My name is Edward, and I never wanted to get involved with the things I chose to do. I had no father figure in my life – my mom did everything for us kids. When I was very young, she became drug and alcohol addicted due to the influence of a guy she met. All I knew was violence from the age of 6 or 7 on. I dropped out of school in the tenth grade, and my life was filled with fighting every day, drive-by shootings, and selling drugs. I first smoked pot at age 14 and sold it for many years. I couldn’t work due to health issues, so sold drugs instead to make a living.
I remember being at a neighbor’s house one day watching him use crack. I asked for some, and it was downhill from there. Even though I saw what drugs had done to my mother, I still wanted to try them. It was like there was no way around it – I had to go through it. I saw my life just disappearing before me as I walked the streets homeless, staying in crack houses and sleeping in cars. I was tired and knew I needed somebody to help me.
One day I had a very clear impression of God saying to me, “Call Valley Rescue Mission”. I literally jumped straight up, called, and spoke with Rob in the Howard Mott Center. This was on a Wednesday, and in just two days time I was accepted into the program on Friday. But I made up excuses to not come in as I still wanted to do more drugs. I was at a friend’s house, doing drugs with him, and we had run out of money. I was low, low, low. I saw how he was acting due to the drug use and knew I would lose hope and end up just like him if I didn’t act quickly.
After all I went through I finally came to the conclusion that this is not the life I wanted to live. I entered the men’s substance abuse recovery program at Valley Rescue Mission and never looked back. From the first day I started learning about the Lord, and I was ready for this. I took me hitting rock bottom to realize that I can’t walk this life by myself. The burdens I was carrying were heavy; they wore me down and took my life away. But by the power God has invested in me, I have overcome those burdens that were like a mountain.
After graduating from the program, I was able to get a full-time job at a major employer in the community. While I was in the program, I earned my GED, and in the next few months I will start the air conditioning technology course at Columbus Tech. My mother was able to get off drugs and alcohol; she’d cried and prayed for more through the years and has told me she is proud of me for changing my life.
I learned a lot about life while I was in my addiction, especially seeing who really cared for me. Life is about making choices, and I had to pay the penalty for the choices I made. I’m thankful that God’s presence in upon me everywhere I go and that He has spared me to live in Him. I also thank God for the people who donate to Valley Rescue Mission, because without them, I wouldn’t have had a chance. This is a completely new way of living for me, and life couldn’t get any better.