John felt he had nothing to lose – until you showed him all he had to live for.
I had the gun in my mouth, again. There I was, living in my car during the coldest part of the Fargo winter, looking for reasons not to kill myself.
How did I get to that point? I was a drunk. But underneath that, I was lonely. It started in my truck-driving days. I would spend all day driving, then park at a truck stop and drink a 12-pack. I called that a life. I spent most of my free time in a bar, deep in the throes of my addiction.
My landlord confronted me because I had not been paying rent. So, I ran away from my problems. I started sleeping in my car and thinking about using that gun.
I did not do it. Instead I broke down and cried out for help to my sister and my nephew. They rushed to my side and did two things I will be forever grateful for. First, they took the gun away. Second, they brought me to New Life Center.
Coming to the Mission made me realize that I was never going to be able to outrun my problems. I was not used to living a structured life. I had to prepare for the adversity that would come at me in the future. I had to be ready to face it all. Jesus gave me the strength to do that.
Adversity finally reared its head. I was not feeling well, so the folks at New Life Center convinced me to go in for a checkup. The doctor told me it was cancer. In that moment I knew I could not fight cancer AND drink beer. Alcohol would not get me through this, but the Lord sure would.
Now I am four years sober and grateful every single day. After finishing the program, I moved into my own apartment. Although life has had its ups and downs, I knew the answer was not going back to the bottle, that is for sure.
I get out of bed every morning feeling energized and excited. It is because I know I have something to live for. I spend most days volunteering either as a food pick-up driver at New Life Center or help at the New Life Center Thrift Store. For the first time in a long time, I feel fulfilled.