“Drinking to kill the pain.” It’s a phrase we often hear from people who come to the
Mission. But most of them don’t start quite as young as David did!
His mother died when David was just three years old. His father became David’s mom and dad.
But when David was 13, his father was diagnosed with cancer. Before David’s 15th birthday, both parents were gone and he was homeless!
“I remember sleeping on the ground with the flag from my dad’s coffin to keep warm.”
Despite his desperate situation, David continued to go to school and find work through the local Labor Ready office. He graduated from high school, married and went to work for GE in one of their refineries here in Long Beach.
A remarkable recovery for a person whose life had fallen apart – except for one thing: The drinking that had started at 13 to “kill some of the pain” continued when David was an adult.
Because of his drinking, David’s marriage ended in divorce. He ended up working as a cook at a Mission in downtown L.A., but his drinking continued, and he lost the job.
“I didn’t want to sleep on the streets again!”
David had heard about Long Beach Rescue Mission, and when he arrived, “a door was opened” for him. “I sat every night in chapel and listed to Chaplain Jeff preach,” he remembers. “One day, he was preaching about his dad, and I related to that story.”
David blamed God for his father’s death; for taking away his family. But at that chapel, he opened his heart to God, and made the commitment to join our New Life Program and overcome the challenges and addictions that were keeping him in bondage!
“From that moment on, I knew this is that I wanted,” David says. “I needed God in my life, and He had given me another chance to do the right thing.”
David did this interview with us the week before he graduated. The following Saturday, he left the Mission to start a new career as a chef in Arizona. But he’ll always be grateful to God and the folks here at the Mission for teaching him how to “let God come in and to be a part of my life and to guide me.”
To read the rest of this issue of Rescue Review, click here.