People You Should Know: Anthony

“I never understood how surrender could lead to victory.”

Hi, I’m Anthony. Let me tell you how God used Rockford Rescue Mission to save my life.

I was raised in a drug-shooting gallery in Baltimore, Maryland. Eventually I bounced from house to house, group home to institution – never more than a year in the same place. Drugs and alcohol took over my life, just as they had my father’s. Every day, I raced to get my first drink or to shoot enough heroin and cocaine to keep the withdrawals from coming.

Eight years ago, I lost my girlfriend to a heroin overdose while we were using together. Months later, both my father and uncle killed themselves. I numbed the pain of their deaths with more drugs and alcohol. In the midst of that, I learned I was going to be a father. So for a time I white-knuckled it, pausing the heavier drug use for the sake of being a father to my son.

But hopelessness and depression set in again. Looking for my next high became more important to me even than caring for my beautiful son. I met and fell in love with a woman who also struggled with addiction. Soon, we both relapsed and the awful nightmare repeated. I bought the dope, and while we used together, she overdosed and died.

I’d lost almost everyone and everything that I had ever loved. Riding the Blue Line train in Chicago, with a needle in my hand, I cried out to God: “Please – if you are there, I need your help. I cannot do this anymore!”

I had just enough faith to get me through until I found a treatment center in Rockford, where my counselor was a graduate of Rockford Rescue Mission. He brought me here, and everyone welcomed me with respect. I had been to treatment before, but this time was different. I had to surrender to God and be honest like never before.

I never understood how surrendering could lead to victory. Today, God has removed those cravings for drugs and alcohol while giving me something greater. Now, I am in awe of how He has changed my life. Instead of being a slave to addictions, I look for opportunities to serve others and to be a great father to my son.

I have a good job at Advanced Chimney Service here in Rockford, and I attend City First Church every week. I’m living temporarily in the Mission’s transitional housing. It’s a safe place where I can continue to become the man God created me to be.

Through Rockford Rescue Mission, God is doing for me what I could never do for myself. I will be forever grateful.

Anthony’s testimony is featured in a previous issue of The Rescuer.