At a young age, Randy was introduced to alcohol by his youth pastor. Even though he hated seeing what drinking did to his father, he would wind up following the same path, spending years battling addiction.
In a strange twist of events, Randy married his youth pastor’s ex-wife, right out of high school. Taking in her five children would be a big ask for most people, but not Randy. He never minded hard work, which always helped him keep his mind off his own feelings. “If I stay active and I’m doing something, that makes me feel better about myself,” he says. “So I tried numbing feelings all the time.” That same desire to numb away his thoughts also kept bringing him back to alcohol, even leading him to experiment with other drugs. He faced accidents, broken bones, and DUI’s, but still, the pull of addiction was too strong. After each slip-up, he’d rationalized it away, before getting dragged back in again.
“I’m okay with myself again. I used to hate myself so bad. And that’s what causes addiction to get even worse…”
Water Street Guest
Over time the lifestyle of being a workhorse by day, and a partier by night, took its toll on Randy. Slowly things unraveled until an injury landed him in the hospital and then Water Street – a place he had always fought going to. “If I would’ve went here the first time and not been so stubborn, bullheaded, or whatever, it would’ve saved me a long road of more regrets.”
Once at Water Street, Randy’s first reaction was to do what he’s always done – work his way through it. He’d sweep the entire block or volunteer in the kitchen just to keep his mind occupied. Meanwhile, staff came alongside him, gently reminding him to slow down. He soon came to realize that his workaholic nature was costing him. “I’m missing out on parts of life ‘cause of being at that fast rate all the time. I’m missing out on God’s blessings,” he says.
Pausing and reflecting have been some of the biggest changes for Randy. Through his classes and the support of staff and other guests he’s learning to uproot his fear of showing emotions and accept who God made him to be instead. “I’m okay with myself again. I used to hate myself so bad. And that’s what causes addiction to get even worse,” he now knows.
Another change in Randy has been his ability to make friends and flourish in community. It’s hard to imagine now, but when Randy first came to Water Street, he describes himself as feeling overwhelmed, angry, and very serious. “I wouldn’t laugh for nothing.” Now he’s known for telling jokes and using his experience to encourage newer guests at Water Street.
“This time I’m doing it God’s way… God wants me here for a reason.”
Water Street Guest
More than anything though, Randy is learning how important it is to let God take the lead in your life. Despite hard work and good intentions, his way didn’t get him far. Now, he’s living a clean life and taking all that hard work and putting it to God’s purpose. “This time I’m doing it God’s way,” he says. “God wants me here for a reason.”
Thank you to each person who gives, prays, and supports what we do! You’re the reason we can continue to share these stories of God changing lives here at Water Street.