“It doesn’t happen overnight. You’ve always gotta do the next right thing. It’s as simple as choosing to stop at a yellow light instead of speeding through it. Those decisions are what changes every decision you make.”
Shelena grew up in a family where both of her parents were meth users and involved in a life of crime. Shelena started using meth at the age of 12 and was an IV meth user for 14 1/2 years.
She first went to prison at the age of 20, was out for a year and a half and got 32 violations. Shelena picked up 2 new cases and went back to prison for 18 months.
Shelena tried to do right this time when she got out of prison. Started going to church and married a man she met at church. It wasn’t a good marriage, her husband started using meth. Shelena tried college and church but didn’t know what a good life looked like.
After her last final, Shelena went to a party and started drinking which led to meth use. She shot someone and went back to prison with a 7 year sentence. This time she found the Beauty for Ashes program.
She was admitted to the program even though she didn’t meet the criteria.
While Shelena was in prison, her brother committed suicide. Left at a crossroads, she realized that if she went back home she’d be in the middle of everything that got her to prison, or she could go somewhere different and start over.
She married her husband before she left prison. Shelena had been told for ten years that she was unable to have children, but five months after her release from prison she found out she was pregnant.
Today she has a good marriage and has moved back to Chillicothe, Missouri. Not as an inmate this time, but as the Program Manager for Beauty for Ashes Ministry.