This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
For 20 years, Kristina Roth was hounded by her alcoholism. She drank daily and eventually lost her job and her home. It was then that she ended up in a Salvation Army shelter.
"I had lost everything," she said, because her alcoholism had taken over her life.
She had moved to Colorado Springs about six years ago to be with her family; she went to the Salvation Army a little more than four years ago.
When Roth found herself at the shelter, she had stopped drinking because she had no money to buy alcohol.
She began working with a caseworker who led her to the Salvation Army's New Beginnings program, which is part of its transitional housing program to help those who are homeless or have other issues get back on their feet through sober living.
Roth has been sober for four years and nine months. It definitely wasn't easy, she said, but she found that eventually, even when she had money and walked by a liquor store, she wouldn't stop in because she no longer wanted to consume alcohol.
"They (the Salvation Army) allowed me to put my life back together," Roth said. "Kind of become a real person again."
Roth lived in the transitional housing for a little more than two years before moving out on her own. She is beginning a job as a residential manager for New Beginnings. She also plans to keep her part-time position in retail.
Roth said the Salvation Army has helped her with her job, housing and community and finally helped her look inside herself and see that she could move past her alcoholism.
It is an important part of the community, offering a church, transitional housing programs, help for utilities, a food pantry, after-school programs for children and more.
"The Salvation Army has a lot to offer," she said.