Healing The Family Tree

Nikie knows the destructive pattern that generational drug and alcohol addiction can have on families. She saw the same addictions and habits pass from her parents, to her, to her own kids. But four years ago when her granddaughter was moved into foster care, she knew she had to be the one to break that pattern. The prospect of gaining custody of her granddaughter motivated her to start down the difficult path to recovery.

Nikie found a 12-Step Recovery Program to help her get clean from her addictions. She was assigned a sponsor who introduced her to serving others as a way to redirect her attention and beat her addictions. “I didn’t know anything about serving people,” Nikie said. “I was a really damaged, miserable woman. I never in a million years thought that I could experience joy and freedom by serving.”

Being in the program helped her meet other women who had overcome similar trials, and they invited her to attend the Seacoast North Charleston Campus to get connected in the community and serve at the North Charleston Dream Center. At first, Nikie didn’t think she could step foot in another church. She had experienced abuse years ago in her childhood church. “Plus, I was the girl who always felt different. I didn’t know how to behave, so I didn’t want people to talk to me,” Nikie said. But she knew she needed to do it for her granddaughter.

Two years into her recovery, she was still holding on to the guilt and shame of her past—until a Sunday morning church service while singing worship led by Natasha Simmons and Shineika Townsend. “I don’t know what it was,” Nikie said, “but I didn’t feel shame or grief anymore. I don’t know how to explain it, everything was peeled off of me.” 

Finding peace has allowed Nikie to joyfully serve others knowing that her story can be a part of someone else’s healing. “I have to give it all to God. I can’t believe that I can smile today,” she said. “I’m living proof that we can progress.”

At the beginning of 2020, Nikie began serving regularly at the Dream Center, right before COVID-19. Seeing the drastic increase in the community’s needs, she joined other volunteers on Thursdays outside the Dream Center to distribute food. She also joined the Dream Center Food Truck team to deliver meals and supplies to the homeless in the Charleston area. “I can work all week long and then every Friday, I’m waiting to go on that bus,” Nikie said.

The team provides for the physical needs of the people they meet, but also spends time just talking to them to show that someone cares. One man she met who lives under a bridge, talked to Nikie about wanting to get clean, but after getting beaten up, and having his only belongings stolen, the idea of how painful the process would be, made him feel sick. He said he wanted to die, but Nikie was there to tell him, “You don’t want to do that.”

Nikie treasures listening to others’ stories. “As a woman who was beaten and used drugs, I have felt that hopelessness and feelings of no worth. Today, I can hold my head high and I feel like I have purpose.”

Part of that purpose was being awarded custody of her granddaughter. They were even baptized together three years ago. 

“I can’t believe that I can smile today. I’m living proof that we can progress.” – Nikie

Trusting God, Nikie recently left a job that required her to work on Sundays so she could attend church every week with her granddaughter. “Seeing the things that God has done through me, I really believe that he is going to take care of us,” Nikie said.

God has shown Nikie what family can look like through the church. The North Charleston Campus staff and volunteers provided support through phone calls, meals, rides for her granddaughter, and smiles of encouragement. “I was so ashamed, but all of them extended their hands and invited me to come just as I am.” 

Nikie is creating new patterns in her family and helping other women to heal. She now serves as a General Service Representative, the highest level in a recovery group. “I really believe it’s God working through my home,” she said.

Next Steps:

  1. The Dream Center Food Truck transports volunteers downtown every Friday evening to bring food and supplies to people in need. For more information and to get involved, contact Kim Lookabill at paratrooper0708@gmail.com.
  2. During the weeks of December 6–13, January 17–24, and February 7–14 small groups and individuals from our Lowcountry campuses are invited to serve our homeless neighbors on cold nights at a warming center located at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center.
  3. The pandemic has left many without basic general necessities, like food. Make a difference in the lives of people in need by joining us at the Dream Center on Thursday mornings to distribute food.
  4. You are not alone in your struggles. There are so many addiction resources available to you—right where you are. Let God show you his incredible power to break chains, and bring hope and healing to you and your family.