KATRINA BLEW HER OFF COURSE — (The Andalusia Star-News)

To view original article click here

The Andalusia Star-News

By Andrew Garner

Published 1:11 am Saturday, August 29, 2015

10 years later, she’s starting over

For all of Rachel Rice’s life, she thought being on some sort of medication or drug was normal.

Now clean, sober and full of hope, Rice is taking another step forward and will graduate from Crossover Ministry today in Opp.

Rice said during her six-month rehabilitation at Crossover, she realized that her addiction is sin.

“It’s made me realize that no matter where you’re at in life, that you have to have a good foundation.” Rice said. “It was choices that led to lifestyles that were compromised. I really didn’t think there was any hope of changing; that I had done too much in life. That was the only way that it was ever going to be. My whole family was either alcoholics or addicts. I was born into it. It really took me coming here to change my perspective on that.”

Rice has been through some hard times.

In 2005, she had to leave her home in Slidell, La., because Hurricane Katrina was beginning to bear down on the region.

Rice said she took her 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter (Scarlet) with her and evacuated to Poplarville, Miss.

“I only made it that far because I had only found out about the hurricane 10 hours before it happened,” she said. “There was so much traffic on the interstate and chaos. It was me and my 2-and-a-half year old daughter and my friends that went down there. We actually waited the storm out there. It was like a one bedroom house there. There were 15 of us sitting in there. You can just see from the window the trees flying by and hoping the house wouldn’t get messed up.”

Rice said the storm didn’t help her addiction at all as it was a tough time trying to feed and entertain her daughter.

“We had no power, no water,” she said. “You had to drive all the way to Baton Rouge to get gas. And, it was just really stressful with a young child to try to find ways to bathe her, feed her and entertain her. I made it from the end of August until about February of living off of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and bottled water.”

Rice said she was addicted to everything, or anything she could get her hands on.

As a young child, they put me on ADHD medicine and as a teenager they put me on antidepressants,” she said. “My whole life, I’ve felt like you needed to take something to not deal with emotions.”

Rice said she got so desperate that she and her husband, Travis, stole items from people’s cars in parking lots locally.

“We started going into parking lots, and going in people’s cars,” she said. “Their windows were down and purses were there. We went on a weeklong shopping spree with other people’s money.

“I had never been to jail before in my life,” she said. “By the time all that caught up with us, we had racked up 24 felonies and a misdemeanor. They put us in the Covington County Jail in June 2013.”

Two weeks of sitting in jail and sobering up, Rice said she didn’t like where she was at the time in her life.

Due to a plea deal, Rice was charged with two counts of theft of property and was ordered to enroll in Crossover or complete a one-year stint of rehab.

“We’re going to be on probation for three more years after I graduate,” she said.

Rice came to Crossover in March after spending time in rehab at Center Hope in Anniston.

After graduation, Rice said she plans on finding a job and building back her relationship with Travis.

“It’s sad to say, but I lost everything; we lost everything when we went to jail,” she said. “We lost our house, lost custody of our children. I guess it wasn’t until I lost faith in myself and my family that I could find where my faith needed to lie.”

Rice has another daughter, Lilly, who will be turning 5 years old in January. Scarlet will be 12 in October.