Testimony of the Month
Editor’s Note: We are often asked about our success rate. People wonder, “How many of the people who come through your door end up changing their life and leaving the streets.” This month, we bring you a story that may help people understand how complicated it is for us to measure success. Randy Thorton would probably fall into our official “unsuccessful” category. He never graduated the New Life Program, despite three attempts. Still, God was able to use Randy’s time at the Mission to make him into a new person.
My name is Randy Thorton and just last month I was able to convince my brother to join the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program. Like me, he has been a long-time addict. But unlike me, he doesn’t have a year of sobriety under his belt. I told my brother how much the Rescue Mission had taught me about God. I explained how staying close to God through prayer, fellowship, and reading the Bible—all things I learned at the Rescue Mission—helped me stay sober.
My brother listened as I shared how using the principles I learned at the Rescue Mission was the only way I was able to stop using meth. I praise God that my brother joined the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program. Today, I go down to the Mission on a regular basis and work a shift in the Mission’s kitchen just to show my brother that I support him and am staying sober myself. I encourage him to stick with the New Life Program and know that it can help him.
Even as I encourage my brother, I must acknowledge that I didn’t follow my own advice. I went on and off the New Life Program three times. The longest I stayed was five months. Once, I relapsed and had to leave. Another time I got into a disagreement with the Rescue Mission staff, and a third time I left because I violated curfew and eventually was put in jail for a probation violation.
Still, throughout all my ups and downs, the things I learned while on the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program never left me, and today, at age 28, I feel like I am someone who can help others. Even my brother, who is six years younger, tells me I am a role model to him and that he looks up to me.
I started using meth when I was just 14 and was kicked out of a half-dozen junior high and middle schools in Weber and Davis County. Eventually, they just started putting me in juvenile detention. Some days, I remember crying, asking God to help me stop using meth, all while cutting up a line of meth to snort. Once I was talking to my mom on my back porch. I was just crying wondering why I couldn’t stop using.
During the times between when I would leave the Rescue Mission and then come back, I always felt like God was drawing me there. After I left the first time, I remember coming down to Salt Lake (I have spent my life living in Ogden) to buy meth. It seems like every time I would come down, God would make sure I had to pass by the Rescue Mission. Each time I saw the “Jesus Saves” sign I felt drawn to come back.
Eventually, God used my longest stint at the Rescue Mission, combined with several months in jail, to help me. It was early last year when I entered the New Life Program for the third time. The Mission’s leaders were gracious in allowing me back. But after about five months, I took an unauthorized trip to my girlfriend’s house and got in a fight with another guy there. I was picked up for a parole violation and taken to jail. With five months of sobriety already under my belt, my stay in jail helped me continue to stay sober.
I started going to a Bible study in jail and when the person who was leading the Bible study was let free from jail, I started leading the Bible study. I remembered what I had learned through the many Bible studies and counseling sessions at the Rescue Mission and was able to teach others.
I was even able to quit drinking coffee. While I am not judging people who drink coffee, for me, a meth addict, getting that little bit of caffeine rush gave me just a little taste of what meth was like. God convicted me to quit, so while I was in jail, I gave away my last two bags of coffee that I had stored up. It was a big victory for me to be free from all stimulants.
When I was released to a halfway house I completed my time there as well, still staying sober. Today, I am living independent back in Ogden. I have been sober for over a year and have a job with a company that contracts with UDOT to do road maintenance and signage projects.
In all my ups and downs I had four children, three with one lady and one son with another. Now I am able to be there for my three children, and even have some visitation with my other son. Since I have a job I can help provide for them and I strive to be a real dad. Growing up as someone whose parents were addicts, I know it is hard having an addict for a dad. I feel bad that I am repeating this cycle but am depending on God to keep me sober and help break the cycle of addiction in my family.
I am thankful that God has used me to help my brother get the help he needs. I am going to the Genesis Project church, which meets at Hub 801 in Ogden. I like the people there along with the relaxed atmosphere combined with a firm commitment to the Gospel and God’s word. Please pray for me that I will continue to be plugged in at my home church. Pray also that I will continue to spend time in God’s word. It’s easy to read the Bible in jail or in a recovery program because there is time set aside for reading. But in everyday life, it is a lot harder to spend time with God.
Also pray for my family. I am currently trying to have a God-honoring relationship with the mother of three of my children. We are seeking God’s direction for the future of our family. Pray also for my other son and his mother, as I would like to have a better relationship with him. I realize it is my fault we haven’t had a good relationship to this point. Thank you for supporting the Rescue Mission. While in many ways I feel like I let the Rescue Mission and its supporters down, you should know that without the Mission I truly believe my life would’ve never changed and I would still be a homeless meth addict.
To learn more about what is happening at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake in September, check out our monthly newsletter, The Rescuer: