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I Love Life: A Sioux Falls Woman’s Recovery from Drugs

As a youngster, Teresa Peratt lived with a family of witches.

“I was born and raised in San Diego, California.  My grandmother was a practicing witch.  She had the gift of automatic writing.  My mother had a gift of prophesy.  My sister is a six-generation of witches in my family.  Just like we look at spiritual gifts through God, I believe the dark side also has spiritual gifts that they offer their followers.”

 Looking back on her childhood, Teresa says she was literally scared to death of what was happening in her home. 

“I would hide in my bed at night and pray before I knew what praying was.  I would plea, ‘please God don’t let me see any ghosts. Keep me safe.’  My mom had pentagrams above every doorway—the way I have crosses at my house.”

 Teresa was also sexually abused as a child. 

“A family member began raping me when I was eight years old.  That lasted until I was a teenager.  I just believed the pentagrams contained the evil in that house.  When I went back to visit later on in life, it appeared that way.”

 Instead of being drawn to witchcraft, Teresa wanted a relationship with God.

“Knowing how real the witchcraft was moved me to believe in God.  I didn’t go to church until I was in my thirties.  But, I knew there was a darkness and that helped me to believe in the power of my God.”

 With memories of childhood sexual abuse and witchcraft firmly etched in her mind, Teresa was overwhelmed with emotions later on in life. 

“It was sadness and fear.  I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder.   I just felt threatened all the time.  I told members of my family about the sexual abuse.  My sister slapped me and told me not to say anything like that again.   Through the conditioning by my family members, I learned to keep the abuse a secret and hide it which was what darkness loves.”

 Instead of being attracted to witchcraft, Teresa fell in love with drugs—of all kinds. 

“I started huffing gas when I was 10.  When I was 12, I smoked marijuana.  I stole pot from my dad who kept it in the house.  By the time I was 14, I burglarized my first pharmacy and at 15 I was shooting drugs in my arms.  By the time I was 18, I was a full-blown heroin addict.  Another twenty years of addiction, crime and misery took its too.”

 That’s when Teresa decided life wasn’t worth living. 

“I don’t think I wanted to die.  I just wanted the pain to stop.  While in my room at treatment, I put a bag around my head and tied a belt around my neck.  Someone found me and transferred me to a psychiatric ward.  No one put a hold on me so they kicked me out.  Once I got out, I broke into a house and got charged with a felony that carried a 15-year prison sentence.  The judge gave me a choice—either jail or treatment.  I obviously picked treatment and was sent to a detox facilitity.   There was this man who kept quoting me scripture.  Finally, he asked, “do you want to continue to live with this pain or do you really want this to stop?”  And, that question was all it took to end Teresa’s drug addicted life.  “This man stood up and pointed directly at this little room with two cots and a curtain for the doorway.  He told me to ‘go in that room, get in my knees and pray to God like you’ve never prayed before.  Pray with your entire mind, with all your heart and all your soul.  Ask God to remove this addiction.’  I went in the room and I kept asking God to change my heart because my only craving was drugs over everything else and it was ruining my life.    After praying for hours, I fell asleep on my knees with my hands crossed and my head on the cot.  When I woke up that next morning, I didn’t have any cravings…the shaking and sweats—everything was gone.  It was a true spiritual experience.  At the time, my husband was ready to divorce me.  He was a pastor and would lose his calling if we divorced.  But, he was willing to give that up.  My friends convinced him to see me one last time.  When he came to see me in the detox room, I didn’t know if anyone could see the light, but he did see it.  He gave me another chance.  That was March 3rd, 1996.”

 Now that’s she drug free, Teresa, a drug and alcohol counselor, savors life minute by minute. 

“I thought when I stopped doing drugs, I’d sit at home with nothing to do and that’s a lie.  Life didn’t start until I quit using.  Life is so full now I don’t have enough hours in the day.  God allowed me to experience the pain I did so I could help other people who experience the same pain.  It’s so good to have someone come in to see me who has no hope.  I do understand with that person is going through.  I think every addict in recovery is a walking example of hope.  People need to see they have options. 

 Teresa’s life is best described as awesome. 

“I was listening to the radio.  The announcer said, ‘when you’re the most broken, that’s when God can repair you completely.  I kept that in my heart that whole time.   One of my favorite verses is ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’  With that message on the radio and the power of the Bible verse, I am gifted with extra endurance each day.”

 Teresa Peratt considers her life a miracle thanks to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  The former drug addicted woman is an inspiration to others who are desperately seeking hope in their lives.

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