She was born to parents in active addiction. By age 4, Olivia Broughton’s mother left. By fourth grade, she was living with her grandparents.
At age 11, she was smoking and drinking, then started hanging out with gang-bangers in sixth grade. Sex with grown men filled the void, and IV drug use started at age 14.
Olivia was pregnant by age 15. She gave up drugs for a while, got married, had a son, and settled down in a trailer in East Bernstadt. But she was depressed.
Olivia – who wanted to be a mom but didn’t know how – soon turned to marijuana. Pain pills followed after having surgery, then meth. Soon, Olivia became too depressed to even clean the house. At age 22, she was back on meth and spiraling out of control.
In 2017, Olivia said depression made her crazy. She thought she was too fat and ugly to be out in public. She soon left her husband and son and didn’t look back. She was homeless for two years and back to using IV drugs more than ever.
She missed her son and experienced a strong sense of guilt and shame. Sleeping with older men in exchange for drugs and a place to stay, Olivia felt very alone – walking barefoot down the road from trap house to trap house. Scared. Anxious.
By 2019, she was arrested for possession of meth, cocaine, and heroin. She was let out of the Whitley County Detention Center, but missed her court date because she was high. For the next seven months, Olivia was on the run.
Two nights before her final arrest, she created a Facebook account. Her husband contacted her to let her know that her son, whom she hadn’t spoken to in months, wanted to talk to her. He had just gotten saved and wanted to share the good news with his mom.
After her dad reported her missing, the Kentucky State Police found her. She was relieved – worn out from looking over her shoulder. Olivia went back to the Whitley County Detention Center for three months. Her cellmates encouraged her to come to church with them, and she started reading the Bible. But after a month staying with her grandmother, she relapsed.
Then came the call from Hope City, which wanted her to come to treatment right away. Olivia fell in love with the life that everyone there had. Staff who had been through the program were genuine and happy. They went caving and kayaking. They ate at restaurants occasionally.
Olivia wanted to live like that. She started praying and saw the Lord doing encouraging things all around her.
Now two years sober, Olivia is a peer support specialist. Although she dropped out of school in eighth grade, she now has her GED and soon will begin classes for medical coding and billing. Her relationship with her son is better than it has ever been.
“I can’t imagine looking back,” she said. “My life is so much better. I’ve seen people living lives like this and didn’t think that I could have it. I didn’t think I was worth it. I couldn’t have sobriety without Christ. For people who are where I was three years ago, I tell them that they’re worth it. God loves them and has a plan for them.”