I’m a Strong Guy, but I was Broken
Hey, I’m Joe. At the Mission, everyone treats me like a gentleman, takes my input, and lets me lead. Now I’m back to work, doing what I really like, and making good decisions. But I realized how far down I was from being a good citizen.
Growing up, I had a single mom who was always working. I guess I was always working too—building bikes, working in an auto body shop—I’ve been blessed with the ability to take stuff apart and put it back together pretty well. But when I started really acting out at 14, my mother was never there to help out my brother and me. It was easy to drink and smoke pot on weekends, and that continued through high school.
I graduated, got into the trades, and learned how to fix elevators. My life was steady for awhile and then I got married. I began to feel more burdens, which led to more drinking. It started to interfere with driving, and getting to work. Finally, when I landed in jail, my wife threw up her hands and said “I’ve had enough of this!” and she left. Which, of course, led to more booze. She moved on to new things, but I was still stuck in the drink. The elevator repair folks asked me not to come back until I got help.
I’m a strong guy, but when I walked through the door of the Boston Rescue Mission, I was broke and broken—no kids, no wife, no job, and no home. Sometimes drugs and alcohol got you—you can’t stop because they got you. Here I was treated like a gentleman. I can look people in the eye and try to achieve my goals a little at a time.
And I’ve learned a couple of things. I disappointed my kids. I would love them to say “Dad had some trouble, but he’s doing great now”, so I’m working toward that. And I’ve got new respect for people who have been traumatized, but still don’t turn to drugs and alcohol in response. When other people in my situation need help, I want to be there to help out.