28 Apr Anthony’s Story
“God’s going to use my story!”
When Anthony, 55, looks back on his life so far, he sees a story filled with twists and turns. He’s had happy moments—like when he first found faith at age 18 or when he met his future wife as a young adult.
But other moments were filled with hurt. “It’s so painful to lose those things that mean everything to you,” he remembers. “I had so many issues in relationships—with my family, with my church, eventually with my marriage.”
Though Anthony had abused alcohol and drugs off and on since he was 14, his addiction worsened after his divorce. He tried various short-term recovery programs, but he relapsed each time. “I couldn’t keep going on like I was. People around me were getting concerned about whether I’d even survive—I was getting concerned.”
Eventually, Anthony found himself homeless. He spent six months living in a shelter he built from cinder blocks, sleeping on a pallet, taking showers at a community health center. “That was my true rock bottom. It was winter, it was cold. It’s a horrible place to be—imprisoned by substance abuse and feeling like there’s no way out.”
Finally, on a day when the temperature was 26 degrees below zero, Anthony came to Hope Ministries. He went from eating meals at Hope Café and sleeping in our shelter to joining our long-term life recovery program.
And now, more than a year later, his life looks completely different. “One thing I’ve realized about my alcoholism is that I never invited God into that part of my life before. When I was in a good place, I loved God and lived a good life. But as soon as I fell back into addiction, I pushed Him out. Now He’s in it with me. He’s given me strength and confidence.”
One of the biggest blessings of his recovery journey, Anthony says, is his relationships. “The relationships I’ve built mean so much to me. My respect for the staff here runs deep. They’ve kept me accountable and taught me the responsibility I need to maintain my recovery.”
In late February, Anthony celebrated one year of sobriety, and he hopes his story will be an inspiration for his loved ones, including his oldest daughter who is on her own recovery journey. “Everything I’m learning in classes and in this program, God is going to use for His glory.”
While taking classes and participating in recovery groups, Anthony has also been able to work on reobtaining his driver’s license and creating a debt payment plan. He especially enjoyed his “Service and Skills” assignment, part of the work readiness piece of our programming, working at the front desk at our men’s shelter.
As he looks to the future, Anthony hopes to stay connected to Hope Ministries by volunteering and sharing his story of life transformation with others. “This program brought out a desire in me to surrender and experience true recovery. This is real to me now. I’m not under a bridge anymore. I really believe God’s going to use my story!”