Anneshia Freeman: An Addict's Last Chance
By Audra Smith
The 700 Club
“My childhood from as early as I can remember was abuse. If I could sum it up, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual abuse.”
Anneshia Freeman had an absent father and a mother with paranoid schizophrenia.
“I started developing a belief system that, compared to other people, there was something wrong with me,” she tells The 700 Club.
Because of her mental illness, Anneshia’s mother forced her children to read the Bible and pray on their knees for hours on end.
“I had a personal relationship with God, but it was distorted. I had asked God to come into my heart when I was seven or eight. I told my mom and I was so happy, but she was a religious fanatic. She operated out of a legalistic concept of God. It was a conditional relationship, and I had to be perfect. By the time I became an adolescent, I was like, ‘Why even try?’”
By high school, Anneshia found solace in drugs and alcohol. Her grades dropped as she looked for way to pay for her addictions.
“When I was 13, I looked like I was 21 or 22. I resembled an adult woman. I didn’t really think I was prostituting then, but it was. I was exchanging sexual favors for drugs and alcohol.”
Anneshia ran from her home life after her high school graduation.
“I was living in Chicago when my addiction kicked into high gear. I had been smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, and occasionally snorting cocaine. I stopped paying bills. All of my money started going towards cocaine. Eventually my job sent me to rehab. I had to admit I had a problem, but I came home and got high the day after rehab,” she says. “The addiction got so bad, and I went back to Detroit. That’s when I got introduced to the crack cocaine subculture, and I started hanging out in the crack houses.”
She stayed on the streets for 12 years, the victim of physical beatings and rapes.
“I could see evil. I met evil there. I knew evil existed, but in those crack dens, I saw evil in an entirely different light. There were so many times when I had pistols to my head literally -- pistols to my head of somebody who had their hands around my throat choking me. That goes along with prostituting, living and being in crack houses, and owing ‘dope boys’ money.”
She continues, “I felt convicted. I knew that some of the things that I was engaging in were an abomination to God. I knew that but I had to have the drugs.”
Anneshia could not handle her life of addiction anymore. She went outside to the nearest bus stop.
“I had no plans to get on that bus. I was going to commit suicide. I had a made up mind, and I was timing my leap into the street. A gentleman walked up behind me and stopped and said, ‘Don’t you dare give up.’ I believe that man was an angel. I don’t know if he was or if he was just somebody used right then in that point, because I was getting ready to leave here.
“I was like, wow! You mean, there’s a God out there that cared whether or not a prostitute and crack addict is getting ready to take her life and He would speak to me through somebody who didn’t know me and didn’t know what I was about to do?”
Shortly after that day at the bus stop, Anneshia made the decision to let God change her life.
“I was walking away from a crack motel, and I heard God say in my spirit, ‘Choose you this day who you will serve.’ It was like not only had God shown me Himself, but He had shown me Satan’s kingdom uncut and raw. I knew right then in my spirit if I didn’t leave at that particular moment, I would die there. That was August 7, 2000, and I have not used another drug, any type of mood-altering substance, including alcohol. I haven’t used anything since that day.”
Anneshia started going to church and completed several addiction programs.
She says, “The cross means so much to me. It means that I have access now. When He died, He let me know, ‘I love you even though you sin. I don’t love your sin, but I love you’ and He saved me. He’s given me a life that is beyond anything I could have imagined.”
In the last ten years, Anneshia has completed three degrees, including an MBA. Today, she is a certified addictions counselor and has developed a city-wide program to help prostitutes get off the streets.
“God has given me this gift,” she says. “He has set me free, and he’s using me to help other women. So it’s amazing. I would say that if you think you’re too far gone. That is a lie straight from the put of hell. No matter what you have done. God can turn your life around, and He’s not going to just turn it around a little bit. He can turn it all around until you don’t even recognize your life.”
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