Testimony of the Month
(Editor’s Note: We occasionally bring you stories of people who have already shared their testimonies in the Rescuer. This month, we check in with Marvin Peckinpaugh, who shared his testimony way back in March 2008. He had seven years of sobriety after graduating from the New Life Program, but relapsed about a year ago. Marvin, now 50, shares about this setback and describes how God worked in his life during his second stint in the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program.)
My name is Marvin Peckinpaugh and today I am sober and actively working a recovery program. I have a good network of close friends and a good relationship with my father and step-mom.
I am different from when I walked into the Rescue Mission 11 months ago, feeling broken from a 10-month relapse on meth. It was hard to return to the Rescue Mission because of the embarrassment I felt. The counselors and staff all knew me and knew that I had done well for so long. I was ashamed for failing again. Still, God gave me the strength to walk back into the Rescue Mission and admit my addiction once again. I thank God that the Rescue Mission was willing to take me in a second time.
My counselor helped me replay the past two years of my life. In retrospect, I recognized the decisions I had made that led me back to my addiction. First, I started working in construction again, which was something I knew I shouldn’t do, given that my past drug abuse usually started through construction coworkers and a physically demanding job. Next, I quit going to church and having contact with people who would encourage me to live for God.
Soon I was drinking on the job, and then I began using meth.
At the Mission, I was able to relearn what I had forgotten. I remembered that I need friends who will encourage me to stay sober and follow Jesus. I need a church family who will love and care for me. I need to stay away from the construction industry, which always seems to trigger my drug use. Most of all, I relearned that I need a close relationship with Jesus through prayer, Bible study and worship.
While that all seems simple—good fellowship with God and His people—it hasn’t always been an easy plan to follow. With the Mission’s help, I now have many good friends at my church, Missio Dei, and many good friends here at the Mission. I am committed to staying away from the construction industry. I have a renewed relationship with Jesus and am living a life of sobriety. My father and step-mom are even looking forward to having me move back in with them when I graduate from the New Life Program.
Right now, I don’t feel like a failure anymore. Instead, I look back on the last eight years of my life and realize that I only did meth for 10 months of those eight years. And even though that was 10 months when I walked away from God, I still saw God working in my life. He wouldn’t let me get too far away. I can still see a lot of growth compared to where I came from, which was using meth most every day for two decades.
One struggle I am dealing with is unemployment. Since I have committed to avoid framing houses, which had led to drug abuse in the past, I need a new career. However, I don’t have a lot of experience doing much else. So I am applying for a lot of entry-level jobs in unfamiliar fields. I have been looking for two months and have attended many interviews, but haven’t received any offers yet. In my mind, I keep asking, “What is it about me that employers don't like?” I have never had to try so hard to find work, ever. So pray for me. Pray that I would trust God to take care of me and that I wouldn’t feel defeated as I search for employment.
Before, when I felt defeated or angry or depressed, I would turn to drugs to numb or mask that feeling. Now, I realize that I need to share my feelings with trustworthy friends and ask God for help. When I talk about what I am going through, I find that the desire to mask those negative feelings with drugs is lessened and it helps me stay sober. So as I struggle with feelings of defeat about this job search, please pray that I would be upfront with my struggles and trust in God.
I am excited to work and start saving money. My father, who is retired and on Social Security, wants me to move in with him and his wife when I graduate. Since they are elderly, I can help around their house, and they will only charge me a modest amount for rent and utilities. If I can save up some money before I graduate from the New Life Program, I want to use it to help my dad and step-mom. They have never really had enough money for some of the simple pleasures in life, so I would love to give them a gift for the love and support they have shown me.
I have reached out to my youngest son, who lives in South Jordan with his mom, and hope that I can begin to rebuild my relationship with him again. I told him I had to go back the Rescue Mission and I know he was disappointed. Still, he is just 17 and he means a lot to me.
And I do want to thank all the supporters of the Rescue Mission. I am now in your debt times two. It’s amazing that God uses the Rescue Mission’s supporters to help people like me. Without the free shelter, food, clothing, counseling and employment help, I really think I would have died a long time ago. God has used the Rescue Mission to save my life twice and I can’t thank you enough.
To learn more about what is happening at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake in May, check out our monthly newsletter, The Rescuer: