A local woman is getting a second chance at her job and her life after beating an intense addiction.
"I found myself deep in Fentanyl addiction, which, I'm thankful to be alive today," says Michelle Owens.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid used as a pain medication and, together with other medications, for anesthesia. It is also used as a recreational drug, sometimes mixed with heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines or methamphetamine. It is 50-100 times more powerful than morphine and has the potential to kill people with just a few grains.
"I ended up going to Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC), a faith-based program. I had never opened a Bible before, never been to a day of church in my life, but I was at that point where I was going to go into it open-minded. I thought, it's not going to hurt me and I need to do something and that is how God got me to ATC."
Owens has a degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Her scientific mind had many questions for her leaders during the first couple of months.
"I said, I need a hypothesis. I need to test these things out and if you can't prove it, how is it real? I would ask, 'If you can't see Him, how do you know He's real?' Something clicked with me and from that point forward it was amazing. When you pay attention God is there and there is proof."
Throughout the program, if a student memorizes the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, they get a used and fixed-up car through ATC's vehicle donation program. It's no small feat as Psalm 119 has 176 verses in it.
"It got to near the end of my program and my boss asked me to come back to work and I needed a vehicle for that job. So I thought I don't have a choice now, so I learned it."
Owens recited Psalm 119 in its entirety at her ATC graduation on July 17, with nine other grads, their families, and friends.
"I was really nervous. I went up to the front and introduced it to people. It's long like it took 24 minutes. I told everybody, this is Psalm 119, NLT version. If you have a Bible follow along and if nothing else just listen to the words, because there's a lot of meaning. I got to verse 22 and completely blanked. I turned around and asked for two minutes. I got back on track and did it."
Owens said everyone listened intently without making a sound, including the children present. When she finished, people jumped out of their seats in excitement.
"It felt like I won an Academy Award or something."
Owens says it's by the grace of God she has her own apartment now in Winnipeg, with the help of her dad, and is looking forward to starting work again. She's also doing some catering on the side with her love for food.
"I want to build relationships with a lot of the homeless people and addicts, and let them know there's a way out. At one point in my addiction, I just accepted it. I thought this is it and I'll try to use as little as possible so that I can survive. I need to let people know there is a way and it's possible. I want to be active in my church too."