Ashley Miller, manager of the Broken Bean, shared her compelling story of overcoming addiction and finding redemption at the noon Lions Club meeting on November 30.
In her testimony, Miller revealed her descent into drug addiction, a journey that defied stereotypes. Despite a loving upbringing, academic success, and athleticism, she and her high-school sweetheart succumbed to the allure of drugs in college. What began as experimentation turned into a harrowing battle with pain pills, crystal meth, and heroin.
“We thought it was a rite of passage,” said Miller. “It just felt like something everyone did. We thought that we were going to eventually outgrow this, but it did not happen like that for us. Drugs grabbed us very, very quickly.
“For 15 years, I hid my addiction,” Miller disclosed. Her double life included a successful career as an emergency room nurse and a seemingly perfect family with four children.
“We had two daughters and two sons. We lived in the perfect neighborhood, Our children were in private school. From the outside looking in, our lives looked perfect. It was very important to me that people saw what I wanted them to see.”
However, the facade crumbled in 2017 when she was caught stealing drugs. Despite multiple attempts at sobriety, Miller continued to fall into addiction. Her life spiraled into separation, despair, and thoughts of suicide.
“I felt like the people that loved me the most would be better off without me, because I was a problem. I was hurting everyone around me.”
It was at this dark moment that Miller felt a divine intervention. “There was something inside of me that just knew that, if I just made one small step, everything could change for the better,” she said.
Miller’s lifeline came in the form of the Adult & Teen Challenge program (ATC). Despite initial reservations, she committed to the 18-month program. The first night brought excruciating withdrawals, but a prayer marked a turning point.
“I went to my room, and I prayed, probably for the first time in my entire life. God, if you can just get me through this, if you can spare my children from seeing how bad this is about to be, then I’ll stay for 30 days.” Miraculously, she felt better the next day.
“As much medical knowledge as I have, there’s nothing medical or scientific that can explain why I felt completely better 24 hours later. I know that nothing can explain what happened except God,” she said.
Miller completed the program in 2020 and now manages the Broken Bean. Her family, including her husband who also graduated from ATC, has found healing. She emphasized, “This is something that I never, ever deserved. It’s because of God, and because of Teen Challenge, and because of the community of Minden that supports us the way that you do.”
As Miller thrives, she sees her role at the Broken Bean as more than managing a coffee shop.
“We’re about saving lives. It’s truly just about giving people a whole new life,” she said.
For those interested in supporting the Adult & Teen Challenge program, their Christmas Banquet fundraiser will take place on December 7. Visit www.louisianateenchallenge.com for more information on finding help or contributing to this life-changing initiative.
The Lions Club, whose motto is “We Serve,” has interesting speakers every Thursday at noon. They meet at the American Legion Memorial Hall located at 119 Pine Street, and they welcome new members who share the mission of community service in Minden.