If I couldn’t get help for my addiction problem, I didn’t want to live-

but the Lord had other plans

My name is Rick and I grew up in the Atlanta area. As a curious middle schooler, I dabbled with inhalants and found I really liked the feeling of being high. This led to alcohol and I took my first of many rides in a police car at the age of 14 – but this did not deter me from the road I was starting down. Soon I experimented with pot, and in high school I discovered every drug I could ever want. I started selling drugs to maintain my habit and made the mistake of selling to an undercover agent. My parents sent me to a psychiatrist when I was 15, who found that I simply didn’t care – I just wanted to get high.

 After graduation, I worked in the construction field, where drugs and alcohol were very accepted. I was able to function at work and made good money, but was miserable. My drug and alcohol problem led to two suicide attempts, which were nearly successful. If I couldn’t get help for my addiction problem, I didn’t want to live-but the Lord had other plans. It also led to the failure of a business venture I started with my brothers and prevented me from making a career from my love of motocross racing, at which I was a semi-pro. I was introduced to meth during this time and did jail time for selling it.

I was in and out of rehab programs, going to nearly every single one in the metro Atlanta region. In one of them, something stuck and I was clean for ten good years. I rose in the Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous ranks, serving as an officer at the state level and working in a treatment center. I actually considered a career of helping others at this center. I attended a church during the period, saying to myself, “I don’t know what these people have, but I want some of it.” It was there that I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and became involved in the church. As a drummer in rock bands, I used that musical talent to play for churches. I married, received a ten-year medallion for sobriety and thought I had a grip on my problem.

That lasted until I was injured on the job and made the mistake of not telling the doctors that I couldn’t have narcotics. I was prescribed pain medicine and by the time those pills were gone, I had relapsed. This was even worse than the addiction time before. I manufactured meth, used heroin, and my life went into a downward spiral. I lost everything I had and nearly became homeless.

Then February 8, 2010 came – my “Divine Intervention” day. As I watched the blue lights from the police car show up outside my home, I knew God had decided it was time to remove me, his child, from the muck and the mire in which I was living. I was busted for forging pain medicine prescriptions and spent 13 months in jail. At a chapel service in the jail, I asked God to take the addictions from me, not just help me with them. I knew from that moment on that drugs and alcohol were in my past. I was then offered drug court, which includes mandatory rehab. I filled out an application for Valley Rescue Mission’s men’s program, which was the tool God used to save my life. The intense Bible studies helped me build a good foundation for my future. I was never anxious during my time in the program, as I knew God had me where He wanted me to be. My wife stood beside me the whole time.

After graduation, I worked part-time and attended Columbus Technical College. I see now how God orchestrated me to be at Valley Rescue Mission at the time He did, as a position as Maintenance Technician opened up. I really wanted to be part of the Mission full-time and am so happy to be here. I also joined the Christian Motorcycle Association and am an officer in our local chapter. I’m an old biker who loves Jesus! I thank our donors and volunteers for making it possible for Valley Rescue Mission to exist. Life is grand now!