A Formerly Homeless Father Can Smile Again
I grew up using drugs for most of my volatile life. There were times when I was in prison and times when I did well and was employed. But when my mother passed away a few years ago, grief overtook me and I fell deep into addiction, lost my job as an over-the-road truck driver, and tumbled into homelessness.
Sometimes I would live on the streets. Other times I would couch surf at friends’ apartments. During a prolonged couch surfing period I was employed and actually saved up some money to buy a car. As you might expect, having someone living rent free on your couch for a month gets tiring and once I bought my car, my friend told me it was time to leave.
At that moment I had nowhere to go, and, feeling abandoned by my friend and still overcome with grief about my mom, I decided to take my own life. Throughout my drug misuse and abuse I have used meth or alcohol, but not heroin. Still, I believed that using an excessive amount of heroin would be a quick and painless way to die, so I purchase a large quantity, got in my car, and drove out to what I thought was the middle of nowhere – an industrial area far west of Salt Lake City near the airport.
I parked my car and injected what I expected to be a fatal dose of heroin.
The next thing I remember, I woke up in a hospital, still alive. In that moment I realized God was watching out for me since there is no way I should have been alive without divine intervention. To this day, I don’t know how I ended up at the hospital. I have never read the police report. I know I was charged with a DUI and, somehow, lived. I figure God sent someone there (at just the right moment) to find me and call the paramedics.
I spent a week in the hospital but when they released me, I was still in my same predicament: anxious, depressed, and homeless. I was hungry and had no money or place to go, so I asked a homeless man on the street where I could get food. It was an early Saturday morning in August, 2022 and he told me the Rescue Mission served a hot breakfast at 7 a.m.
That warm August morning, I walked into the Rescue Mission for food to fill my empty stomach. While eating, I learned that the Mission had a New Life Program that could help people get sober and get off the streets. I felt good being at the Mission. It seemed like the love of God was there and since I was convinced it was God who had spared my life, I wanted to know more about Him.
Two days later I joined the New Life Program, and my life has radically changed since. The staff at the Mission showed me Christ-like love, which was different from other relationships I have had. I came to learn the truth about Jesus from the Bible and am not ashamed to call myself a born-again Christian. I was baptized at a local Christian church and have a real relationship with God now.
He has truly changed me, ever since saving my life on the day I wanted to end it. I have not used drugs or alcohol for nearly a year now and have worked through many issues in my one-on-one sessions. . For the first time in my life, I feel like a stable-minded person. I don’t feel like the same person I used to be. When I think about my past life, it feels like I am looking back at a movie, almost like it didn’t happen.
My depression and anxiety are mitigated by the love and grace I have experienced from God. I have learned the importance of daily prayer and scripture reading as tools to keep me connected to God. I have a good church family at the Adventure Church in Draper and know that keeping connected to a good local church will be key for me.
God has healed my relationship with my 15-year-old daughter and we talk on the phone three or four times a week. She lives with her mom, and it is great that she has welcomed me back into her life.
I recently joined the employment phase of the New Life Program and got a job at a youth shelter, which provides shelter for young homeless people ages 15-22. I feel called to help the homeless and addicted now that God has changed my life and am excited to be supporting homeless youth in our community. As a young person, I often felt abandoned and alone and believe my life experience can help young people who are struggling.
As I work, I will continue in the New Life Program and save money. I am still on probation for my DUI but just need to save up some money to pay off my fine and my probation will end. I am also saving up money so when I graduate from the New Life Program I can afford a place of my own.
Finally, I hope you notice the smile in my picture. When I came to the Mission I had severe tooth pain and a broken smile from years of neglecting my teeth. Through contacts at the Mission, I was able to secure new teeth through the University of Utah. Having a full smile has given me further confidence and joy as I move into the next phase of my life.
I am so thankful for everything you, the supporters of the Rescue Mission, have sacrificed to support the Rescue Mission. I know God used that offer of a hot breakfast to lead me here and that your support supplies not only food, but all the great services and life-changing support I have received since coming through the Mission’s doors. Your gracious support has truly changed my life and I can’t thank you enough.
Check Out Other Newsletter Articles
More Than Meals: How the New Life Program Changes Lives – A Message From Our Director
As Winter Shelters Close, We Need Your Doubled Donation More Than Ever
Kayra Darling: A Women Finds a New Life Off the Streets
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The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1972 to help the homeless and Restore Broken Lives.
God’s work at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake is important. Each day lives are changed, people come to know Jesus, and much-needed services are provided.