A Life Recovered
40 years wasted. This is how I saw my life at age 56 as I lay on an old mattress in the basement of a house owned by a couple of acquaintances of mine. I hesitate to call these people friends but they were doing me a kindness by allowing me to stay with them because I had nowhere else to go. I had brought myself to this point by spending the last 40 years of my life making bad choices. The first bad decision that I recall making was to experiment with drugs at age 16, this decision became a plague in my life for the next 40 years. My drug and alcohol abuse were always controlling factors in everything that I did, a fact that I refused to recognize for 40 years. The drug abuses lead me to addiction, addictions lead me to crime, and of course, crimes eventually lead me to incarceration. I spent more than 10 years locked up in jails and prisons during the 40-year span mentioned above. I had burned all the bridges along the way. No one that knew my history wanted to see me coming anymore, not even my own family. I found myself at 56 lost and alone and unable to find a way back. The true gravity of what I had done to myself really hit home in the summer of 2011. I had bounced around staying with anyone that would let me. My days were continuously filled with thoughts of finding some way to get back on my feet. I had already decided that I did not want to finish my life as a drug addicted alcoholic, with the only memory of me being that of a thief, convict, and drug addict. The problem was finding someone that would give me another chance.
I would now like to describe the events that outline my recovery. It began, I think, in the year 2006 or 2007. I was released from jail after spending about 6 or 8 months for some reason that now I can’t even remember. What I do remember is that it was the middle of winter and very cold. I was released with a couple changes of clothes, no money, and absolutely nowhere to go, and I was walking, it was about 6am. I was walking through town trying to decide what to do when I approached a church. I knew that a church might help me. I knocked on the door and a man of about 30 to 35 answered holding some papers in his hand. I explained my situation and asked if there might be some work that I could do for the church so that I could make enough money to survive on for a few days. I waited, he took and bought men breakfast, and then he drove me 40 miles to the Cookeville Rescue Mission. This man, I do not remember his name, got me admitted to the Mission, prayed for me, left the Mission a donation, and parted with a smile.
The Mission offered many things, food, shelter, clothing, but I saw very quickly that the primary focus of the staff was to expose any who would listen to God and the Christian way of life. It was not required that you believe, it was only hoped and prayed for. I was not ready at that time, nor was I ready the next two times that I came to the Mission and asked for help, and got it. Several years passed and I found myself at the point that I described at the beginning of this document. I had almost decided that I come to the end and there was no hope left. Each night I would lie down on that mattress in that basement, and I would pray to God to just give me one more chance, one more opportunity, and I would grab hold and I would not let go. It was at this time that I thought of the Cookeville Rescue Mission again, and I made a call, and they said yes, come on. That was over three years ago and within the first few months that I was at the Mission I did confess my sins and made Jesus Christ my lord and Savior. It would take too long to list all the positive things that have occurred in my life since then. Let if suffice to say that doors began to open, I am now in my third academic year of college in pursuit of a Bachelors degree in Business Information Systems and am presently holding a 3.1 GPA, but I hope to improve on that. I know now that God was always there and waiting, waiting for me to make my decision, and I did. I thank God for giving me that one more opportunity, and I tell him so every day.