Couch surfing may be exciting when you’re in college, but at nearly 60 years old, Reggie was tired of the instability. His brother and sister, on the other hand, were both tired of enabling his alcoholism.
He admits he was ashamed of what his life had become. As a child, he was raised in a military family. His father served in the Army for 32 years and even overcame his own struggle with alcoholism. But Reggie’s mother died when he was just 13 years old, leaving him to grow up hard and fast.
Two weeks after he graduated high school, he joined the Army and spent the next 10 years in telecommunications and aviation, until he was honorably discharged. For the next 25-30 years, he sank deeper and deeper into his addictions, even using cocaine for a short time. He tried 30-day recovery programs and support groups, but nothing worked.
“It’s easy to get caught up in that vicious cycle,” he explains, “and it’s hard to stop when you don’t know how or what resources to turn to.” Finally, he lost his job and lived with his brother and sister for a short time. But Reggie knew he needed to change. Penniless, he looked for a free long-term program, eventually finding Denver Rescue Mission.
In the Mission’s New Life Program, he became sober, built important life skills and relationships and ultimately was able to be honest with himself.
“I feel like I’ve found myself here,” he says. “I have a deeper relationship with God, my counselor and chaplain have helped me come to know the person I really am, I accept my faults, and I’m not as hard on myself as I used to be.”
According to Reggie, his lifelong dream was to become a cook, and his father always wanted him to get a good education. But he never pursued either.
Today, thanks to the New Life Program, he’s making that dream a reality with culinary classes at Emily Griffith Technical College. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” he says. “It’s never too late in life to do what you want to do. This is so important to me because it’s what my dad strived to provide for me. And it’s changing my life now. I hope he’s up in heaven smiling, and I hope he’s proud of me.”
Next on his plate is completing his certificate in culinary arts along with a 180-hour internship. “After I graduate from school in March, I’ll be able to get a full-time job and save some money before I finish the New Life Program,” he says cheerfully.
Just like leaves changing in the fall, Reggie says the changes in his life signify the start of a whole new season. “I’m changing so much,” he says. “My perspective is new … I have goals now. Everything is changing, and I’m so grateful for it.”
And ultimately, it’s all thanks to you. We rely on the support of donors like you and thousands of others to change lives like Reggie’s. So this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for you and the many others you join in supporting transformational programs and lifesaving services for people suffering in homelessness and addiction. Thank you for helping us change lives in the name of Christ during this holiday season!