ORLANDO, Fla. – Gerri Jordan knows what it's like to live with addiction. She also knows how to help others recover.
Jordan, director of A New Day Now Recovery, travels around Central Florida sharing her wisdom with dozens of women in recovery. She said she's trying to promote growth spiritually and in life skills.
"We started this out 14 years ago, my husband and I. Our family was in the perils of addiction. That's what started this. That was the beginning of it," Jordan said.
Jordan said they never had anyone try to help them. When they finally recovered, they started the ministry to help others.
"That's when our lives changed forever," Jordan said. "God gave us a heart for people that were broken and hurt and had nowhere to go."
Jordan counsels in groups as well as one-on-one.
One of the people she mentors we'll call "Amy." She asked not to be identified because she's in transitional housing.
The two met seven years ago at a rehab center. After a rocky start, Amy was cautious of the goodwill, but they have become close friends.
"We've been through a lot. We've been through a lot. But she's worth it," Jordan said.
The two now meet once a week and talk several times a day.
"I called because what Gerri has done for me means the most. She never gave up on me," Amy said. "I spent my whole life running from things and she helped me to sit down long enough to stop running."
Amy said her addiction resulted in her going to jail at least 13 times. She also spent 18 months in prison.
While visiting Amy in prison, the stage was set for Jordan's next project.
A New Day Now includes a prison ministry. Jordan and a group of volunteers travel once a month to the Women's Reception Center in Ocala. They spend the day visiting female inmates and offering them support and friendship. Each volunteer sponsors an inmate and becomes their mentor.
"There are women in there who have not had a visitor in seven or 10 years. We can bring life to them. And we can bring hope that they may not have," Jordan said.
Amy said Gerri is responsible for all the changes she's made in her life.
"The best way to describe it is unconditional love. I never knew that until I met Gerri," Amy said. "She's helped me find my worth and my place and that is a big deal because i didn't think I had one for a long time. She showed me that there is a better life and that I'm worthy of that life."
"If I can make a difference in one person, it's worth everything I do," Jordan said.