My name is Chris. I am 55 years old, the youngest of 8 children, raised in the Finger Lakes region of NY. My dad was a successful dentist, but both my parents were alcoholics. I remember their critical words and negativity. It left a lasting imprint on me that I couldn’t forget.
Because of the excessive use of alcohol there were near disasters – such as the Christmas morning when I was a young boy and my mother almost burned down the house. I began drinking when I was 11 or 12 – because I could get away with it. Soon I began smoking marijuana.
After high school I joined the army and was stationed in Germany for a time. I tried to cover my feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure with more drinking and drug use. Of course it didn’t help.
When I was discharged I worked as an insurance agent for a number of years with my brother, but we couldn’t get along. Alcohol and drugs consumed me. I became suicidal because of the way my life was going. I wanted sobriety, but even after many 28 day secular recovery programs, I would relapse and begin all over again. Despair overwhelmed me. I was lonely too, having never wanted the commitment of marriage. I just wanted to die.
By the grace of God, I entered a Christian program at age 38 and learned that Jesus loved me, died for my sins, and was willing to forgive me. God was calling me to faith – but I did not understand the pride that controlled my life. I had periods of sobriety and going to church, only to drift away and become consumed by alcohol and cocaine again and again. Years of my life became a blur. I had a successful painting business which only supplied me with money for drugs and sin.
In November of 2015 I wanted to kill myself. How could I screw up so many times? I couldn’t get sober on my own and had nowhere to go. I cried out to God, “Help me … I am undone.”
How thankful I am someone pointed me to Capital City Rescue Mission. The Mission provided all of my essential needs and the New Life program provided the structure of classes and study I desperately needed. I could be still and listen to His Word instruct my heart.
My goal was always to be successful, but I’ve learned, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” I realized my pride and self sufficiency were my downfall.
The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to help me recognize that I am a weak being that needs the Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis. I owe my life to Jesus – he died and rose again for me – and today I dedicate my life to Him. I am no longer centered on me.
Presently I am starting up a painting business again, and living in the Mission’s Transitional Living Program, with accountability. It is just what I need.
My life is different. My strength and hope are in Christ, not myself. Philippians 3:13-14 says, “But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” This is my ambition.
Thank you for your support so that I can know God personally, grow in my relationship with Him, and serve Him.