Tag Archives: addiction

National Recovery Month: Trevor’s Story

In honor of National Recovery Month, we invited Major Kendall Mathews (known to St. Louis as Major KK) of our Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) to share a story of one person who has come through the ARC program. The name has been changed to protect the subject’s identity.

You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it.
-Psalms 65:9

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Trevor grew up in Kansas City, Mo., in an upper-middle- class area.

His mother was married to a dentist, he lived in a good neighborhood and had several friends. But as the years went by his mother and stepfather decided to get a divorce, and in a split second, he went from upper-class circumstances to living in public housing with his grandmother. He had a tough time adjusting to his new environment. He was constantly reminded by the children in the neighborhood that he was different. Trevor wanted a better life for himself and decided to join the U.S. Navy. It was hard for him to leave his family, but a change was needed in his life. Trevor excelled in the Navy; he was doing things naturally that people were trained for weeks to do. He worked his way from a Sailor to Aviation Chief, served in the Navy for 20 years, and retired. Even though he was living his dreams, he was still presented with several obstacles in his life. The Navy caused him to be away from his wife and children for months at a time. He started to feel lonely and ended up giving into his temptations. He had no idea that his wife was feeling the same way and their marriage ended up suffering from their choices to be unfaithful. And even though he was qualified, he still struggled with being the only African-American in a leadership position in the Navy and with accepting recognition for his hard work.

Trevor always drank socially and used marijuana on occasion, and it never seemed to cause him any problems. He started using crack cocaine in his late 30’s and used it on and off for 25 years. He had a method to his madness: he used alcohol because it allowed him to be more social, marijuana because it enhanced his concentration, and crack because it allowed him to be more sexual. He attempted to live a sober lifestyle a few times during his addiction. He relapsed after being clean for four years. He still thought that he had control over his addiction until the Navy gave him an ultimatum. In order for him to receive his retirement benefits, he would have to check himself into a rehabilitation program. Another one of Trevor’s problems was being a people-pleaser, and in all of his pleasing he neglected himself, destroyed his marriages and the relationships with his children, and almost lost his retirement. His addiction controlled his life for more than 25 years.

Today, the most important thing is his life is the relationship he has with God. He has been sober since 1995 and has since stopped leaning on his own understanding and realized that the Lord is his provider. Trevor has committed his life to God and to living a Christian lifestyle. He is a Soldier of The Salvation Army and a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

The origin of the word “provide” is in the Latin providere, meaning “look forward, prepare, supply, act with foresight.” To be a provider, one has to be able to look ahead and anticipate the needs of those for whom one is providing. Part of being a good provider is having the wisdom to discern the best way in which to accommodate those needs.

The ministry of The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center is to Recycle goods, Reclaim lives, and Rebuild families through our work therapy program and a spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. The ability to dream of a better life, a better community and a better world is common to us all. Men who suffer from substance abuse need this better life in order to give back to our society in a sober and spiritual way. It is a long road to their recovery and as is true in this story, all things are possible through Christ and caring community. Our ARC becomes their safety net where we catch the drug-addicted man, then support in living a transformed life, free from the bondage of sin and shame.

Our program is designed to minister to the whole person, rather than just a specific problem. The majority of men who come to our center for assistance are having problems in many areas of their lives: social, medical, spiritual, personal, and employment. We make every effort to cover these tenants to bring about a total recovery with a positive, after-care support plan tailored for each individual. The goal is re-entry back into the community in a positive manner with sufficient support for maintenance of sobriety and growth in lifestyle.

“For we are God’s Workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Feeling the Pain: One addict learns to experience life, good and bad

By: Danni Eickenhorst, MidlandDivision, Content Specialist

Phil George turned 18 in the Illinois Juvenile Correction System. He entered adulthood battling mental illness, addiction and ghosts from his early days. At 16, he was kicked out of his childhood home. Suffering from parental rejection and abuse, he turned to borderline behaviors and had been jailed for burning down a house in an insurance scheme.

Phil works to fill food orders at the Alton Salvation Army food pantry.

Upon exiting the system, George found himself homeless and turned to using drugs. He entered into The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light facility in downtown St. Louis, where he stayed nearly four months. “I wasn’t ready to get help yet, but they showed me a lot of love,” he recalls.

Each time he would get sober, tragedy would strike, sending him into a tailspin that would jeopardize his sobriety. He suffered the loss of a best friend, and two girlfriends, and became haunted by the losses.  “Old Phil would show up. I would relapse, try to commit suicide, stop going to meetings and volunteering,” he said.

Today, Phil is sober and has been for almost five years. “I stay clean for my grandmother,” he says, choking up, “I stole from her when I was in my addiction, and I feel that staying clean is the only way I can make it up to her, now that she has passed away.” Phil attends 12-step meetings several times weekly and finds comfort in daily routines, such as volunteering three to four days each week at The Salvation Army’s food pantry inAlton. “Here I am surrounded by positive people. It’s been good for me. I have a support system,” says George, “I have learned to feel the pain, both good and bad, and to get through it, and having that support has made all the difference.”

The O’Fallon Shelter: Empowering People to Help Themselves

At the age of 29, Rebecca Reeves is starting over. Just a few months out of prison and 6 months sober after a long addiction to heroin, the mother of two is finding a new start with The Salvation Army’s O’Fallon homeless shelter.

“The Salvation Army provides me with a lot of structure and a stable living environment,” says Reeves, who notes that these things are critical for her recovery, as she battles both drug addiction and mental illness.

Reeves is a resident at the O’Fallon homeless shelter, where she is receiving vocational rehabilitation, job leads, medical treatment, counseling, medication and life skills education. She credits The Salvation Army for empowering her and others like her to do more for themselves.

“The staff here motivates you.” she says. “They have shown me that people want to help me, and that I can’t do everything on my own.”

Reeves and other residents enjoy regular visits with a counselor that comes to the facilities on Saturdays. They also receive assistance for mental and physical ailments, including necessary treatments through the nearby Crider facility.

Leslie MarNa, the Regional Shelter Administrator for The Salvation Army says that the O’Fallon shelter is a lot more than a hot and a cot, with a network of resources that allow them to provide meaningful services to nearly 100 residents each year.

The O’Fallon shelter often receives referrals from hospitals, psychiatric facilities and local government entities. They provide housing for single parents with children and married families, affected by homelessness or domestic violence.

“A family or individual is allowed to stay for 4 months,” says MarNa, “but these days the stays have been a bit longer, because the time it takes to help someone establish a stable income has grown longer due to job shortages.”

Parenting classes, a family play room and suites designed to accommodate children are assisting Reeves and other residents in rebuilding their lives and restoring their damaged relationships.

With help from shelter staff and the comfortable accommodations provided, Rebecca can keep her children during her periods of visitation, and also provide them with a sense of structure and security during their visits. “They love coming here. They love the staff and they can’t wait for their time with me,” says Reeves.

Shelter residents are mandated to save 70% of any income they receive while staying in the shelter. A local bank has also provided residents with financial fitness workshops, helping them set up savings accounts and waiving many of the traditional requirements and fees, in an effort to help them make a fresh start.

“When people hear the term ‘homeless shelter,’ they picture something different,” says Reeves. At the O’Fallon shelter, her children sleep in comfortable bunk beds at night in a private room, and can play on the playground, volleyball courts or Wii during the day.

“If I didn’t have the Salvation Army as a resource, I would be on the streets and I wouldn’t be sober. The donations they receive help rebuild families. They are helping me and others like me to get my life back on track.”

Rebecca remains hopeful for her future, hoping to find a job at a local factory so that she can provide a stable home for her children, but knows she can lean on the staff at the shelter long after she moves on. “You know that even when you leave, you’ll have a support system. I’ve got the best support system, and its here.”

In addition to monetary donations, the shelter is in need of donations of personal care items, such as general toiletries, laundry detergent, bleach and dryer sheets. To donate material goods, please contact Leslie MarNa at 314-423-7770 ext. 7723. Cash donations can be made online.

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