So many times I’ve met men and women on the streets and wondered how they got to that point. What happened to them? What have they gone through? Our friend Douglas recently shared his story with us, and we want to share it with you.
Douglas’ path to life on the streets began as a 17 year old boy. He tried drinking, then kept drinking. By the age of 25 he was also experimenting with drugs. His life started to slowly spiral downward as alcohol and drugs fueled wrong choices and bad behavior. Time and time again Douglas would shake off the addiction for a month or so but then it would grab hold of him once again. By 2007 his family had enough and they kicked him out on the streets where he struggled alone against the addiction that was destroying his life.
In 2011 we met Douglas for the first time at the Lighthouse Project. As our programs and ministry grew, he spent more and more time with us but he continued to fight an up and down battle with his addiction. He would enter rehab, then leave, then back again, and sometimes we wouldn’t see him for months at a time.
Last November he got some news that stopped him in his tracks. His liver was in serious trouble, and if he kept drinking and doing drugs he would soon be dead. He had watched others die on the street and he made a decision to get the help he needed.
Our Lighthouse Project staff moved quickly to get him into a rehab where he stayed for several months. He left rehab with renewed hope and he came to us asking if we could help him stay clean for the first time since he was 17 years old.
Last week we all had a reason to celebrate as Douglas hit the six month mark on his road to staying clean and sober. We had a big party with cheers, hugs, and cupcakes. That day he shared a special message, and he was grinning ear to ear!
The truth is we were all grinning ear to ear with joy because we have walked with him along the way. He works at our center every day setting up for activities, washing dishes, going to the market, and helping out with maintenance. He is involved in all of our programs, and faithfully participates in weekly Bible study. He also attends a support group for recovering addicts, and he is going through the Celebrate Recovery curriculum with our staff. He serves others who come to the center looking for help and friendship. Douglas no longer sleeps on the streets at night. He has connected with his uncle who has provided him with a place to stay.We talk to him every weekend to see how he’s doing and to help him stay focused on his goals.
And what are Douglas’ goals? His wants to continue his new lifestyle…he is eating better and feeling healthier than he has in years. He lives with a sense of peace and he enjoys his responsibilities at the center. He also dreams of getting a good job, and maybe even getting married one day.
We know that Douglas still has a tough road to walk and there is no program that offers a magic solution. There is no cure that frees someone immediately from the chains of addiction. The only reason that Douglas is here today, alive, and walking toward recovery is because of God. No program alone can save someone, no program can fulfill their soul. But we thank God that He is using the work we are doing to touch Douglas’ life and to impact his future.
Thank you to all of you who pray for Douglas regularly and who support the work we are doing in the Lighthouse Project. This truly is a team effort. You are making a difference in Douglas’ life and you have helped him to get to six months sober…six months and counting.
We are so grateful for the team of people who are cheering Douglas on! Thank you to everyone who shared encouraging messages on our Facebook page last week and thank you to everyone who supports the Lighthouse Project financially. We could not be supporting men and women like Douglas without your help! If you are interested in financially supporting the Lighthouse Project, you can make a donation here.