The following is a personal essay written by Charles, a recent graduate of the New Life Program.
This is the second installment of a two part series based on his’ writings. The first installment included two personal essays he wrote while in the New Life Program.
Now, he’d like to share a follow-up piece he recently wrote for Springs Rescue Mission. He hopes that by doing so, these words will touch people who have gone — or continue to go — through similar situations and struggles, and to show others how his perspective has changed throughout his recovery.
Click here for part one, which includes a brief overview of Charles’ story and two of his personal essays.
MY NEW LIFE
After a year in the New Life Program at Springs Rescue Mission, my life is transformed. I went from being a convict with almost no chance of living a functional, healthy and free life to a man with a bright future. I even got off parole almost a year and a half early because of the transformation I was able to achieve with the help of Jesus Christ and the patient love and help from people at the New Life Program. I have a job, I still live in sober living and I actually have healthy relationships. I can only attribute all these things to God and to trusting in Him.
Things have not all been easy. In February, I slid on some ice and my truck — the first legal, paid-off vehicle I’ve had in 25 years was destroyed. But I trusted God and I am working on replacing it. My relationships have been a struggle; it’s been hard to rebuild those. At least my daughter and I talk. I’ve come to realize my most important relationship is with Jesus. When everything seems too big and overwhelming, I can always find Him. All I have to do is open my Bible. With Him, all things are possible.
I don’t want my old life back. I’ve learned that I had to turn away from all of it. I had nothing in common with the old people and no desire for old friends or behaviors. I have a new family at Springs Rescue Mission, and I still visit the New Life Program regularly. I still talk to my friends from there, I still read my Bible and I go to 12-step meetings on a regular basis.
I know that a new life is not a destination — it’s a process and a journey. I don’t have to walk this path alone anymore. I just have to walk in faith and trust in God. Walking alone only brought me heartache, addiction and prison. I instead choose life, love and happiness. I choose God and a relationship with him.
Life here on earth isn’t easy — it’s not supposed to be. This is where we all prove our devotion (or lack thereof); it’s where we show others what we’re really about. As Paul says, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I don’t know what my life will look like a year from now, but I know I won’t get complacent. I will trust God to direct my steps and I will continue to pray that I be a blessing and a good example to those around me.
I pray for my brothers at the New Life Program and for my fellow man. I keep in mind the advice of Paul: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life; you should mind your own business and work with your hands, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so you will not be dependent on anybody.”
I thank those who have accompanied me on this journey — and I thank God every day for the new life he’s given me.
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