God Forgives All

Written by Bethany Jarmul

A year and a half ago, Dottie Simmons was a homeless drug-addict and prostitute. Today, she is living completely for God and has had her life restored and redeemed by the Holy Sprit, after graduating from the CityReach Women’s Home in Pittsburgh.

HAD TO GROW UP FAST

Dottie grew up in Texas, but moved to Ohio when she was 11 years old. At 11, Dottie was molested by a family friend. When she was 14 years old, someone very close to Dottie introduced her to methamphetamine, which quickly led to her taking ecstasy, cocaine, and anything else she could get her hands on.

At 17, Dottie got pregnant, and her parents kicked her out of their house. “I knew that I needed help, but I had no friends left. I was strung out,” she says.

Dottie went to rehab for four months, and then convinced her parents that she was better. “I did good until I had my son,” she says. After her son was born, Dottie got into an abusive relationship. She got pregnant again and had his child.

DOWNWARD SPIRAL

In 2008, Dottie’s abusive boyfriend fractured her ribs and broke her jaw. He went to jail for grand theft auto charges. Now, Dottie had two children, with neither father around. She fell heavily into drugs and began prostituting herself to provide for her family and her habit.

Dottie and her boys moved from a homeless shelter to an apartment and then to the streets. “I was living on the streets, behind a dumpster, dragging my kids around with me,” she says.

She decided it was time to get help again, so she went to a rehab that allowed her to bring her children. After getting out of the rehab, Dottie gave up the heavy drugs, but kept smoking weed and prostituting. “It was the only way I knew how to make money,” she says.

Then, someone introduced Dottie to bath salts. “At this point in my addiction, I had lost everything; my kids, my apartment, and my hope. I lived for the drug.” Dottie started doing heroin as well and was in and out of jail 11 different times.

A CHANGE

In August of 2014, Dottie was so desperate that she called her sister and said, “If you know of a recovery home, I’ll go.” Dottie’s sister agreed to help.

On August 6, 2014, Dottie arrived at the CityReach Women’s Hope Home in Pittsburgh. She was high when she arrived, weighed only around 95 pounds and was very sick.

“I just cried and cried. It didn’t even feel like a rehab. I instantly felt hope and love.”– Dottie

The next day when she woke up, Dottie wanted to leave. “I thought, ‘What was I thinking coming here. I’m leaving.’” “Natalie Bolt was the Women’s Home Director at the time and she prayed with me. She encouraged me to push through. Natalie taught me how to run after Jesus,” Dottie explains.

At the Hope Home, Dottie heard the gospel for the first time in years. Dottie began to learn about the love of Christ and attend the Bible studies. After only three days in the Hope Home, Dottie wasn’t craving drugs anymore, and she was praising Jesus.

“I was radically changed. I was willing to give up everything for Jesus to change me.”– Dottie

“The CityReach Hope Homes are different than any other rehab or recovery home, Dottie shares.” “In other rehabs you’re still labeled as an addict. Here, we believe that who you were does not define who you are,” Dottie says.

“Once I stopped proclaiming I’m an addict and started proclaiming that I have a purpose, that’s when all my addictions just fell off of me. Jesus Christ truly set me free.”– Dottie

A FRESH START

Dottie graduated from the Hope Home in May of 2015. She got custody of her children and got her own apartment. She volunteered for three months at the Hope Home, and then was brought on as staff.

“A lot of the girls that come into the home were on the same drugs that I was on. I’m able to show them a photo of what I looked like when I first came into the home. They can see how bad I was and how now I just love Jesus,” Dottie says.

Today, Dottie is living with her two boys and her mother in Braddock, Pa. She is applying for a retail job, and hopes to offer her boys a better life. “I’ve fully surrendered everything to God—every little thing, even the clothes I wear and the music I listen to,” Dottie shares.

“Before I came into the Hope Home, I was living behind a dumpster and thought I was no better than the dirt on the ground next to me, but now I’m redeemed, loved and pure.”– Dottie

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2018-01-17T00:22:00+00:00 March 8th, 2016|Hope Homes, Stories|