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Inmate Leaves Baggage Behind Bars

With a childhood marked by years of abuse, it was no surprise when Cris turned to a life of sex and drug addiction. After the law caught up with her crimes, Cris earned time behind bars, which became her path to freedom. Read Transcript

When dad got drunk, dad got scary.

You know, but as a little girl, I always just

wanted my daddy so much.


divorced when she was five, and her mother,

who was a Christian, was given full custody.

But her father's behavior continued to influence her.

I remember him always being really inappropriate.

Very sexualized talk in front of me

whenever I was a little girl.

NARRATOR: Then when she was 13, her father's

drunken sexual talk escalated.

It never went all the way to take my virginity.

But it was definitely physical.

NARRATOR: Her father molested her for three years.

Chris was too embarrassed to tell her mother.

Instead, she started drinking and doing drugs and seeking out

attention from boys in the only way she knew how.

I thought my worth and my value was in my sex, you know?

And that's how you get attention,

that's how you get approval, that's how you get love.

Because that's what I'd been taught.

NARRATOR: Chris was already addicted to drugs and alcohol

when she left home at 17 to join the Air Force.

She stopped using in the military.

But once honorably discharged, she

tried meth for the first time.

I remember thinking, oh, my gosh.

I finally found the thing I've been looking for my whole life.

You know, the euphoria.

Just everything was heightened, and, you know,

it's like, this is great.

NARRATOR: She was instantly hooked

and began using every day.

When I would try to go a day without meth

what I would describe it as this fingernail

that would just dig at the back of my brain.

And it would make me obsess.

And I would just be like, what am I going to do?

What am I going to do?

NARRATOR: Increasingly crippled by the memory of her father's

abuse, Chris reached out to him for some sort of resolution.

I wrote him this letter.

Tell me you're sorry.

And that's all I need.

And we'll have a friendship and we'll have a relationship

and everything.

And he wrote me back this letter that said,

no apologies, no regrets.

And that was a breaking point for me.

And I got really serious about my drug addiction after that.

Always so much wanting something from someone

who didn't have it to give.

NARRATOR: Chris was a functional addict,

able to work as a bartender and even attend college.

But she was always fearful of running out of meth,

and made a deal with her supplier.

She would hand over her college aid money

if he would front her the drugs.

There's this knock at my door.

And I open the door and there's what looked like a SWAT team.

And they asked me my name, and they're pulling me out

of the door, and they're zip-tying my hands behind me,

and telling me that I'm under arrest for conspiracy

to traffic and distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine.

I had maybe, tops, a half gram in my house.


And so I'm like, this is crazy.

NARRATOR: The DEA had tapped her supplier's phone

and mistakenly tagged Chris as an investor in his business.

Chris was arrested along with 25 other dealers,

and charged with a federal offense.

We went before the federal judge and just carte

blanche she said none of us were getting released.

And by the time the fingernail had started,

so I'm starting to withdraw.

NARRATOR: Chris became desperate as her craving for meth

intensified, confessing to another inmate

that she felt she was in hell.

She looked at me and she goes, you think this is bad?

Wait till you see the real hell.

And that's all she said.

And that's all it took.

And it's like all of those years of my mom talking

to me about Jesus.

I'm like, oh my gosh.

I've got to reach out to Jesus.

So I went into my cell and I remember getting on my knees

and asking Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart.

Because I don't know where I would have ended up

had that not happened, but it wouldn't have been good.

Or even to be that empty for another second.

NARRATOR: Chris gave her life to Christ that day,

and she was given something in return.

I stopped craving drugs.

And I never felt it again.

That I realized that I was the moment he'd healed me.

You know, he'd healed me from an addiction that

had spanned my entire life.

It was just suddenly lifted and gone.

NARRATOR: Chris's charge was eventually

reduced to one count of drug trafficking,

and she was sentenced to a year in federal prison.

She continued to grow in her faith and study the Bible.

And she was finally able to forgive her father.

That's where I gained freedom in Christ, you know,

where he really set me free.

And I see my dad for what he truly was,

and that was just a broken, hurting

person who in himself needed the love of his Heavenly daddy

to fix him.

And I think now that was a lifelong quest that has finally

been sated inside of me because of my Heavenly daddy.

NARRATOR: Today she is married and serves

as director of a counseling ministry in Illinois.

And as a child of God, she sees herself in a whole new light.

One of the things that I've learned from God

is that I'm a treasure.

You know, I'm special.

We all are.

And that our worth and value was set by what

Christ did on the cross.

So to Him I'm worth everything.


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