I'm where I'm supposed to be
By Clarissa Gates, Director of Public Relations
In April, Crystal Carrillo-Ealy found her way to The Gospel Mission. Originally from Omaha, she came to Sioux City to take care of her sick aunt and uncle who were like parents to her. When her uncle passed away, she wanted to stay in the area to continue caring for her aunt. Crystal had been in homeless shelters before, but never one like The Gospel Mission.
“I didn't plan on staying in the shelter. I just ended up here. But I know I’m where I'm supposed to be.”
Crystal had her first drink at the age of 12 and before she knew it, she was addicted. At 19, she entered treatment for the first time. She already had two children, her youngest only two days old. She ended up leaving before finishing the program because she wanted to take care of them.
On her 41st birthday, Crystal landed in jail … but for once, not drunk. She realized this was the first birthday since she was 12 that she was sober. She had been married to an abusive husband who died of cirrhosis nine years prior. Struggling to cope with his death, she attempted suicide—just one of many unsuccessful attempts through the years. She entered treatment one other time but again, left prematurely. She had three more children and wasn't sure where to turn next.
Crystal was in and out of shelters around Omaha until she came to Sioux City. After her uncle’s funeral, she stayed at MercyOne Medical Center with her aunt and then came to our Women and Children’s Shelter when her aunt was moved to a nursing home.
“Her family wants me to just leave her in the nursing home and get my life right, but I’m doing both at the same time,” Crystal explains.
When Crystal arrived at the Mission, she had been sober 30 days. Now, through recovery groups like Most Excellent Way at Heartland Community Baptist Church, she is keeping her sobriety. She is plugged in at Elevate Church and will soon be baptized. Her plan is to look for more permanent housing in the Siouxland area so she can continue to care for her aunt.
“I see that prayer is being answered. I’ve always been a fight-or-flight person,” she says. “I figure if I’m going to fight, I might as well fight for this. I’m not going to run this time.”