Are You Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?
Published: Saturday, May 2, 2009
Updated: Saturday, May 2, 2009 15:05
Another night hidden away from society. Blankets and foil covering the windows. Not a strand of light will peek through. The only form of illumination will come from a dim light bulb inside his apartment. He's only 25, lost in complete madness. His friends just use him for a place to hide out and get their fix. Dope man has finally arrived after hours and hours of sickness and anticipation. Everyone is laughing and about to have a great time. Everything is O.K. now that the heroine has finally arrived. Searching his body for just one vein. He finally finds the one he needs. Within a minute he hits the ground, eyes forced to the top of his dome. Everyone in shear panic. "Quick, throw him in a freezing cold shower," yell his friends, not knowing what to do. A day later he's found in the shower lying there hopelessly. He never had a chance. Some friends he had.
Like a devouring lion; one victim down, and on to the next. At 20 years old, she lies there on a cold stainless steel table. Cinder-block walls surrounding a room filled with freezers and lifelessness. Her mom and best friend look down upon her cold bluish-purple body. Eyes wide open, in shock, and left behind. Mom is uncontrollably weeping. Thoughts piercing her mind. Baby we could have found a way to work through this. Pictures flashing in and out. Her baby running along at 3 years of age, so happy, so innocent, not a care in the world. Manifesting to this? Her friend guilt stricken. First, it was alcohol and weed. Soon, Cocaine and occasional pill popping came into effect. It's never seems to be enough though. "Crystal meth is in like flin. I can get stuff done, and I got energy. This is great…… It's just not working anymore. I got things to do today. Got to get high. Got to stay awake…." Then that lonely night arrives. She's looking in the mirror at herself, only to notice her sucked up mal-nutritious body. Worn out, deprived, sad, frail, and disgusted, all she wants is out. A convincingly evil voice comes in the perfect moment of despair, "You're not worth it. Look at your life's work. Nobody cares about you. You've lost everything; Jobs, friends, respect. What do you have left? There is no way out. Well, there is one…….." So she takes a full pill bottle and devours it as her addiction straight devours her.
He is 28, all he's known for the past 7 years is how to make money fast, selling and using drugs. He has done a total of 3 to 4 years in jail. Having 2 beautiful children who deserve to have their daddy just get it together. All he has to look forward to is 2 more years upstate. Instead he gets thrown a lifeline, with an offer on the table to go get help at a life recovery program. Thinking of nothing but his kids who deserve to have their daddy back, he grabs a hold of it. So he goes on a 9 month journey to the Ventura county Rescue Mission. Finally he can look at his life with a sober mind and work on what went wrong. After graduating, the feeling of joy, gratitude, hope and ambition, have filled his life once again. Being able to be straight, and hold his precious children in his arms.
When I walk into the Rescue Mission the first thing I see on the floor is a big cross with the scripture under it saying "I was a stranger, and you took me in." Nation wide there is 350 missions that don't only feed and shelter the homeless, but work with people on their recovery. In 1972 some men got together and decided to put this together. Carol and Jerry Roberg had a vision in helping to change lives and started one out here in Oxnard, Ca. It was just them in the beginning, but now has grown to have 220 employees.
The RMA(Rescue Mission Alliance) uses God and the Holy Spirit to fill these broken souls that are lost. Whether you're a believer or not, the fact of the matter is their mission from God seems to work. Countless men and women have gotten their lives back.
Here's how it works:
In a, "you got to give, in order to get back," the men working their program become a ministry in all they do. Serving the homeless, cooking, working at the thrift stores, keeping the house kept up, and pretty much being a huge process in keeping the place running. In return, they receive a chaplain who works with them on spiritual 12 steps, transformations, what Christians believe, resolving(personal and spiritual) conflicts, maximized manhood, money management, overcoming addictive behavior and anger management. When you're using drugs you become a very selfish person. So to help someone else in need is a huge part in helping these men recover. Here's the amazing part, it's free. I've seen programs cost anything from $600 a month to $550 a day!!!! The government doesn't fund the RMA one bit. If they did receive help, they wouldn't be aloud to teach about how "Jesus saves."
Amazingly the mission is able to keep a float through donations and its four successful thrift stores. What gets me is not only how the RMA houses about 80 men at a time(not including the homeless it shelters), but how it can feed 700 a day with restaurant quality, savory, well balanced food prepared by the mission's award-winning culinary school. "We cook 400 turkeys and feed 5000 people in one day when Thanksgiving rolls around," shot out one of the men working in the kitchen. No wonder the place is blessed. To feed that many hungry families in need, especially with how the economy is today.
In the midst of seeing how this place truly works, I was able to catch some brief interviews. Mike, who is a month away from finishing his program says, "I was out in Texas smoking crack, homeless, working in a strip club. I lost my two kids to my addiction. I even was a Satanist." He found out about the mission because a friend of his out here had changed his life through the RMA. He just decided to get up and go. Then Mike ended in a final note, "It helped me mature, I once again have purpose, I have real friends, and believe it or not, I found God."
Carol Roberg (founder) said, "We switch people from getting spare change, to receiving permanent change." Then along with something she commonly reminds her guys, she says, "We only want people who are ready to change there lives, if your not ready to change, here's your hat what's your hurry; don't let the door hit you on the way out!"
She is absolutely right too, no point on taking away space for somebody who is actually serious about changing their life. If you know somebody lost in addiction and thinks they have tried everything. Just maybe giving God their life for a year, to try it out isn't such a bad move. Better than ending up dead. I remember hearing a pastor speak once, and something that caught my attention was, "so give God a year of your life, and if you don't like where you end up, he'll gladly refund your misery."
I was also able to catch the new program coordinator, chaplain/counselor Kyle Venning and asked him a little bit about his story. At one point he was educated, making great money. Just like that, he lost it all. Caught up on crack, homeless, losing everything. He was a Christian while on the streets; growing up with it his whole life. He was praying for God to save him from this walk of life he seemed to fall into. The RMA happened to be feeding the homeless in downtown L.A. Next thing he knew he was working on his life at the RMA. He told me, "I will never forget my first encounter with Carol Roberg. She was talking to another staff member when she saw me and said; there goes our next chaplain." Then he said, "Being a servant for the kingdom. It's a front row seat to see rewarding miracles happen. You got to get up, get yours, and get on!"
So there you have it. What an amazing experience to see people getting their lives back. While others at the same time who are less fortunate, are receiving help as well. Most of all, not winding up like those poor individuals at the beginning of this article. Death is right around the corner for those caught deep in an addiction. Does this work? I know it does. I'm living proof of it. I was the guy in the story with the 2 kids who got thrown the lifeline. I can't describe how good it feels to have my life back, being released from the bondage. God pulled me out of my mess and gave me my life back.