Bethesda News

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

By Jessica Henry, Communications Specialist

Recovery: that is our hope for guests that come into our care. We help them set goals to recover from physical addictions, spiritual, emotional, and mental issues. Ultimately, we want to send them out on their own when they are able to sustain their own life. It’s great to hear from, and be able to tell the stories of, former guests who have been on their own successfully for a number of years. I recently had a chance to talk to David, who left the Mission in 2016 and is doing very well on his own.

David upon first arrival at the Mission in 2010.

In his fifties now, David is originally from California, where he had his first drink at 19, and his habits progressed to alcoholism. Eventually, he had his first experience with homelessness at 26. He says that there are ways you learn to survive while homeless that you have to experience to really know what it’s like. “Seek help first before you’re homeless because it’s a hard road,” he said. “The problem is, if you’re not ready to get help, you can get used to almost any situation. Just like you get used to getting up and going to work, except your work is alcohol.”

He left California and came to Pennsylvania in 2002. Over the years, he had numerous experiences in rehab before coming to Bethesda from the street in 2010. He graduated from our Recovery program in 2011. He was on his own and sober for a few years but eventually relapsed after losing his job and apartment, ending up homeless once again.

He came back to the Mission – this second stay turned out to be the key for him. He says he was “tired of being tired and beat up” from life on the street. He enrolled in our New Beginnings and Social Services programs and finally got out of his own way and allowed God to truly work in him.

David at Recovery Program Graduation in 2011.

“I got really spiritual, and God changed and healed me,” he said. “I can’t explain it any other way.” He said he learned to depend on the Lord for the things he needs. He had had plenty of biblical teaching in the past and he learned more of that at the Mission.

“I finally learned the meaning of ‘if nothing changes, nothing changes.’ Something changed that second time,” he said. He wasn’t able to fully recover until that happened. He is unable to work because of a physical condition so our Social Services program helped him get on Social Security Disability. He was able to get into a rented apartment and left the Mission again in 2016, which is where he remains today.

“The Mission basically saved my life,” David said towards the end of our time together. We are thankful for the opportunity to impact peoples’ lives in such positive ways. We all need a little help sometimes.

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