TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Several East Texas women are rebuilding their lives together under one roof. A sober living home in Tyler is helping them fight drug addiction and find their purpose in life.
Charli Toler, who has used methamphetamine for more than four years, is receiving help from the Simply Grace, a transitional facility and post substance abuse program.
"I was ready to just give up. I just wanted to die rather than keep doing what I was doing because I didn't know that there was another way."
For her, addiction was a cycle that was tough to break.
"Things would get out of control and my mother would take my daughter from me. I would clean up for as long as I needed to and I would get my daughter back. Then I would start using again because I didn't have any accountability. I was still in the same environment. I had changed a few things, but I had not made any life-changing decisions."
Now, Toler is walking away from that life. She's one of more than a hundred women recovering from drug dependency through Simply Grace.
"They say that we have a spiritual void inside of us and that's what we fill with the drugs and alcohol..."
Residence homes in Tyler, Plano and Garland provide a safe, structured environment for women to rebuild their lives and mend broken relationships with God.
Toler says she's now attending church regularly after finding her faith.
"'God if you just do this for me' or 'God, if you get me out of this. I'll swear I'll stop doing this.' You know, those fox-hole prayers you hear about. That's the only time I would talk to God."
Helping them put the pieces back together is Anika Cooper. After her own battle with drug and alcohol addiction, she says this calling came from a moment of weakness. She was desperate for strength.
"I cried out to God," Cooper said. "I'll never forget. I was in my room at 15 years in recovery and I cried out to God and said, 'Either you take this from me or you take my life.' I think it was such an earnest and honest prayer. And within a week, God had really given me... I woke up and I had a vision to open a home for women. I didn't know exactly where that was taking me, where it was going, but that's when Simply Grace was started."
The program involves a 12-step meeting every day, chores in the home, drug testing, and job searches. Women undergo financial skills training and meet with social workers. Exercise and meditation are encouraged.
"God used all of those things for the good and has allowed me, because I can be a lot more understanding about when these women go through struggles," Cooper said. "(It's) because I've been through every struggle that they go through."
This compassion comes from Cooper's grandmother, Lillian Grace, who opened her home as Anika struggled with cocaine and methamphetamine.
"She just always loved me and that's where my inspiration came from. She literally gave me grace. She was my first form of God's love, of seeing God's love."
That saving grace is helping women like Toler start a new, drug-free life. She says she's focused on her daughter Payton and a brighter future.
"I just know that today my God is a loving god and he's a forgiving god and that I have a relationship with him. And I pray every day to live in his will and not my own."
The Simply Grace house in Tyler has been open for one year, with 20 women having completed a recovery program there.