MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It's graduation day for Terri Hines. It's taken her a lifetime to get here. She spent most of her adulthood feeding a drug habit.
"Addiction. Opioid addiction, marijuana, alcohol, the life ... the streets ... just hustlin', per se, in and out committing crimes to feed this hungry addiction."
Her turning point came in 2015. She was in jail and carrying her daughter, Demi.
"For me to be pregnant and incarcerated with my leg chained to a bed, I knew I had a problem."
The proof of the problem came when Demi was born addicted to opioids. The 2-year-old spent the first month of her life in the hospital fighting a drug addiction in intensive care.
"That moment let me know that I had to change everything. Not just some things. Everything about me had to change because here it is, I have this life that's innocent that didn't ask to be here, and I am a part of her suffering for the first month of her life."
The Salvation Army's Renewal Place program helped her make that change.
"I love Renewal, yes. I learned so much at Renewal."
The spiritual-based residential treatment program allows women and their children to live at the facility while they get clean. They provide shelter, food, childcare and counseling for the entire family, all under one roof.
"The most important thing was I was able to get up and go to intensive outpatient therapy downstairs. I had counseling session on Wednesdays. I had alcohol and drug counseling on Mondays and Tuesdays."
Fast forward two years later, and Terri is now drug-free and building a better life.
She credits the Salvation Army and the generous people in the Mid-South who donate to the organization during fundraisers like the holiday Red Kettle campaign. She hopes to give them a return on their investment.
"I'm just back on track," she said. "One day at a time and becoming a productive member of society."
Terri is currently working and has a home of her own for her 18-year-old son and little Demi. She's thankful for the chance to start over again and plans to use this new journey to show others who struggle with addiction they too can break free.
Terri's next step is college. She wants to become an alcohol and drug counselor.