Salvation Stories

More than a Free Lunch

Escaping a World of Addiction

When I hit rock bottom and ended up at the Salvation Army, there was nothing left to lose. I was fresh out of jail, on probation, losing my apartment and everything I owned, disowned by my family, strung out on Heroin, drinking heavily and stealing or prostituting my girlfriend to support our daily substance habits.

All this after only two weeks of freedom after two months in jail. My life had taken a serious nosedive and I was heading for a crash landing. If I kept going, I would soon be back in jail, sent to an institution or put six feet underground. I was helpless, hopeless and destitute. My stinking thinking had brought me this far down and I was out of ideas.

One morning, waking up drunk from the night before and feeling the need for a fix with a stomach grumbling from hunger, my only option was a quick walk to the Salvation Army for a free lunch. The dope house was only a few blocks away and we were used to running out of money, dope and alcohol. A free lunch at the "Sally" was pretty much the norm.

After strolling in arrogantly with the usual strung-out, drunk crowd, we had a good lunch and headed for the door. Walking past the wooden chairs in the well kept and clean lobby, I was suddenly pulled like metal to a magnet and sat down without another thought. My friends looked curiously and asked. "What are you doing?"

I had my head down and feeling relieved. I looked up with only one thing to say. "My life is a shambles and there's nothing any of you can do for me." Immediately I felt the yoke of my burdens beginning to be lifted. That was the start of a journey that has forever changed the way I think and the way I want to live.

At first the path to sobriety left me confused and angry. I was mad that I had to be in a rehab with other addicts and alcoholics. I thought I was different, that I didn't really need to be there. So began a journey of self discovery, reevaluation and trying, "by the grace of God" to find a better way to live.

Confused, angry, distrustful and full of fear, I had to re-learn how to stop, look, listen and follow directions. After all the years of running the show and doing everything my way, it was difficult to be a part of the real world. I wondered, Why me? That was the beginning of the end for my old life. A new and better way of living had begun.

After six months at the Salvation Army and being in the hands of God, I slowly learned to change the people, places and things that were my old kingdom. It took a combination of prayer, meditation and seeking forgiveness for my sins. I began thanking the Lord for giving so freely of his amazing grace, walking a golden road of unlimited devotion and lifting my hands high to praise my God, the Holy Ghost. I kenw my Lord Jesus Christ had given his life for all the sins of the world.

Today, I feel relieved of my burdens and blessed to be a part of God's world, not mine. Thank you Lord for holding The Salvation Army in your golden hands and saving a wretch like me.

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