My name is Victoria Courtney Nicole, But I prefer to be called Nik. I’m from Tulare County and was raised in Porterville. I’m the youngest of five kids and come from a loving Christian family. It was a home filled with laughter and never a dull moment. I am the only addict in the bunch, and the only one with a rap sheet.
I got married in May 2003. We had our son, Cayleb Blaze in 2004 and a daughter, Kyli Rain in 2008. Life felt fantastic. My husband became a teacher and coached football. I worked lots of jobs but consistently coached volleyball for high schools and private clubs.
I started having chronic shoulder problems and needed surgeries. I ended up on pain medications for years and my husband as well. I developed such a dependency on OxyContin that I would become violently ill without it. My prescription would only last me about one week. I started buying and selling pills on the streets to supplement our addiction. During this time I worked two jobs, coached volleyball, attended church, raised my two kids and took care of my now out-of-work husband who was in a complete Xanax blackout. I was beyond running on fumes. I ran myself ragged trying to hold it all together so people wouldn’t know.
Being desperate to get off the pills, my husband and I started using crystal meth. That just created another addiction. Things went from bad to worse quickly. Our dream home burned down, my truck was totaled, and we were evicted from our new rental home. We were homeless, living in a campground with our kids. I bought an RV and the first night in it, my husband beat me up in front of our two terrified children. This is a pivotal point in my story because my children or anyone else had never seen this side of my husband. I wasn’t able to hide how bad things had gotten anymore. I called my older sister crying and telling her to come get the kids. She did, and they still remain safe and loved with her now.
At this time, I wish I would have made a change, but I was unable to deal with my husband hurting me and our life unraveled. The next day, my husband tried to kill us both. He was arrested and I was alone in my RV, doing and selling drugs. I found the streets and its rules as a rude awakening. I was soon sucked into the protection of the gang lifestyle, as well as other notorious groups. I was quickly involved in drug dealing, weapons, organized crime and not so organized crime. I was so far in over my head and didn’t even know it.
I moved out of Porterville to Visalia when my husband got out of jail. Wow, did it get worse. We were toxic at best. The abuse and drugs skyrocketed. I was now a slave to the heroin needle. My husband and I would get arrested on and off, when he would be in jail or I would leave him for a while. I would be on the streets living among homeless people and drug addicts.
I saw and experienced horrors I didn’t believe people could live through. I have many scars from knives. I would fight or get jumped, sex became meaningless. Robberies and theft was a way of life and survival, revenge became my motivation for everything. Overdose became common. Heroin was my daily staple so I wouldn’t be sick. I would mix it with any and all drugs. I wasn’t trying to feel good anymore, I was trying to not feel at all. I felt alone and had nobody to turn to. My family wanted me to get help and, until I agreed to do that, they had to keep me away. I’m grateful now that they did. I would make promises that I would go into treatment and asked them to find me a program out of Tulare County. In June, my other sister told me about Captive Hearts and that they would take me in July. I didn’t go, and again, I could go in October. I still didn’t go. I didn’t think my life could sink much lower, but I was sadly wrong. I found new lows of depravity and despair. I was out on triple bail with 13 warrants out for my arrest. I had been on the run for about 1 1/2 years.
On May 29th, I got arrested again. It was my ninth arrest in two years. I had 16 felonies and 12 misdemeanors. The charges ranged from strong arm robberies, commercial burglaries, petty thefts, assault on peace officers, illegal weapons, counterfeiting, fraud, possession of drugs. There are more as well. These 28 cases had an indicted sentence of 44 years. I was looking at serving 17 years of it.
Prior to sentencing, a probation officer came to me in County Jail for my assessment to give to my judge. I was honest with her and told her about my desire for help and that when I finished serving my time (whatever it may be), I wanted to get out of Tulare County and go to a Christian program called Captive Hearts. I should probably tell you this probation officer’s name was “Karma”! So I didn’t expect much from her recommendation. To my surprise, she spoke to the judge on my behalf. I was sentenced to a year in County Jail with a two-month early release to go to Captive Hearts. The judge told me she believed that I wanted help and would mandate some of my sentence in this program that they had never heard of. My judge looked just like Jesus to me that day. My probation officer, Karma, whom I now refer to as “Grace,” was my Holy Ghost, Hail Mary, on sentencing day. Hallelujah!
I was released 55 days early and allowed to come here to Captive Hearts. I thank Jesus every day for the healing taking place in my heart and body and the safety of our home. Many of you may not notice the importance of safety every day. Because of how I was living and the PTSD it has caused me, being safe is something I’m grateful for every hour. I thank Jesus for not giving me what I deserve, but instead giving me mercy and grace.
When I was abandoned, abused and alone on the streets and would inject more drugs than my poor little body could handle, I would be left for dead. God would restart my heart and weep over me. I know now I was never really alone. Thank God, He met me right there in that gutter, but loved me too much to let me stay there. I don’t even recognize that brokenhearted junkie girl I used to be. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus! The old has gone and the new has come. Amen.
Captive Hearts has given me the inner healing I needed. This last month so much has changed. I have broken bondage in my lineage and practice of the occult. I’m receiving counseling as I finalize my divorce. I get to see my children often and, God willing, will be living with them by this summer. I had so many worries as to how I will provide for them as a single mom with seven felonies on her record. So I have been praying for a unique job opportunity. Our Lord and Savior Jesus has granted me so much more instead. I just received the call that all my felonies are being dropped and that I get a clean slate! Yep, that’s how my Daddy rolls!!
When I finally surrendered all to Christ and decided to just change one thing, which was everything, God blew my mind. Through all of these gifts from Christ, I’ve been able to see how precious I am to Jesus. This realization has slowly sunk into my core. It has healed me from much shame and guilt as this beautiful, intimate and authentic relationship with Jesus develops. I have started crying, really crying. This is something I haven’t experienced in years.
Though the tears had been long used up
If something happened to where I needed to cry;
Drugs could dehydrate those tear ducts bone dry.
I could achieve supreme numbness of no feeling.
To keep this up, I learned new lows of drug dealing.
I thought I finally murdered all those tears.
They hadn’t come around in many years.
Hardness of heart where tears cease to exist,
Then a foreign feeling rose up, so hard to resist.
The well of tears wasn’t empty or gone,
I just had that lid tightly screwed on.
Panic sets in of that weeping I FEAR,
I scramble for a way to make the cry disappear.
I can piss and moan with all my might,
But those tears win out with one heck of a fight.
All the pain, abuse and broken dreams
Fall down my cheeks in hot, rapid streams.
You can never make those toxic tears dissipate;
They will poison your well if you don’t open the gate.
Wait… nobody is hurting me because I’m crying?
The bottling up was why I was dying?
Why was I terrified of this freeing feeling?
This is my starting point of healing!
My eyes blurred with tears, but I clearly SEE:
The weep I avoided is what set me FREE!!!