“The darkest part of my life…”
Bill grew up in a happy home, but he began abusing drugs and alcohol in his teens. “I started running in the 70’s and really never stopped,” he says. “I gave up alcohol, but opiates always seemed to climb back into my life.”
Bill was a functioning addict, holding down the same job for 22 years, making good money, and providing for his family. “I was always a respected man. I always carried myself properly,” he says.
However, all that changed when Bill was caught with heroin. “I got incarcerated at the age of 57 years old – my first felony,” he says.
When he was released from jail, Bill had nowhere to go. “Being incarcerated for six months, I didn’t pay my surcharges on my driver’s license so I couldn’t get around to work. I was stuck,” he says. “I was at the darkest part of my life – in my 50s, with nothing and nobody to turn to.”
Bill was homeless for about six weeks, staying with friends or sleeping on the boardwalk. “It really devastated me,” he says. “I really didn’t want to live anymore.”
Finally, Bill sought help from Social Services, who referred him to the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission. “I sat in here for a few nights and I saw the leadership and the staff – how happy they were – and it was something I wanted,” Bill says.
He went through 60 days of pre-program at the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission, then completed our Life Change Program at the Market Street Mission. “After 57 years of knowing there was a God but never turning to Him for anything and never surrendering, I finally turned everything over to God,” Bill says. “I’d never picked up a Bible in my whole life...and now I love reading scripture.”
Bill graduated from the program and returned to the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission for Leadership Training. “I knew it would be an opportunity for structure in my life, for me to keep my clarity and think right,” Bill says. “I figured if I could give back to the Mission, then I could continue to grow with Christ, continue to learn about myself.”
As a leadership trainee, Bill attends chapels and Bible studies, receives counseling, and encourages men who are new to the Mission. “I give them a little pep talk about how it gets better if you just keep your head up,” Bill says.
When he completes leadership training, Bill hopes to do mission work himself – to minister to others the way Mission staff has ministered to him. “I can’t say enough good about the staff,” he says. “They truly care.”
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Help other men like Bill…
Bill's story of hope and healing is inspiring. Our Life Change Recovery Program exists to help other men in Asbury Park find healing. Will you help provide this help to others?