Back in first grade, I remember struggling to understand what I was reading. I couldn’t keep up with the other kids, as far as grades and all that. I had a learning disability, so they took me away from all my friends in class and put me into a different class, something they called a “learning lab.” Suddenly I felt different from everyone else. And it hurt.
From that point on, I struggled with school — and my self-esteem. Then I discovered alcohol and speed in junior high and fell in love with those things really quick. Alcohol made me feel more confident and speed made me think quicker and clearer.
So I dropped out of high school and started working. I cleaned up for awhile in the early ’90s. I got married and started a family. But my in-laws hated me. I was too blue-collar for them. So before long, I went back to drugs and alcohol. And the more I used, the more I watched my family fall apart. But I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it.
By 2006, my wife had enough and left me. By that time, my drug and alcohol abuse was out of control. I lost my family, my friends, my job, my home — I ended up homeless and suicidal on the streets downtown.
A New Chapter In My Life
But a couple of years ago, everything changed. I got sober and, despite my reading problems, I started reading the Bible. Then I made it to Springs Rescue Mission. I immediately embraced the program, I embraced Jesus, and I knew for the first time that I was doing what God wanted.
I started taking all kinds of classes, especially Christian classes, and suddenly I found myself learning! And everything I learned went straight to my heart. I started pouring my life into others, really loving them, and the more I gave myself away, the more God gave me back my self-esteem — because of who I am in Christ.
I know I’m still a work in progress. But my life is completely changed because of Springs Rescue Mission.