The Christmases Patsy spent in homelessness will be forever etched in her memory. She was either on the streets, committing crimes, or in jail.
She’ll never forget her worst Christmas, in 2005. “I was sitting in the Pierce County Jail,” she says, “waiting to go to prison. I was actually contemplating killing myself.”
But, thanks to God and other Mission partners like you, Patsy has come a long way since those dark, horrible days. And thinking back, she can hardly believe all she’s been through . . . or the amazing transformation she has undergone.
Patsy’s long journey through addiction and homelessness began when she was 28 on a tragic night in the apartment she shared with her boyfriend. He was often physically abusive. And that night, during a heated argument, the apartment manager came over to investigate, armed with a gun. He ended up shooting her boyfriend to death.
Patsy says, “My ears were ringing. I was in shock, so I didn’t really think it was real. I remember the fifth shot. My boyfriend looked up at me and said, ‘You just killed me.’ I blamed myself. And from that moment on, my life spiraled out of control.”
Patsy ended up on the streets — carless, penniless, friendless — opening the door to a life of chronic homelessness, drug use, and crime. But it took years of failure, countless arrests, and prison time before Patsy was finally ready to put the past behind her and find healing, redemption, and hope.
A prison counselor told Patsy about Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. She knew that coming here was her last hope. But once she was with us, Patsy finally felt like she belonged somewhere and had a family.
“From the beginning, I felt like I belonged,” she says. “What I loved most about it was having a church community. I had support. I learned how to trust again.”
Patsy is especially grateful for Christmas at the Mission. “What’s great is the volunteers at the shelter who came, donated Christmas gifts, and put on a Christmas dinner. It felt like I had a fresh start and a new family,” she says.
Patsy worked hard to get her life back on track, even though she wanted to quit so many times. But she stuck with it, graduated from the Mission’s recovery program, and started a career in substance abuse counseling.
“With everything that happened, and my experience working with all those amazing people at the Mission,” she says, “I was able to get a master’s degree. And now I’ve helped hundreds of people.”
“When Jesus came into my heart, I developed a passion to serve, and do good, and pay it forward. I made a lot mistakes that I can’t fix. But giving back and doing this work is one way I can.”
“Before,” she says, “I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus yet, so I just felt so depressed, like there was no hope.” But today, after nearly 14 years of sobriety, she says, “There’s so much to be hopeful for.”
Patsy is convinced she’d never be where she is without God and the Mission. “It’s where I was meant to be and who I was meant to be."