I Thourgh I was Free
“In the beginning, I thought I was free,” Rowan said, “and in the
beginning, I thought he was going to be everything I ever wanted—he
had a Mohawk, all these tattoos. It was kind of like he represented
what my idea of freedom was—freedom of expression with his body,
freedom of expression with his words…He had kind of an anarchist
personality, and I really liked that.
“But over time, the relationship became more and more controlling,
and as I lost my freedom, I also felt like I had lost the power to do
anything about it. He’s the father of my child, and I was so afraid of
being a single mom, and I was so afraid of learning to live life on my
own that I just let myself live in denial and think that somehow, we
were gonna work out and everything was gonna be okay, but that’s not
what God had planned for me.”
Rowan’s words carry such powerful insight. She lost power because
she was afraid of living life on her own, of being a single mom. She
felt trapped. She saw herself as powerless.
Rowan became addicted to prescription pain pills at 17 after she
had minor surgery. Her addiction quickly escalated to meth and heroin,
and her abusive boyfriend shared her addiction. They were caught in a
web of mutually destructive behavior.
“I wasn’t able to leave the house at all. I wasn’t allowed to have
friends. I wasn’t allowed to see my family. I was just stuck in this
house with this man. And I didn’t have any identity at all other than
that I was his girlfriend. And I totally lost myself in that. I had no
idea who I was. I had no idea who I wanted to be, and I think for a
long time, I was really just waiting to die and for it to be over.”
When her daughter, Sophia, was born, the couple’s toxic
relationship grew even more violent. Knowing she needed help and
fearing for her daughter’s safety, she sent Sophia to live with her
sister and sought treatment but was unsuccessful. Eventually, her
boyfriend kicked her out of the house, and she was homeless. Then, in
a tragic altercation, he shot her.
That’s when Rowan realized she could die and never see her
daughter again – if she didn’t change her life. At that point, Rowan
decided to enter LIFE Recovery at the UGM Center for Women & Children.
Rowan is now in phase 4 of the program. She is doing her business
practicum with Family Support Services and wants to pursue a career as
a counselor. Sophia, now three years old, visits her five days a week,
and the two of them will be reunited permanently after Rowan
Most importantly, Rowan has a growing, vital relationship with the
Lord. “I’m learning he meets me in every storm…I want to model for my
daughter what a woman of integrity is and show her that dependence on
God is absolutely necessary.”
Not dependence on drugs. Not dependence on an abusive boyfriend.
Dependence on God.
“Growing up I thought that freedom was going to be doing whatever
I wanted, and that included doing a lot of drugs and being homeless,
and I thought that’s what I wanted, but the longer I’ve been on my
walk with the Lord, it’s turned into choosing to make the right
decision in every situation and knowing that I have that choice and
just knowing that I am forgiven.
“Another aspect of freedom is choosing to grow all the time, and
as long as I’m making that choice to grow spiritually and grow in my
education and as a mother, the possibilities are endless and that’s
how I feel. I feel free.”
Rowan is no longer powerless, no longer afraid to do life on her
“I never knew I had worth. I never knew I had value. I never knew
I had so much potential, and I believe that’s a gift God gave me.”