I wanted to die – instead, God kept me locked up until I came to my senses!

I’m going to be very honest in telling my story; I’ve nothing to hide, and you can’t hide anything from Jesus anyway! My name is William. I spent 15-20 years of my life using crack-cocaine. I functioned fairly well at first – I juggled my problem with my job, and my 5 kids wore nice clothes and I drove a nice car. I did this for about 6 years until I totally lost it and became an addict – big-time. My wife informed me that she wanted a true partnership, and we separated for about 8 years.

So as a man in my 30’s, I went to live with my parents, who grew frustrated with me. They wanted the best for me, but I didn’t want to follow their rules, and they put me out. I worked as a block mason and traveled quite a bit around the country. My wife would try to take me back from time to time, but I’d do drugs, and she’d tell me to leave again. While trying to work things out, we took a trip together to another part of the state. I left the motel in her car, telling her I was going to pick up a pizza. She didn’t see me again for a whole year.

I ended up getting picked up 3 times in one month for possession of cocaine. That third time did me in; I was so hungry, physically and emotionally. I cried out to God one night, pouring out my heart to Him about my lost relationships with my wife, children & parents. I asked God to be my lawyer, giving me what would truly help me. When I woke up the next morning, five different people offered me food from their own commissaries. I knew God was answering my prayers.

I stayed locked up for 7 months, continually asking to be placed in a recovery program. After getting lost in the prison system, the meanest, stiffest judge in town told me I was being released, and I explained I didn’t want that, as I knew I would fall back into the same routine. He could hardly believe I was turning down release, but sent me to Valley Rescue Mission.

I showed up with 4 tee-shirts, a pair of shoes, and county jail-owned britches (bright orange with “jail” stenciled down the side). I had never felt worse in my life. I quickly saw that God had prepared some wonderful Christian men to walk through my recovery with me, including Mission staff and teachers. One Mission volunteer truly befriended me, picking me up to take me to church and Bible studies in his home. In fact, he and his family wanted to move out of state, but he told me much later that God told them to stay in the area and be involved in my life until my family was back together and I was stable.

I stayed 13 months in the program here, learning and growing so much. One night I was exceptionally down and was permitted to call my parents. They were shocked to hear from me, believing I was still in jail. They expressed love to me, even offering to send me funds. My wife hadn’t heard from me in a year and a half, and was still pretty angry about me abandoning her the way I did. I was praying for a good husband for her, never believing it could be me. After several discussions, she told me she wanted us to get back together and spend the rest of our lives together. I broke down and cried.

Today my wife, kids, parents and I are all reunited. I work as a driver for Valley Rescue Mission’s Bargain Centers, getting to know new guys in the program and encouraging them that a new life is really possible. I want to thank all the supporters of the Mission for all the love you give, as well as the “stuff”