Lorie Longoria came from a broken home. Her father, steeped in alcoholism and addiction, abused her mother. To escape, Lorie decided to leave home at a very young age. She hit the streets hard. Soon she was doing drugs.
"Everything just ignited at the age of 18," she says.
'IT JUST GOT WORSE'
A life of drug addiction eventually sent Lorie to prison. She served two years on a 5-year-sentence for cocaine possession.
"When I got out, I thought that my life was going to be different," Lorie says. But, she adds, "I was still the addict and alcoholic, and it just got worse."
Lorie received three DWIs in 45 days and charges of public intoxication.
"The courts hit me at 60 years," she says.
Lorie went back to prison.
FROM HOPELESS TO HOPEFUL
"A year and a half into my sentence," Lorie shares, "I found out I had breast cancer, and I was moved to a medical unit."
It was there that Lorie found a support group through Prison Fellowship®. It was hard for her at first. She was in the middle of chemotherapy and had lost her hair, and she just wanted to go home.
"I walked out of there a couple of times because the music was too joyful," Lorie admits.
Even so, Lorie kept coming back. And every time she did, the other women would welcome her warmly. Lorie found that she was able to relate to these women as well. They were going through similar struggles as she was, but they had one thing she didn't: Jesus.
Eventually, Lorie accepted Christ into her life. "It's how you [make] it out," she says. "And I made it out with Jesus."
What impacted Lorie the most were the speakers. Listening to these people share about their own stories taught Lorie that while everyone has troubles, focusing on Jesus helps get you through those troubles.
After her release this past February, Lorie continues to participate in Celebrate Recovery at a local church.
"It's been a few months," Lorie says, "and [in] the brief time that I've been out, I was able to find me a little job … and Prison Fellowship is still there."
Lorie has continued in her relationship with her mentors from Prison Fellowship. She's thankful that now her mentors have also become her friends.
"You know, when I went into prison, I saw two people," she reflects. "The hopeless and the hopeful. The hopeless just connect to people who are also hopeless. But the hopeful look for the ones that already have the hope so that you can borrow some of theirs until you have some of your own."
Lorie found her hope in prison, and now she's sharing it with everyone she meets.