16 Feb Thank you for giving Barry a new beginning.
Because of you, he has joy in his heart this Easter!
“I was going to die and needed to change…”
Barry grew up surrounded by a mix of influences – while his mother was struggling with drug addiction, his grandmother took care of him and his sisters and brought them to church every Sunday.
“She made sure we stayed on track and got an education. She was a blessing,” he said of his grandmother.
When he saw how the drugs hurt his mother, Barry decided he would never allow himself to do the same thing. Until college, he stuck with his goal. But when he turned 22, he had his first drink, and his life completely changed course.
“It took over my life,” he said. “It got to the point where I had to have it every morning – I couldn’t function without a drink.”
On occasion he tried to quit, but it never lasted long because his withdrawal symptoms were too much to handle. His drinking interfered with his ability to work, and when the owner of his apartment sold the building, he ended up with nowhere to live.
“I was moving from place to place, and I just didn’t care,” he said. “I believed in God, but at that time He wasn’t even in the picture for me. I was past that point. I just cared about drinking. As long as I could drink, I was fine.”
But eventually, his body couldn’t handle the volumes of alcohol any longer, and he started having seizures. At first, he was in denial about how bad the situation was. But one day, when he had a seizure in the car with his mom, he felt a message from God showing him what would happen if he didn’t stop drinking.
“I saw how it was affecting my mom, and after that I was done,” he said. “I was going to die, so I knew I needed to change. God was letting me see what this alcohol was doing to me.”
Barry knew about the Mission’s addiction recovery program from one of his dad’s former colleagues, so he decided to call and get help. During the height of the pandemic, there wasn’t a bed immediately available for him, but a member of our program staff called to check on him every day until a space opened up.
“He saved my life. God saved my life. This place saved my life,” Barry said in gratitude.
By the time he joined our program, he had already gotten through his period of withdrawal, and he was ready to do whatever it took to change his life. He learned a lot from the life skills classes, chapel services, and testimonies of the men around him. He also grew tremendously in his relationship with God.
This Easter, thanks to your prayers and generous support, Barry is celebrating new life in Christ. He graduated from our recovery program and now serves as an intern at our Market Street Mission location in Morristown, walking alongside other men as they work to rebuild their lives.
“I see people come in broken,” he explained. “But it’s amazing when you see the transformation as they go on through the program. I always hear them saying, ‘I’ve never been in a place like this where God is so important.’ And He is – He’s giving you another chance, and if He’s giving it, you have to take it. It’s good to see people grow like that.”
Barry recently took training courses to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, and he is grateful to have the opportunity to help other people through the struggles he once faced himself. He has experienced the transformative love of God in his own life, and he wants to share that message of hope with those who are still hurting.
“Before I came to the Mission, I was broken. My health was bad. I had no direction and no reason to live or move forward,” he said. “Now, I am a new person. I have God back in my life. I know more about myself and I’m thinking more clearly. I’m understanding what God wants for me and what His plan is for me. He’s helping me grow in different ways than I could imagine, and I know there’s more in store.”
To read our Easter 2023 issue of The Lifeline, click here.