Shine NOW! Magazine June Issue 2016 June 2016 Issue 1 Volume 1 - Page 16

Things were happening quickly in Doretta’s life. Newly graduated from nursing school, she was offered a job in the hospital where she worked her way up from working in the kitchen to being a medical aide. Her life was finally changing, but when she learned an AIDS test was required for the position, she had to face the ghosts of her past. Doretta abused intravenous drugs for 10 years to numb her pain. She was a survivor of incest by her father and abandoned by her mother. Her lifestyle left her vulnerable to many things, such as infectious diseases. People around her was dying, but she refused to be a statistic. She states in her book, “But I needed to stop the hell that I had allowed drugs hold me in.” Prayer and counseling were her tickets out of the addiction, but she knew she had more work to do. Her counselor advised her to move to Minneapolis to get clean, because they had the best program for individuals on public assistance to rehabilitate themselves from drugs. She followed the leading of the Lord and left everything behind in New York. Once in the state’s human services office, she was faced with adversity, because her case worker was livid that another person from out of the state was going to milk the system for treatment. He told her, “I’m tired of you people from New York moving her to get all of our money.” She left in tears, but the next day, that same man approved her to receive all the money she need for treatment. Doretta states, “If you listen to God your path is ordered. We must take action once he speaks.” Reflecting on her successful recovery from drugs, she knew God would direct her through this life changing diagnosis. Ms. Gadsden sought God to change her life in the past. Prayer was the first tool to turn her life around. She states, “I attend Zion Church and we practice meditation and affirmations. I prayed my way through drug addiction.” However, once she heard the diagnosis of AIDS, she states, “I could not pray at that 16 moment.” The women she requested to tell her the results was the director of the facility. Initially, the woman was aloof and seemed annoyed when she give Doretta the news. She said, “You already know given your history.” Oddly, she softened once she saw Doretta’s reaction and said, “Doretta, look at what you have already accomplished. This is not a death sentence. What if you entertain that you can live a vibrant life with an AIDS diagnosis?” Doretta states, “She did not let me leave the room defeated. She was the angel that held my space for me. My spirit came back into the room.” Doretta took the steps necessary to manage the disease. She started by building a positive support group including the proper doctors and therapists. She states, “it was critical that I be surrounded by people who would think bigger than an AIDS diagnosis; and if they did not I removed myself from their presence.” The strategies she outlined to deal with a life changing diagnosis include the following: 1. Pray and meditate: Sit still and give God time. 2. Journaling: Write down your thoughts and emotions. 3. Stretch yourself: Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. 4. Be Proactive: Take an active role in your health care and research the best doctors and medications. Although she was an addict during the height of the AIDS and HIV epidemic in the 1980s, God uses Doretta’s traumatic experiences to uplift others. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (KJV) She encourages patients diagnosed with AIDS to thrive in the face of their disease. They see a vibrant professional woman excelling on the job. She states, “You never know the seeds you are planting in a person’s life.”