The audience of well-meaning volunteers and donors were speechless.
As Rich, a student in the New Life Recovery Program, shared his story; everyone’s eyes were glued to him. Most of us were looking through tears that were welling up as we listened.
Rich grew up with only a step-dad that was physically, mentally and emotionally abusive.
At age 11 he had his first taste of drugs and alcohol that were readily available in his home. He liked the way it numbed him from the abuse and very quickly became addicted.
By age 15, he tried going to rehab, attempted suicide to escape the abuse and had his knee shattered which led to 9 surgeries over the next decade.
Rich said that his drugs and alcohol only intensified as he grew older. He wanted to end his life.
He blew up his step-dad’s prized classic car in an attempt to either go to jail or have his step-dad get so mad that he would kill him; anything he could do to finally escape the pain of life.
Over the next decade, he had two kids with a woman that also had a drug problem. Rich continued to spiral downward.
Rich desired for change, but everywhere and everyone he turned to led him into more issues with drugs.
After escaping someone unloading a gun while chasing him through the night he said: “It felt like a magnet” as he walked into a church and a traveling pastor showed him more kindness and love than he had ever known before.
A while later, he was attending a Christian conference and almost drowned in a lake from his boat capsizing. He realized he could not swim any further and knew that he was going down for the last time – he felt a hand (that felt like fire) reach down and grab his chest and lift him out of the water until someone was able to reach him from the shore.
Rich said that he knows he has been created for something greater because he is loved by the Father!
Rich is learning how to live a lifestyle of freedom from addiction and growing in his understanding of what it means to live a Christ-centered life at Open Door Mission.
Heartland Hands Coordinator