Robert loves to work. “I grew up in a family that taught me the value of hard work. I have always had good jobs and enjoyed working hard, but I discovered that I could use work as a cover up.” He worked at his job for 18 years, but personally his life was falling apart; behind the veil of high energy and perfectionism was a wounded man relying on his own strength, trying hard to find peace, love and acceptance. He had grown up in church and says “I believed in God, but I didn’t know how to connect my life with God.” He tried to be perfect, and when that failed, the arrogance and rebellion of youth held Robert back from realizing the love God has for him.
After the loss of his job due to drinking, Robert was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and social anxiety but his medicine didn’t seem to help. He again turned to alcohol, and finally came to the point of knowing he had to change.
Robert had heard about the Mission, growing up in the area, but his impression was that it was a place for “losers.” Friends told him about the reality of a ministry where God is active and changing people. He was skeptical, but gave it a try as a last resort.
“The Mission is a place where God is,” says Robert. “It’s full of Him” The counselors have been instrumental in his discipleship, loving him without sugarcoating either the severity of his needs or the possibility for their solutions. His own maturing and, at the same time, inability to change himself or his situation made him open to hearing the message of God’s freedom He hears this message every day at the Mission – in fact, usually several times a day.
“In the Liberty Street Recovery Program, I have learned that my freedom from addiction comes with a process of time in counseling, accountability with other men and learning to walk with God throughout each day. I enjoy working at the New Life Center each day sober. Working alongside other men who are in recovery groups with me has helped me see my own personal flaws and taught me to turn to God and the Scripture to renew my thinking and calm the emotional storms that used to trigger my relapses into alcohol abuse.”
The fruits of God’s work in Robert’s life are evident. Last year (2014), he lost a close family member in a sudden house fire. In the past a tragedy of this magnitude would have triggered a relapse, but he astoundingly had no desire to drink during this very difficult time. Robert says God gave him strength and focus. This year was also the first in a long time he was able to celebrate the holidays sober. These are significant victories and show deep, spiritual change in Robert’s heart and mind.
Robert is now finishing up the recovery program at the Mission. He attributes his sobriety to learning how to rely on God’s love and grace each and every day. The peace of that love replaces the anxiety, insecurities and fears that landed him in this place he never thought he would be.