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Mar13WedBeaten down by life, Kathleen Metzger changed direction when she met The Salvation Army. March 13, 2019 by Kimberly McIntyre
"I thought my life was too damaged to ever begin again,” says Kathleen Metzger.
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At the time of her incarceration in 2016—the eighth in three years for assault and disturbing the peace—she was suffering from severe alcohol withdrawal.
“My world had collapsed, and felt real and unreal at the same time,” she says.
Kathleen was beaten down by the alcohol and the lifestyle she was living.
“I thought I was degraded, demoralized and worthless as a person. I was unlovable. I was desperate,” she recalls.
“If there was a God, it was now that I needed Him.”
So Kathleen fell to her knees in prayer, right there in her prison cell.
The Breaking Point
Kathleen’s life journey had been a challenging one. As a teenager, she dropped out of middle school and suffered sexual abuse. “I lost one child and the two that I had became Crown wards; I would not see them again until they were adults themselves,” she says.
“I was alone and spent time only with others who drank as I did and lived as I lived.”
Despite all this, Kathleen often turned to God in prayer as best as she knew how.
“I always felt God was near but just out of my reach somehow.”
To compound matters, Kathleen faced a multitude of physical and mental health issues.
She developed a tumour in 2015 that required a year of radiation therapy and surgery. She also dealt with homelessness after losing her apartment due to her repeated incarceration.
“Worse, my husband and I were separated. He’d even taken my dog because I was so irresponsible.”
After being incarcerated in the fall of 2016, Kathleen hit her breaking point.
“I had a broken heart,” she says. “I was afraid of life, but I was even more afraid to die.”
That was when she got down on her knees and prayed.
Message of Hope
“Where are you, God? Please come into my life and change my heart,” she pleaded.
Within days of that prayer, against all odds, changes started to occur in Kathleen’s life.
She was offered a spot in a six-month rehabilitation program, ahead of a long wait list, and she was released from prison within the week to attend it.
“While I was in treatment, I was able to focus on making a new beginning for myself and formed a foundation for recovery,” she says.
Kathleen knew she needed a place where she could feel safe and have around-the-clock support in order to be successful in her day-to-day recovery. That was when she learned about The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light.
Once Kathleen completed her time in the rehabilitation program, she moved to the transitional housing facility in Toronto. While there, she attended college and took English and creative writing courses.
One of the staff at Harbour Light was a former English professor and encouraged Kathleen in her writing. She is now writing her memoirs.
“I know God brought me to Harbour Light and is leading me toward my destiny of doing His will,” she says. “I regularly meet with my case worker, who listens to my concerns and helps provide direction when I need it. The people here have been a blessing and I am forever grateful to The Salvation Army and Harbour Light.
“I’m being led down a path to share a message of hope, and to be an example of that.”
Kathleen is loving her life. She is thriving in her college program and continues to grow in her faith.
“With perseverance and hard work, and by surrounding myself with positivity and positive people,” she concludes, “anything can happen.”
Photo: © AZemdega/iStock.com