Georgia (16) was an orphan by the age of 12. She tells us about her journey out of drinking, self-harm and loneliness with the support of her ‘adoptive family’ at the Bus Stop project in Selby (North Yorkshire) and Church Army evangelists, Richard Cooke and Neil Walpole.
My mum died when I was 11 years old. She was in her bedroom when I heard her fall, crying out for help. She died in hospital from a brain aneurysm two days later. She was only 40.
It was my father’s death, fourteen months later, that hurt the most. My dad was disabled and suffered from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). He used crutches to get around but some days the pain on his legs was so bad he couldn’t walk at all.
After my mum’s death, I’m the one who took care of him. We were very close. I think his death affected me more as he was the only parent left to me, and now he was gone too. It’s weird how much your life can change so quickly.
After my dad died, my brother and I moved in with my half-sister and her family. My brother became more and more withdrawn and he started smoking weed and then got into heavier drugs. He has the first one to move out. I didn’t get along with my half sister’s husband, so eventually I left too.
I was in really a dark place in my life. I’ve never taken drugs but I started drinking a lot. Sometimes I couldn’t even walk because I was so drunk. I also started to self-harm. I used to cut myself and pull my hair out but I didn’t tell anyone. I was too ashamed.
I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for Neil and Richard. I’ve known them since I was nine years old. Three years ago, Richard, Neil and Emily started up the Bus Stop project, and I’ve been going ever since. Emily also started up a group for girls who self-harm. It has helped me a lot and it’s been over a year since I last self-harmed. I’ve also stopped drinking and I don’t give into peer pressure like before. My faith has made me a much stronger person. If it wasn’t for Jesus, I’d probably be dead by now.
I’ve also seen a change in my friends who come to the bus. Having a relationship with God makes all the difference. A lot of them have stopped drinking and taking drugs. Drugs are quite a big problem on this estate. Many of my friends at the bus have difficult family lives, but we consider everyone at the bus project our family too. I’m also involved in leading Alpha sessions on the bus. I’ve led on the topics of forgiveness and never giving up.
I’m now living at a SASH supported lodging for young people and it’s going really well. I’ve recently started college, where I’m studying child development. I want to become a youth worker. I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom and I want to help children going through tough times. I want to share with them how much God can change their lives.
God is always there for you to talk to, even in the middle of the night. Even when you’re at your lowest, when you feel you’ve got no-one to turn to, God is always there. He will always be there for you and he’ll never give up on you.
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