No Longer Out of Control
From the time Becky Sizemore was a child, she was fearless and strong willed. She could do anything she set her mind to — especially share her faith. Then when she hit adolescence, as many teens do, she struggled to find her identity, and soon fell into depression. Instead of leaning into God, her family, or her youth group at Faith Tabernacle Assembly of God in Klamath Falls, Oregon, she opted to delve into a lifestyle of drinking, partying, sexual promiscuity, and shoplifting.
Her parents, Bill and Cindy Sizemore, both devout Christians, tried various means to help their 15-year-old daughter, but they had enough when they returned from an out-of-town trip to discover she had thrown a wild party at the family home. They shipped Sizemore off to a strict program for out-of-control teenage girls.
“It was the hardest thing we had ever done, but we’d run out of options,” Bill Sizemore says. “It was tough love.”
When Becky was released from the program a year later, her strong will again got the best of her. Angry and feeling rejected by her parents, she determined to make it on her own.
“I wanted to show them that I didn’t need them — or God,” Becky says. She started college early — getting her General Educational Development diploma while taking college classes — and by the time she was 20, she had a job, car, house, and husband. But within six months into her marriage, her life again disintegrated. She divorced and returned to partying, including trying heroin for the first time.
“I didn’t think I had an addictive personality,” Becky says. “I was wrong.”
She became a daily heroin user, selling drugs and stealing to support her habit. She also lost everything, and ended up living on the streets of downtown Portland.
Finally, with nowhere to go, in desperation, she begged her parents to take her back. They agreed to allow her to return, yet Becky reverted to her drug and drinking habits, adding methamphetamines to the mix. She suffered from insomnia, and roamed around the home swearing and hallucinating.
Sizemore’s life spun out of control: she was arrested seven times, charged with 11 felonies and six misdemeanors, was in jail for months at a time, and went to four different state-mandated rehabilitation stints in secular programs. Neither compassion nor punishment seemed to help.
“She was like a wild animal,” Bill remembers. “And she hated anything to do with God. It was heartbreaking.” Her parents clung to God’s grace and prayed for their daughter. As difficult as it was to see her put behind bars, Bill realized it was the only way to save her life, the only place she couldn’t obtain illegal drugs.
“Our daughter was still as precious to us as the one lost sheep,” Bill says, referencing Jesus’ parable in Luke 15. “Becky may have been involved in those terrible things, but she was still our little girl.”
The Sizemores knew God hadn’t given up on Becky.
“We knew He would honor our prayers to bring her back,” Bill says.
After taking drugs during her fourth rehab, Sizemore was arrested again and brought before Judge Alta Jean Brady. Brady’s patience had run out, and she prepared to sentence Becky to prison. Bill, however, pleaded for one more rehabilitation effort, this time to a faith-based program.
Although Sizemore felt relief at staying out of prison, she didn’t look forward to going to a religious-based recovery program.
“I didn’t plan on staying,” Becky admits. “I was hopeless, helpless, and totally OK with dying a junkie.”
What she didn’t plan on, however, was powerfully encountering Jesus and His followers at the Adult & Teen Challenge facility.
“They had this light in them that I wanted, but I didn’t think I could have,” she says. Still, she fought against God and anyone who set up boundaries or held her accountable.
Theresa Lirocchi-Pueschel, director of the Adult & Teen Challenge at the Eugene, Oregon, campus, remembers when Sizemore came to the program.
“God has gifted Becky to be artistic, creative, and great with people,” Lirocchi-Pueschel says. “But she used all those gifts in a self-serving way. She was lost, empty, highly manipulative, and crafty.”
Yet God slowly began to heal and transform Sizemore. As God uncovered the lies of the enemy and the truth of Jesus, the staff watched Sizemore relinquish her selfishness and manipulation.
“We have a lot of people go through Teen Challenge, but Becky is one who truly stands out,” Lirocchi-Pueschel says. “Now she uses her talents to glorify God. She has an amazing heart for Jesus.”
No one is more amazed at the metamorphosis than Sizemore.
“God met me in my brokenness and destruction,” she says. “It’s a process of surrender, but He has removed all my desires for drugs or that kind of lifestyle.”
Her father agrees.
“She’s a different person,” Bill says. “She has blossomed, and the love of Jesus shines through her eyes.”
When she finished the yearlong program, Sizemore opted to remain with Teen Challenge as an intern in order to mentor and influence other girls there.
Today, Sizemore, 24, is completely free from her addictions and she keeps herself surrounded by accountability partners. In January, she plans to start attending Portland Bible College, where she will study music.
Her greatest desire is to share the truth of how Jesus can break engrained addictive behaviors.
“People need to know that they can cast their cares on Him rather than try to do things on their own,” she says. “If He can do that for me, He really can do that for anybody.”