I’ve always struggled with acceptance and fitting in,” says Chad, a 38-year-old guest at Springs Rescue Mission. “I wanted to sit at the table with the cool kids, but I never felt like I belonged.”
Chad has spent his entire life searching for someplace to belong, aching for love from an alcoholic father who created chaos and antagonism in Chad’s family. “I guess what I was really looking for was the love and security of a true home,” he says.
The one legacy Chad’s father left to him was a life fueled with drugs and alcohol. “I was drinking beer with him by the time I was 12 and smoking marijuana with him by the time I was 15,” he recalls. He spent his high-school years partying, hanging out with gangbangers, fighting, vandalizing — and failing classes. “I can honestly say, I graduated with about an 8th-grade education.”
After high school, he pursued a life of punk rock and fast drugs — meth, speed, ecstasy, cocaine, and even heroin. He did try to settle down in 2000. He even married and had a daughter. But Chad found himself creating the same chaos his own father created years earlier. The marriage ended. But Chad’s slide to rock bottom didn’t.
In 2008, Chad was arrested for aggravated robbery. In 2010, his father died, and in 2011, he signed away his parental rights as his daughter’s father. He hasn’t seen her in three years. He tried yet again to get sober, but in the spring of 2014, he relapsed, polishing off four gallons of whiskey in four days. For the first time, he considered suicide. Instead, he came to Springs Rescue Mission.
“I’ve been through many different programs,” Chad says. “But this time, it’s all about Christ. Following Jesus is more important to me than anything. His Word is changing me.”
He’s also experienced acceptance for the first time in his life. “There’s a brotherhood here, and a kind of family I missed growing up,” he says. “I see the love of Christ here in my brothers. This is the table I want to sit at now. This Easter, thanks to Springs Rescue Mission, I’m discovering who I am and where I belong.”