Her story. One of many.

Stories of new beginnings!


Rex bio portrait

Rex’s Story: I have a new name

People used to call me names. Reckless. Loser. Nobody. Let me tell you how God transformed me into a man I thought I could never be. 


I shouldn’t even be here. I overdosed five times during a 10-year struggle. I didn’t want to do drugs anymore, but I couldn’t find the power to quit. Every time I used, I needed more. It wasn’t even getting me high, but I was getting sick every single day – truly hell on earth. I had no friends and no real life. 


From that dark place, I was led to the place I had said I would never go: Rockford Rescue Mission. There I found the strength I needed to overcome drugs, my past and my pain. Nine months into the Life Recovery Program, I became free. I totally surrendered everything to Jesus Christ. 


Today I’m truly blessed. I don’t wake up sick. Instead of being angry at the world, I’m happy. I got married this year to the most amazing and beautiful woman I know. We have our own place. I’ve got a great job, and I have regained relationships that I thought were permanently broken. 


If you knew me before, and then saw me now, there’s no way you could say there is no God. I love the life that I have now. I feel as free as I’ve ever been. 


I’ve been called many names in my life. But now I like to go by a new name: Resurrected Rex. I am a new creation in Christ.




Suzanne Bio Protrait

Suzanne’s Story: God was with me

Most people in recovery say they were afraid they were going to die if they didn’t change. My biggest fear was the opposite: that I would stay forever in my place of dark loneliness. 


Not only was I a thief, but I also used cocaine from age 11 until my early 40s. Then the law caught up with me. During a three-month prison stay, I found a book shoved in the corner of my cell. I don’t remember the title, but I do remember a Bible verse it quoted, Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” 


That helped carry me through incarceration, my legal process and then Rockford Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program, where I finally confronted my pain, my addictions and the reasons behind it all. 


When I graduated, a friend of my mother gave me a plaque. She didn’t know about my prison experience, but on the plaque was printed Deuteronomy 31:6. It was another unmistakable sign that God was with me. 


Today I live a joyful new life. I’m eight years clean and sober. My relationships with my kids and grandkid are restored. My husband and I are homeowners. I’m a case manager at TASC – Treatment Alternative for Safer Communities – where we work with people who have been convicted of felonies, to help them turn their lives around. And, I’m working toward my master’s degree in clinical mental health and a career as a counselor. 


I don’t know where I’d be without Rockford Rescue Mission. Very likely I’d be in that same, awful place I had been for decades. Today I’m free.




Jackie Bio PortraitJackie’s Story: Sharing life’s lessons

In the 1990s, my life spiraled out of control. I was physically assaulted. I lost my dad. My son’s father went to prison. I felt completely alone.


My escape was crack, and my addiction quickly got out of hand. A friend told me about the Christian Care Center, Rockford Rescue Mission’s women’s program at the time. I drove up and down West State Street, but I could never find the place.


Then one hot July day, I had just spent every dime I had on drugs. My son was hungry and I didn’t have anything, and he was so ashamed of me that he wouldn’t look at me. I was driving around and I knew I couldn’t go back home. My dad had passed and my mom didn’t trust me in the house. At a traffic stop, I closed my eyes and said, ‘Lord if you help me, I’ll live for you the rest of my life.’ When I opened my eyes, I was right in front of the Christian Care Center.


So I went inside, and they had a bed available. And that’s where I stayed until I could get a handle on life again. It was the first time I really knew what love was, and especially from strangers.


I’ve been clean for 23 years now. I worked at Rockford Rescue Mission for some of that time. Last summer, I returned as a part-time Aftercare Coach. I want to help women make wise decisions, especially about unhealthy relationships. I work with them to prepare them for life outside Rockford Rescue Mission, to help them stay engaged with the program, and with their mentors and sponsors.


I am still a faith walker in Jesus Christ, and I am so grateful for all that He has done in my life through Rockford Rescue Mission.


For the Winter 2020 issue of The Rescuer, click here.


Help other people like Rex, Suzanne, and Jackie


These three stories of hope and healing are inspiring. Our long-term recovery programs exist to help other men, women and children in the Rock River Valley find healing. Will you help provide this help to others?