From Mess To Ministry

James struggled with alcohol for many years to the point where his wife told him to leave. He bounced from rehabs to halfway houses and hospitals never being able to get beyond temporary improvement. James was on a downward spiral, doing jail time for a DUI and assault charge and then being forcibly evicted. James was homeless.

He was at the end of himself, with no resources, no prospects and no hope. James remembers being at the corner of Prince and Lemon Streets, deciding whether or not to turn left and end it all by throwing himself in front of a train. He remembered one person telling him to come to Water Street Mission and he chose to turn right and walk in the front doors of our Day Shelter, (Then called CHOC – Water Street’s Community Homeless Outreach Center).

He was broken, crying, and drunk and two guys immediately walked up to him and put their arms around James, telling him that everything was going to be okay.

James remembers being at the corner and deciding whether or not to turn left and end it all by throwing himself in front of a train.

A Case Manager talked with James, letting him know about the programs that would be available to him. Further suggesting that James was in no condition to make a decision that day, his Case Manager got him set up with the emergency services he would need and told him that he would talk with him the next day.

Knowing that his own choices had led to his hitting rock bottom, James decided to sign up for what was then Water Street’s Life Recovery Program. He also went to church with another Mission guest who introduced James to Discovery Recovery.

Through his time at church, in campus bible studies and chapel, and talking with his counselor, James discovered the roots of perfectionism and the resulting feelings of inadequacy that he attempted to silence by drinking. He dealt with false beliefs he had about God from being raised in a highly legalistic church. James began to experience a loving God that he’d never known before and He chose to give his life to Him.

The road wasn’t easy. James even had to serve a brief jail sentence for a prior offense in the middle of his time at Water Street (though a sympathetic judge gave him work release privileges so that he could come back to campus and complete the Life Recovery Program).

James is now 5 years sober and remarried. He is good friends with his former wife and has a better relationship with his children than he’d ever had. After working in a construction job for a while, he felt God calling him to use his past experiences to help others so he became a certified Recovery Specialist through the State and now works as a Residential Coordinator and Facility Caretaker at Rase Project – a Recovery Community Organization.

Thanks to your support, James has gone from alcohol addiction to helping others experience the restoration that he has.