From Squalor to Serenity
I started drinking and doing drugs at age 16. This is where I found myself. This was my relief. I found a group of kids who were willing to act as my “family.” I finally fit in. Actually, in this environment of drinking using and general mayhem I truly felt safe for the first time in my life. This, of course, was a nice change from being around my father.
I carried on in this cycle for many years. I got a good job working in a machine shop when I was young and worked there until I was 38. During this period, I got married and bought a home. The year I turned 38 I lost my job, my house, my wife, and my mother passed away. The job, the house, and the wife, were lost because of my behavior. By this time, I had been using drugs and alcohol for 20 years and I could not manage to hold anything together. My mother passing away was the, “straw that broke the camel’s back.” As I look back on it now my mother passing could have been replaced by any other event and I would have kept the same path.
I was destroying everything and everyone I encountered. When my mother passed, my worst nightmare manifested and I succumbed to my disease. I felt I had nothing left to live for and I chose a life of homelessness. I thought I had been condemned to misery and I did nothing to change that. As a matter of fact, I facilitated this moral and spiritual declination.
I cared for nothing and no one. I became a wild animal and learned to survive on the streets. I was alone, I was hopeless, and I was miserable. I didn’t bathe for months on end, I stole and I ate out of trash cans. I figured I was doomed to go to Hell anyway so why bother
changing anything. I would just drink and use to blot out the utter hate, the shame, and the emptiness I felt. This was my way of life for 17 years.
Then, by the grace of God, I landed at the Beacon House. When I first got to the house I went through some serious culture shock. I had been alone for almost 20 years on the street and in the middle of constant chaos. The environment at the house was extremely uncomfortable. Everyone was friendly and social and they asked me if I needed anything. It was a strange and remarkable place. I knew it was different from the outset.
I felt safe at the Beacon House. It took some time for me to “defrost,” from being homeless and alone for so long. I managed to get a sponsor and do some step work. The house and God began to remove the callused layers of remorse, regret, guilt, shame, and anger I had burrowed underneath for years. I even showered regularly to remove the layers of grit I had accumulated from living outside for so long.
I have grown up at the Beacon House. I came in a 55-year-old child. I had no answers for life and its many tribulations. I have never experienced joy, love, and freedom like I have at the House. I have a new life orchestrated by God and filled by the relationships I have learned to build.
I have two jobs and a future. I am going to be going to school to learn to be a homeless outreach counselor. These are the tangible things I have gotten from the Beacon House. Though these things are wonderful gifts the real gift is the new life I have been given. I am no longer living in fear, I have purpose and direction, my life is filled with love and support, and is supplemented with helping others who struggle with the same things I did. Thank God for the Beacon House and the Spirit it is powered by.