People You Should Know: Dave

If you don’t have a friend in the world, you can find one here. That sign used to hang outside Rockford Rescue Mission, and it was a big reason I came here for help. I’m a military brat. We bounced around a lot when I was a kid. Whenever I would make connections with people, they were soon gone.

When my dad retired, we settled in Florida and he drove a beer truck. For me as a 16-year-old, that meant incredibly easy access to alcohol. I went from having no friends to being the life of every party with a car trunk full of beer — unbeknownst to my dad. That was how my addictions started.

My dad found out and took my car away. Then my mother died of cancer. Later I got married and had two kids, and then my wife died of cancer. I continued to drink and use drugs to numb the pain. Then I was arrested for a fourth DUI and got sent to prison for a year. My kids went to live with relatives in northern Illinois … so when I got out, that’s how I was introduced to Rockford Rescue Mission.

I’d like to say my story changed overnight, but it didn’t. I’m 61, and I’ve been in the Mission’s Life Recovery program several times. God had a reason for that. I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now.

Today, as I finish the program, I also serve as a peer group counselor in the Men’s Crisis area. I took the job because I do not want to forget what God has done for me, where I came from and how I can give back. When guys here come and talk to me, I look at them and I see myself.

If I can do my little piece, somebody else can do their little piece and this world will turn around.