Photo courtesy of Maggie (Newman) McNicholas.
Photo courtesy of Maggie (Newman) McNicholas.

Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part story on Hope resident Maggie (Newman) McNicholas and her efforts to recover from drug addiction. David Webster first met Maggie when she walked into his fifth grade classroom. After Hauser, he started seeing her name in the arrest column of  the newspaper. At the age of 33, she overdosed, requiring six doses of Narcan to bring her back. She recently invited David to an addiction program graduation at Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis where she told her story. She said she began using and dealing drugs in high school.

“At 22, I got married and then became pregnant. I continued smoking weed but stopped all the hard drugs. I gave birth to the most beautiful and perfect baby girl and felt completed.

"However, I left the hospital with a bottle of pain pills that soon became my new addiction. My husband ended up in jail when I later found out I was pregnant again. My water broke early, and I was rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital where I was on bed rest for 16 days. I was worried and scared. My son was born. He was a healthy and beautiful baby boy. What a blessing. He had to stay at the hospital for two weeks. I once again started selling drugs to make rent. My husband continued his problems too. I filed for a divorce.

“My addiction increased immensely. I was in and out of jail trying to fill the void with unhealthy relationships and tried to numb the pain by drugs. I was in a vicious cycle.

“I did six months in the county jail and completed the WRAP Program. I learned a lot about criminal and irrational thinking patterns and the need to change my thoughts to change my actions. Once out, my work hours increased; my recovery meeting time decreased. My dad's health was bad; his drinking was killing him. One day, I was working a double shift. In-between shifts, I went to check on him. He was on the couch and wouldn't wake up. I smacked him and yelled. He didn't budge. I called 911, and he was pronounced dead.

“My first thought was to numb the terrible pain I was feeling with drugs. I had support but wouldn't answer the phone. I began to wallow in self-pity.

“My church paid for me to go to a Suboxone Treatment Program in St. Louis, Missouri. I successfully completed this program too but still felt void in my heart. I continued trying to fill it with unhealthy relationships, smoking weed, and trading my suboxone for heroin.

"A lot of my friends around me were dying. I couldn't hold a job, so I sold drugs, cooked meth, boosted from stores, and didn't care what anyone thought. No one seem to understand my nightmares and my pain. I lost guardianship of my children. How could I tell the judge that they were safe with me when walking into the courtroom strung out and with two black eyes?

“In May 2017, I woke up in the hospital bed after overdosing on heroin. I had vision of my children's faces turning bright and then dim. I was saved by six injections of Narcan and God's grace.

“At this point, I finally realized my addiction had control on my life, but I still had purpose in my life. I cried out to God to please help. I was a mess.

“Not long after my overdose, I was arrested on a failure to appear. It was almost like a relief. I was not happy about going to jail, but I was tired, tired of running away from all my problems. While there, I found out about the Higher Ground Program at Wheeler Mission, and I was sentenced to it.

"Since being in the program, I have had to face a lot of truth in order to get from where I started to where I am now. I had to see that I allowed myself to be filled with self-pity and blame, and it was not doing me or anyone else any good. I had to face the truth about the many unpleasant things about myself and my behavior. God was willing to heal me and set me free. Wheeler has been so supportive.”

She ended with the following statements:

“Friends, I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have totally made it. But, I am well on my way reaching out for God who has wondrously reached out for me. I'm off and running and not turning back. My head and my heart finally match up! When I look at the mirror today, I see someone very different. I give credit to God. I am going to be the mom my children deserve and the woman God intends for me to be. I want to make my mess my message!”

There was not a face without tears throughout Maggie's story, and there was not a face without a smile at the very end. Maggie has since shared her story as a guest at a book study that I am facilitating, “Goliath Must Fall” by Lou Giglio. Undoubtedly, we all have Goliaths in our lives, and we all must find a way to defeat them.

If your group is interested in hearing Maggie's complete story, then you can contact her at 812-390-1250.

I suspect Maggie will play one of her favorite songs, “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams, that she requested Avery Tallent perform at our book study with the first verse below:

“If you've been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you've been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you're trying to fill the same old holes inside
There's a better life, there's a better way”