FREEDOM FRIDAY: Lauren Lindsey

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 6:44 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Newschannel 7 highlights an overcomer of addiction in our Freedom Friday segment.

When you first meet Lauren Lindsey, the words prison and meth likely don’t come to mind, but she says that was once her reality.

Like many teens growing up in a small town, making friends centered around bonfires and drinking.

Wanting to do well on school tests led to her sneaking a prescription pill from her little sister.

“It made me feel weird. But then I liked the way it made me feel. So, then I got introduced to meth and someone was like it’s the same thing as Adderall,” she explains.

Lauren found herself in jail at age 18 but she says getting out was hard too.

“I didn’t have anywhere to stay. I was staying with a friend. Life was just horrible. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have money,” she said.

Most people wouldn’t call a prison sentence a blessing.

“I was arrested and went to jail and then was sentenced to prison on my first violation at 21 years old. And that was God helping me,” she describes.

That’s where she says she found friends.

“There was two girls, and I talk to one still. She’s doing amazing. She’s like, come over here, come over here. And I was like how? You know, and at the time, it’s like, OK, if I can get into their dorm. I know I’m with them,” she said.

They’d help her find freedom at a faith-based dorm in Gadsden Correctional Institute.

“I was saved in prison and just built a relationship with him,” she proclaims.

She left prison with a GED and a new outlook on life, but the addiction would still rear its ugly head.

“I went and stayed with a friend and I ended up just going right back to what I what got me in prison,” she said.

The answer to a simple question helped develop a life mission.

“I met my husband now and he, I remember he kept asking me, like, what do you want for your birthday? And I think I was turning 23. And I was like, I just want to be sober,” Lauren explains.

Soon after, she’d learned she’d become a mother.

“I’ve always wanted to be a mom and I never thought it was possible,” she said.

Adopted as a child herself, she decided to birth a new life of her own to make way for her daughter.

“I had made God a promise and if he gave me a chance, I would change,” she explains.

Now she helps others change their lives too as the Women and Children’s Shelter Manager at Bethel Village in Panama City.

“Hold on pain ends. So, hope. I never would think that I would be sober and live a life like I have a new car. We have a house. I help people all the time, so I never thought I would end up on this side,” she encourages.

Lauren is also a Behavioral Health Technician at Florida Springs in Panama City.

“I can remember being in jail and seeing people come in and you know, they were once in jail too. And now they come back in, and they share their story and they help. And I was like, yeah, that’ll never be me, you know, I just never thought I was good enough for that. But God just continues to open doors for me. And recovery is possible, and it can happen,” she said.

She wants you to know there are resources and people willing to help right here in our community.

“You’re never too old. It’s never too late and, you know, just get involved with good people, in a good church, and just pray and God will help you,” she concludes.