Texas woman provides free journey to recovery for those dealing with drug addictions
We requested you to notify us about inspiring girls in your lifestyle. We went by hundreds of nominations in our Remarkable Girls contest. Now, we’re sharing our finalists’ stories.
MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — In a quiet Marble Falls community just a few streets away from downtown, sits a small, nondescript household that has grow to be an epicenter of alter.
As wind chimes sway softly in the breeze, people quickly feel a perception of relaxed outdoors the dwelling surrounded by indications about appreciate, endurance and kindness. Identical messages of hope and reassurance are posted inside of the household, laying the basis for the tale of Open Door Restoration Home and its founder, Paula Mays.
“If we would enjoy and persuade each individual other, stroll beside each and every other, and not decide or toss stones — this earth would be these kinds of a improved location,” Mays reported.
That’s aspect of the mission at Open up Door, a faith-dependent, sober-living residence for women of all ages that opened in 2010. For 13 a long time, Mays has housed more than 250 ladies for up to a yr, at no cost, to aid them on their journey to restoration and sobriety.
To superior realize why Mays has devoted her everyday living to Open up Door and women and gentlemen having difficulties with drug addiction, you will have to initially realize her difficult personal journey.
“I was in South Dakota, and within a few of a long time my mother married an abusive male, and my 1st memory was at 2 years old of remaining sexually assaulted. I was raped and crushed. I was locked in trunks of automobiles,” Mays stated. “It was horrifying. I was not as well sure about God, but I realized the satan and I felt like I lived with him.”
By the time she obtained more mature, she believed existence would transform, but it didn’t.
“In my 20s, I started off looking for other substances to transform the way I felt, just to be in a position to cope,” Mays said.
In 1999, she identified herself in jail, seeking at a 99-calendar year prison phrase. She was married and divorced with 6 kids at that time. She mentioned by the grace of God, the federal costs she was experiencing, had been dropped. She had moved to Texas, which she states served independent her from drugs and alcohol. She started out likely to 12-Action restoration conferences, joined a church and she mentioned the kindness she professional was existence-modifying.
“I was in a position to rebuild with God. It is all Him. It was definitely remarkable: His incredible grace, His ability and His appreciate,” Mays reported.
She started off serving in soup kitchens and at prisons together with ladies in her identical restoration system. That is when she fulfilled 3 different females struggling to reach sobriety. She remembers that they did not have a place to remain or a aid system, that means dying or jail turned their only way out.
“I assumed, ‘These ladies need a spot to go. They require a secure spot to be,’” Mays tearfully remembered. “Recovery is tricky adequate devoid of the external triggers and pressures and anticipations and struggles — and God introduced back again to my thoughts a runaway shelter again when I was a teen in the town I lived in.”
That was her safe haven, and she preferred to produce a thing very similar for other gals. It was in that moment, reflecting on that runaway shelter, that she understood her goal: to carry the message of hope and restoration by starting off Open up Door.
It commenced modest with conferences in a church and by 2013, a household was bought, a campaign paid out it off and the doorways have been open for women in the neighborhood. Through group grants and donations, Open up Door homes up to 8 women of all ages at a time, for free of charge, for up to a yr. Mays guides the girls from addictive existence to lives of sobriety, features and successful membership in culture, by using AA Major E book, Bible scientific studies and other packages.
“We wander beside them. We motivate them in their battle. We walk with them by way of CPS, probation and parole,” Mays stated.
The ladies have a structured plan that starts early in the early morning and contains weekly meetings and scientific studies to help regulate their recovery. The females also have to carry out 17 hrs of volunteering every single 7 days. Mays performs all her responsibilities with little paid support, only a section-time place of work supervisor and part-time assistant.
A major affect
Alicia Defranco mentioned Open up Door changed the trajectory of her everyday living.
“This is my residence. This is my foundation. This is in which I figured out how to be a human,” Defranco explained. “I begun working with when I was 10 years aged and by the time I was 17, I was a complete-blown opiate heroin addict.”
Defranco was on the operate and by the time she moved to Texas, she lost custody of her young children.
“I was so damaged. I was so damaged,” Defranco explained.
She was in a correctional facility in Uvalde when anyone informed her about Open Doorway. She wrote a letter to Mays, asking to be a part of the plan. Mays picked Defranco up when she was introduced, took her out to consume and brought her to Open up Doorway.
“It was a reduction simply because I understood I got to keep sober even lengthier,” Defranco remembers. “I was anticipating a rehab center and I walked in, and it was a household, and it was frustrating when she showed me my bed room, toilet and took me to get outfits.”
Defranco paid out for practically nothing during the time she put in at Open Doorway.
“I never ever experienced a have to have not fulfilled in this article,” Defranco explained.
Soon after months of inner healing at Open up Door, she grew to become sober and was able to get started a new journey with her spouse and children.
“I could not photograph it — I absolutely could not picture it. I acquired my very first property a yr in the past this past December and I have fiscally supported my young ones and I for 5 decades,” Defranco stated.
“What a wonder she is. There are so lots of miracles out there — they just need another person to stroll beside them,” Mays said. “Don’t give up on your loved 1 who is struggling with habit.”
Defranco says Mays is not just her hero, but a hero for so quite a few girls who are neglected and not supported by their people or their communities.
“She’s my motivator. She’s my backbone. She is my foundation,” Defranco stated.
“If you see glory in my tale, it is God. It is all Him. He does the weighty lifting,” Mays claimed. “I am so grateful that I survived since by all accounts I shouldn’t have.”
In accordance to knowledge from Open up Doorway Restoration Household, for females who lived in the property this past application year (From September 2021 to September 2022), the non-recidivism price was a report high of 85%. The 12 months prior, it was 80%. Numerous previous people say she assisted them realize that they by yourself are accountable for their actions. They discovered applications to make far better and more healthy decisions.
Mays also assists women of all ages get better their little ones from CPS and foster treatment. She is also a crucial member of the 33rd & 424th District Drug Court docket Team. She is frequently “on-call” 24/7. She picks up new girls from rehab services or jail from as considerably as Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio or Galveston. If women depart the software early, by breaking guidelines or just leaving, she will help them come across other help.
Even though her work is solely funded by donations and grants, she hopes to broaden to enable additional women across the condition.