Woman authors book about salvation, recovery
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Nov. 4, 2011 at 6:04 a.m.
Goodwill store manager Patricia Pruett never thought she'd enjoy the riches of sobriety. But then, she never thought she'd be a published author and founder of a Victoria-based Christian women's ministry, either.
Only four years ago, the Women Rich In Faith Ministries organizer and author of "It's Never Too Late: A Life Changing Choice," was a prisoner to cocaine, marijuana and alcohol addictions.
"I did drugs off-and-on for most of my life: pot, alcohol, cocaine. I'd smoke it, and snort it, whatever was available," Pruett said. "I had no confidence. I didn't like myself. I definitely didn't love myself. And God told me 'You have to learn how to love yourself and forgive yourself before you love me."
In the height of her drug additions, Pruett's second husband told her, "You will never change," she said.
Pruett chronicles her personal trials and substance addictions in "It's Never Too Late," which includes her bout with Hepatitis C, two failed marriages, young motherhood, and 13 years of wrestling with God to change her heart - after accepting Christ in 1991.
"The way I see it, in those 13 years after I accepted Christ, I wasn't doing my part. I was not living in his will; I was living in mine. I was living in the flesh, and part of me still wanted to live in the flesh. I wasn't ready to give that to God," Pruett said. "But I realized there were no magic solutions. I had to do my part."
Pruett's part included exiting a second failing marriage, joining Celebrate Recovery at Faith Family Church and eventually checking into La Hacienda Treatment Center in Kerrville for 60 days of rehabilitation.
"The thing I liked about Celebrate Recovery is that it's about doing the steps and putting God in the middle. I never thought I'd go to rehab, and told myself I'm never going to rehab. But I was sick and tired of being sick and tired," Pruett said. "I knew I was never going to be set free if I didn't get help."
After treatment, Pruett said she continued engaging with church members, involving herself more frequently with church retreats and Bible studies. She also starting leading breakout groups at Celebrate Recovery and leading support and recovery groups for women at the Victoria County Jail.
But Pruett's transformation to sobriety - with Christ in the center - was a slow process. And even though she was cleaning up her life, and making progress from previous years, Pruett admitted she continued to struggle with submission to God.
Then about three years ago, everything changed. Pruett said she spent four hours in a small chapel, praying, crying and submitting to the Lord. Pruett had finally experienced her ultimate submission moment.
"I was just God and me, and I told him, 'I don't want to be that person anymore. I want my life to be for you,'" she said. "I felt the true presence of God that day. And that's the day he gave me the vision for my ministry."
Pruett said she saw the spirits of women, preaching the gospel to them and helping them find recovery and restoration.
She established Women Rich In Faith Ministries in 2008, at her home, with one attendee.
"Only one woman showed up at the first meeting. And I could have easily said, 'Let's cancel it since only one person showed up.' But I didn't. I had the meeting ... and that woman still comes to our meetings," Pruett said, smiling.
About the same time, Pruett said God began nagging her about writing an autobiography. But the thought of publishing her life failures and drug addictions was terrifying, she said.
"I finally knew God wanted me to share my testimony to help women just like me, and let them know it's never too late," she said. "I wanted them to know you can be 60 or 70 years old, and it's never too late to come to God."
Monica Ybarra, 35, has been attending Women Rich In Faith Ministries for more than a year. She said at first she didn't want to be a part of Pruett's ministry, believing she and a wholesome church lady would have nothing in common.
"She would call me, and I would be like, 'It's that church lady again,'" Ybarra said, laughing. "It really was the enemy telling me we could never be friends."
Pruett's persistence with Ybarra paid off, and eventually she started attending regular meetings. Ybarra even starting going back to church at Faith Family, she said.
And when Ybarra had breast cancer-related reconstruction surgery in October, Pruett was at her hospital bed at 4 a.m., praying for recovery.
"I had no family, and she reached out to me. I'm glad she did," Ybarra said. "She's a lot of things for me. She's like my battery; she keeps me going."
Proceeds from Pruett's book are being used to fund Women Rich In Faith Ministries. And Pruett said her next goal to is to purchase a van so the women of Women Rich In Faith can share the gospel and message of recovery with women in prisons, shelters and other venues around the state.
"When women meet me today, they cannot even imagine how I used to be. They can't believe how God turned my life around," Pruett said. "I know this book is really doing what God said it would - it's saving souls. I know with all my heart and mind and soul that this is his book."