A Grateful Family
“Addiction is like being trapped in a hole. You can see the guy on the other side of the mirror, and you know what he wants, but you can’t do it. You don’t know how.
I was born prematurely, with a cleft lip and a cleft palate. So I was made fun of a lot. Kids can be really cruel. That scarred me. I just always wanted to be accepted, and I guess I chose the wrong crowd. For over 35 years I struggled with alcohol and drugs. I got a divorce, and that hit me pretty hard.
I would always pray those foxhole prayers: God, get me out of this one and I’ll do better.
And then you get better and you forget about God… until the next time.
I tried different treatment programs. I always thought I could handle things after I got myself under control again and things were better. But in 2018, I was defeated. I got arrested on a drug charge, and was facing jail time because it was my second offense. I lost my job and I lost my trailer. Then I had to put my dog down, which was hard. I had her 13 years. She was my life for a while.
Everything was just falling apart. I was just trying to sleep my days away, and hopefully, the problems would just go away. But they weren’t going away.
A friend told me I should think about Rockford Rescue Mission. I always thought it was just for homeless people. But in 2019, I went – first to the Crisis Center, and then 17 days later, to the Life Recovery Program.
Rockford Rescue Mission offered a lot, and I took advantage of everything I could. I went through the Genesis Program, and it opened my eyes to a lot of things. It digs into your soul, and you find out a lot of dark secrets and why you do what you do.
I know I’ve done a lot of damage, and I’m not proud of it. It’s something I just don’t want to go back to. I’ve gotten too far. I’m not going to lie — I still have thoughts about it. But then I play that tape all the way through: If I do this, what’s going to happen after that? And so on, and so on.
It feels good to be making the right decisions.”
– Mike’s Dad
“Mike worked for me since 1984, when he was 16 years old. I had hopes and dreams of him taking over the family business. You never think things will go the way they did.
I know at Rockford Rescue Mission they talk about trigger points (situations that trigger destructive behavior). I was probably at the top of Mike’s list. He would come in to work in the mornings, and you could smell the alcohol on his breath. He was always in a state of denial. It got bad. The relationship took a dive. As a parent, I was just totally disappointed by the direction that he took. When you just can’t make any headway, you lose heart.
Mike would call his mother when he was half out of it. She would talk to him and try to encourage him to try to change things: Things will be alright. Just keep hanging in there.
But he would never call me. The only relationship I had with him was an employee relationship. In March 2018, I had to fire him. I’d had enough. He told me, ‘I’m not listening to any of your crap.’ He slammed the door and left.
Today, there has been a transformation. Rockford Rescue Mission has a lot to do with that. Other recovery programs do talk about a higher power. But here it’s all biblically based, and I think that’s one thing that really helped Mike. He talks about the things that he’s learned in the Bible.
This year, when we celebrated my daughter’s birthday at the house, Mike gave thanks for the meal. That was a special moment for us all.”
– Mike’s Mom
“As a mother, it just kind of tore my heart up every time I would see Mike. I prayed for 35 years as he struggled. Sometimes prayer is all you have. I couldn’t fix him. I couldn’t talk to him anymore. His dad couldn’t reason with him anymore. So what do you have left? When you know God is there for sure, that’s all I had.
My one prayer that was a constant was, Keep his heart soft. I didn’t want him to get hard-hearted toward God.
Every time he would try to get help, I would get so much hope. And then I would see him drop again, and each time it took me down a little bit more. So when he went into Rockford Rescue Mission, I thought, OK, God, you’ve got to get it this time.
I knew that God always answers prayer. And I knew that He doesn’t always answer it in the timing that I want or the way I want. So I just kept saying to God, When it’s your time, it is going to happen. And I felt like it would happen while I was still alive. I wanted that. I didn’t want to go without knowing if he was OK.
I see Mike now and I am so thankful. Before, whenever he and Jim talked, it was arguing, hollering, cussing, everything. Every day that Mike would come in was another day that cut Jim. It kept taking his dream away.
And now Mike has come back, and they sit here and they talk about everything. They laugh, they joke. It is just a whole different atmosphere.
I credit it to God, and then Rockford Rescue Mission, and then Mike. Because he has that determination and that excitement. He is so excited when he reads something in Scripture. It just thrills me.”
For the Fall 2020 issue of The Rescuer, click here.