”

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