My struggle with drugs and alcohol has always been connected to anger. As a child, I was angry at my mother for returning to an abusive relationship. As a teenager, that anger led me to a life of violence. I started with drinking and smoking weed as a teenager, but my drug and alcohol use increased when I joined the military.
In the Navy, I became a full-blown addict. I left my wife because I was out of control and didn’t want to drag her down. I was kicked out of the Navy five days before I was supposed to get out for testing positive for cocaine. Moving back home, my addiction led to jail time, which opened my eyes to my future. After completing rehab, I met my second wife. Our relationship began to be rocky, but she had a daughter that I cared about and developed a bond with even after our divorce.
I stayed clean until January 1, 2009, when I learned of the death of my little sister. I didn’t care about anything after that and went back to drugs. I went through another program to get clean. I was in a relationship with my son’s mother. During this time, our relationship began to have problems. I began using again to punish her and my son was suffering in the process. I haven’t been in his life, as I left them to bounce all over the country, running with my addiction.
In April 2021, I was hanging out at a drop-in center in Jacksonville and heard that City Rescue Mission was hosting a public Easter meal. I attended just for the meal, but as I was leaving, I met a counselor that asked about my struggles with drinking and drugs. I knew about the LifeBuilders Program, but I had never thought about joining. The counselor told me that I could enter the program that day, so I decided to join because of my son. I have tried to reach out to him, but I am afraid of rejection. After my graduation, Laurie Stasi (wife of Executive Director, Paul Stasi) and I were talking about my fear of reaching out and she said,”You have to do it. Whether the outcome is good or bad, you’ve got to do it anyway.” That made so much sense to me. I have reached out to my son’s mother. God sees what I’m doing and he is going to work it out.
Before I came to City Rescue Mission, I was angry, addicted, and hopeless. Now, I am positive, reinforced, and smiling every day. I am thankful to CRM for giving me a chance. God has always been there for me, but I’m willing to stay and let God do his work now.
To read the entire January Newsletter, click here.