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Drug raid that led to faith

Drug raid that led to faith

Drug raid that led to faith

Cassie Cooper at Northlakes Salvos with her ‘godsend’, Salvation Army chaplain Brian Rennie.

By Cassie Cooper

My house was raided by police on 10 February 2018. It was a rude awakening from a 16-year stint in and out of drug abuse.

I was addicted to smoking the drug ice, an addiction unknown to anyone in my family until the police raid. They actually raided my mother’s house because I was living in the shed.

My life had become that bad. When I woke up the next morning in a prison cell I was gobsmacked. Heartbroken.

I just thought about my mum’s heart, whether it was still beating, because I knew what it would have done to her. I would not be here without my mother.

She’s still kept that door open for me after her home was raided and the embarrassment of that. That feeling I had that morning in the cell, it was gut-wrenching.

And then I realised that I’d been caught, and the time had come to learn the really hard part of living, so that I wouldn’t do this ever again. It was time to change.

Brian Rennie, a Salvation Army court chaplain, was my godsend. I came into contact with Brian at the courthouse on one of my court dates (I eventually received a suspended sentence).

My solicitor suggested that I see him and do the Positive Lifestyle Program (PLP), run by The Salvation Army. 

Brian opened doors that I didn’t think could open; he showed me things about myself I didn’t know existed. I left every PLP session with a new tool that I could understand, that I could apply and that I was ready to use. I still use every module, every day.

The program has changed my way of thinking. And Brian is a really great facilitator; he’s really understanding. He’s put up with me, from being a rude drug addict at the beginning, to what I am now. He has seen quite a transformation!

Last Easter, my daughter asked me where the Easter Bunny came from. I said, “I don’t know.” So I asked my mum if we could go to church at Easter because I really wanted to answer that question correctly. My daughter just loved it.

It was the first time in a long time that I felt I had a faith. So, it was all for my daughter initially, but in the end, I sort of started to go to church (for myself).

I’ve now made Northlakes Salvation Army my church. I started volunteering at Westlakes Salvation Army Family Store and the local Northlakes Salvation Army in Kids Church and Streetsafe Salvos, a Northlakes initiative in the city of Newcastle. 

Northlakes Salvation Army is my ‘home away from home’. I feel really welcomed, not just by Brian but by everyone else. It’s a place of peace for me from my anxiety.

God is working miracles. Brian gave me a Bible ... I really love that Bible; I read it every day, I take it everywhere, I do Bible studies every day just by choice because I now want more and more of God.

It’s a feeling that I can’t get anywhere else – not even from drugs!


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