I was raised in a loving home, went to church, and asked Christ into my heart many times as a child, never convinced He was there because I couldn’t “feel” Him.
I began using alcohol and drugs in high school and escalated my use in college. In December of my sophomore year, I got shocking news: my brother Geoff took his life. I was shattered. I spent much of my twenties drinking and getting high; not dealing with my pain and grief. I became deeply cynical, scared to invest my heart into anything, and dropped out of college.
Eventually, I did graduate college and got married. During that time, my drinking intensified, and I lost my job two months before my son Wesley was born. I was a stay at home dad barely functioning in my alcoholism, and my wife was forced to take our son and leave. I spiraled out of control, cycling through treatment centers and halfway houses. Hopeless and homeless, I was convinced I would die drunk. In December 2011, after a frightful night of drinking in my parents’ basement, I became psychotic, and they called the police. I had been arrested many times before, including two DUIs. My family had enough, and after I got out of jail, they put me on a plane. I flew 1,700 miles to freedom, although I didn’t know it yet.
Entering through the gates of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission was the most important moment of my life. Through the love and support of the staff, Christ showed Himself to me, and I learned to be humble and ask for help. Equally important, through their service work, I learned to shift my focus onto others rather than myself.
God showed me that taking responsibility and being willing to work hard to make things right, through His strength, are things I must seek daily. After 13 months, I completed LVRM’s program in January 2013. I connected with a recovery group when I got back home to Illinois; those connections are my lifelines today. God allowed me to rebuild relationships destroyed in my addiction and lead me to Northern Illinois University College of Law. I graduated last May with honors.
Today, I am blessed to work with others in the legal system and be an advocate for justice. God has constantly demonstrated His grace in my life, and I now know that God isn’t a feeling; I must seek Him daily, equally now as in the heart of my addiction.
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