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“I became a stripper and a drug addict at the age of 15. I used my bible to snort cocaine and I sat at the back of church high wearing sunglasses. The underworld had become my home, but a miracle happened that completely turned my life around.”
You will read many stories about people turning their lives around from addictions and breaking free from the events of their past, but what makes this story an extraordinary one, is the fact that this is truly a modern day miracle.
With great confidence and conviction Melinda Williams proudly tells the world that her restoration wasn’t down to will power, amazing counselling sessions or a drug rehabilitation programme. Melinda’s addiction was broken instantly in an intimate moment with God. She has been drug free since this awesome experience in 2007.
To prove that there is hope; Melinda uses her astonishing ordeal as a platform to encourage others who have been on a similar path.
At the tender age of 15, while she was still attending senior school in Newark, Melinda was taken by a close member of her family to what she thought was a job interview. When she arrived at the building, she was forced to lie about her age and was coaxed into stripping in front of a large unfamiliar crowd. That night opened a sinister porthole of destruction that led to a ten year span of stripping which was forced onto her by manipulation and mental abuse.
Melinda became a chronic drug addict and her weekends as well as two nights during the week were spent stripping till two o’clock in the morning. She was also forced to pose for famous top shelf adult magazines. This caused her school grades to drastically fall and at the age of 16, she left school with only two GCSEs.
Melinda eventually fled from her family home and had no choice but to embrace the street life. During this time, she began to sell drugs as well as strip to feed her habit. Melinda found a false sense of security in the deepest parts of the underworld, the future looked bleak because she was trapped by her addiction and Melinda began to accept what she thought was her fate, but a miracle happened.
What was your lowest point?
I just wanted to be miles away from my family home in Newark because of the abuse. At the age of 16, in 1996, I ended up in Scotland and I found myself in a relationship with someone who was ten years older than me. I thought that he truly loved and respected me but it turned out to be another controlling and abusive relationship. He caused me to feel neglected, rejected and alone.
I just wanted to die, I remember taking a concoction of class A and B drugs mixed with as much alcohol as I could get my hands on; I even tried overdosing on medication, but nothing worked. After exhausting all other avenues of suicide that I could think of, I asked God for something to live for and at the age of 19, I found out I was pregnant, but even that couldn’t break my addiction.
After I gave birth to my son the abuse got worse. On one occasion, I found the strength to call the police, but it didn’t work in my favour, I was locked in the house for days with no form of communication because of my defiance and I was only allowed to eat once a day. On one occasion, my son’s father was so full of rage that he violently pressed his thumbs into my eye sockets and forced his fingers into my mouth to try to rip it open to destroy my smile. I wanted my life to end because I felt that there was no way out.
How did you escape?
During a trip to our local supermarket, I was given permission to go to change my son’s nappy and as I turned to walk away, something deep down inside told me to run. I grabbed my child and absconded through the supermarket car park; into the village and then straight into the police station. Thank God on this occasion, they took what I had to say seriously and with the help of the police we returned back to my family home in Newark. My family issues and an on-going court case led me to find my own accommodation, but the further I moved away from my abusive home environment, the closer I was drawn to the underworld. I had an uncontrollable urge to seek for safety as I had never felt secure at home.
I found myself living in a house in Nottingham with my son surrounded by other addicts, drug dealers and murderers. I bought a gun for protection and my paranoia led me to call the police, because I felt so on edge that I thought I would end up shooting someone.
My son and I were escorted to a safe house where we stayed until we were eventually relocated to Derby and then Birmingham.
What was your turning point?
After relocating to Birmingham, I gave birth to my daughter, my support worker and her manager took a personal interest in me that went beyond their professional duty. They both felt led by God to encourage me. At first, I just thought they were a little weird, but they were there to help when I needed them. Instead of presenting me with an opportunity to run off and feed my addiction, they made me rest and provided me with gospel music and scriptures to reflect on.
When they invited me to church, I sat at the back of the service high on cocaine and intoxicated with alcohol. I wore a pair of large black sunglasses to hide my eyes. Even though my life was a mess, I felt compelled to go. I was encouraged to christen my children and I only agreed because I thought it was a great excuse for a party.
On the day of the christening, we were all dressed up and ready for the time of our lives. As I stood up in front of the congregation, the Pastor asked the question: “Do you promise to bring these children up in a Godly environment?” Right there and then, it sounded as if God was speaking directly to me. As I looked across at my children’s godparents and my friends; who were all drug dealers and strippers, God clearly spoke to me again and told me to let them go. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake off the voice I heard that day, however I didn’t listen.
I eventually fell out with my friends one by one. The only close friend I had left was Mina who had been my best friend for over ten years. Again, God spoke to me and warned me that Mina was going to die.
I sat her down and told her what the Lord had shown me concerning her life, but we ended up laughing it off and jokingly planning her funeral.
A few weeks later, after a night out, Mina decided to leave the club with a man. I ran after her to try and convince her to stay, but she wouldn’t listen. I was invited to go with her, but God told me not to go. That night I had a disturbing dream about Mina being drugged, gang raped and murdered. I tried to call to check up on her, but her phone was switched off.
After a few days, I heard a knock at my door; it was the police and I just knew that my best friend was dead. I asked the police specific questions about her death to try to work out if the dream I had was just a random nightmare or if God was actually showing me the events of my best friend’s murder. When the inquest came out, everything was confirmed. God was definitely speaking to me.
I made a promise to the Lord that I would stop taking drugs, but I went off the rails, the only way I could cope with my grief was to intoxicate myself with alcohol and drugs. I recall a few occasions where I used my bible to snort my cocaine, but strangely enough, I still had a desire to be in church. I would just sit there in awe watching people get healed and delivered.
Describe your miracle
In 2007, after putting my children to bed, I felt my body giving up. I just felt so tired, I was fed up of my addiction ruling over me, I was exhausted of living a lie and I felt like I was stuck in prison.
I just remember lying on my living room floor crying out to God from the bottom of my heart. I don’t remember all of what I was saying, but I unmistakeably remember making a request for my addiction to be taken away. I questioned if Jesus was really real and I asked God if He really had the power to save my life.
I made it to see the next morning and I woke up with a strong sense of the awareness of God. I suddenly became mindful that I had broken my promise to Him when He asked me to stop taking drugs after Mina’s death. Instead of waking up craving for drugs, I felt repulsed by them. I flushed away approximately £800 worth of cocaine and removed anything to do with narcotics from my home. I said goodbye to all of my friends and associates who had anything to do with the underworld by text.
I couldn’t understand it, this was a supernatural miracle. I was no longer addicted. I asked God why he chose to save me from my addiction on this occasion and He simply said; “You never asked me to take it away before with all of your heart.”
This supernatural experience was nine years ago and I have never felt tempted to go near drugs since. My addiction was replaced with an overpowering desire to know all about Jesus who had the power to break my life-destroying habit.
I attended every church service, bible class and prayer meeting I could. I soaked up every instruction and promise that God had left for me in the bible. The only way that I can explain it, is by saying that I fell in love with God. Christ helped me to turn my life around and I became a qualified nurse in 2011.
How did you cope with your children during your addiction?
When I look back, I can clearly see that God was covering my family each and every step of the way. Whenever I felt exhausted and drained my health visitor provided me with a Christian babysitter, but because of the addiction, I wasted the time that was meant to be used for resting. However, I was blessed with a fantastic support system, so my children were always safe. Despite my addiction, I took pride in taking good care of my family and my son was able to read by the age of one. It could only have been the power of God that allowed me to prevail in my children’s upbringing; most people around me couldn’t even tell that I was an addict.
I really want people to know that even if they have been abused or are struggling with an addiction there is absolutely no need to neglect your children. Knowing God was the key to keeping my family together and safe. The more I got to know Him, the more I became transformed. If it wasn’t for God I could have lost everything, but the power of the Lord was more powerful than my addiction.
How did you learn to forgive the people who hurt you?
Again, this was another miracle. I was so angry and bitter for many years, I also struggled with rejection, but since I gave my heart to Christ, He changed something deep down within me which allowed me to forgive freely. God forgave me when I did wrong and purposely hurt people, so why shouldn’t I forgive others?
How do you handle seeing people from your past?
In 2011 I bumped into a man who I spent a lot of time with during my addiction. He called out to me using my street name and offered me some alcohol and drugs. When I politely refused, he struggled to accept my response. I told Him that I had turned my life around because I was now a woman of God. He just laughed and said that he couldn’t believe what I was saying because he remembered how bad my addiction was.
Whenever I see people from my past it makes me acknowledge how great and powerful my God is. My addiction no longer has the power to drag me back into that way of life.
My advice to anyone who feels there is no way out from their situation is to start by talking to God about how you really feel; cry out to Him if you have to. You do not need to use any biblical or theological language because God understands what your heart is saying. You are extremely special to the Lord because He loves you unconditionally and there is nothing you can do to separate you from His love.
If God can turn my life around, then He can definitely do the same for you. There is nothing too hard for Him. Read His words and digest what God says about you and who you really are supposed to be. Let God love you and help you. Your power to fight your addiction comes from Him. Try to find a church or someone who has a good relationship with God to support you.
Read St Luke 5:32, it will tell you that Jesus didn’t come to call righteous people; He’s calling for sinners to turn their lives around.