Darryl AnnAfter losing everything to addiction, Darryl Ann found the love and support she needed to begin a new life at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
Thinking back on her teenage years, Darryl Ann says, “School was a struggle for me. My grades were never good enough for my parents. There was always that comparison, ‘Why don’t you get A’s like your sister?’”
Instead of studying, Darryl Ann was drawn to people who were also struggling. “The poorer you were, the more crisis you were in, the more I loved you,” she says, “and the more I wanted to be around you.”
“I had one child in 1984, and when I went back to the doctor for my six-week checkup, they told me I was pregnant again.” After that, Darryl Ann had two more children.
“I didn't know how to handle motherhood and being a wife. A neighbor used to come to the house and we'd watch soap operas. One day she brought some crack over and I instantly fell in love with it.”
From that point on, Darryl Ann’s life spiraled out of control. “I'm one of the mothers who abandoned her children and left a good marriage in pursuit of crack. Those things I still grieve, and no matter how much clean time I have, that's where I need Jesus because the pain is too great.”
“I was an older woman living out on the street by myself. I was homeless, sleeping under the I-90 bridge. I can't tell you how many times I've been beat up, molested, or raped.”
During that time, Darryl Ann also developed gum disease, which is one of the most common problems homeless people face. “I started losing all my teeth. I had such bad gum disease, it hurt to chew, and I became really drawn and skinny.”
Eventually she ended up in jail for shoplifting, and that’s where she found God.
“When they took me to my cell, there happened to be a Bible in there. I opened it up and the words I read spoke to me. It said to ‘do something useful with your hands for those in need.’”
For Darryl Ann, that was the motivation she needed to get treatment for her addiction, and start down a new path at the Mission. Soon her health and strength returned, and she even got a new set of teeth from the Mission’s dental clinic!
Today, Darryl Ann is using her hands to help others, working at the Mission and counseling women who are struggling with addiction. She says, “I’m 66. I could retire, but what I’m doing is too important.”
Darryl Ann has also reconnected with her family. “I have a new grand baby,” she says. “Her name is Emory Lee and she is as cute as a button. Me and my daughter, it's just amazing now. She's texting back. She's showing me pictures. We have a relationship and it feels so good.”