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Joe’s Testimony

I was born into an alcoholic family.  My father would go on a drunken spree 2 or 3 times a year.  My mom said he would have a hard time coming off of them.  When he did, his boss would let go of the 3 people they hired to cover when he was gone.  My dad died when I was 5. I know my mom did the very best she could do raising me, although the father figures in my life all seemed to be alcoholics.  I grew up thinking that waiting out in a car for them, or even spending hours on a bar stool drinking sodas was normal stuff.

As I got older, I spent more time with my oldest sister, so I started to do what she did – drink, smoke pot, and hang out with people way older than I was.  By the time I was 12 or 13, I was doing a lot of different drugs.  When I was in middle school, my mom was dating a painter who was a drunk and I worked for him.  Now I found myself back in the bars, but with new rules. He would pay me not to tell my mom.

Around this time I started selling drugs.  I thought I had arrived.  I thought money was power.  I have spent many years of pain enduring that wrong perception that money is power.  The fast lane became normal and so did the consequences for the way I was living.  Everything I swore I would not do, I was finding that I would do.  Jails, institutions, and overdoses were happening back to back. My life was going out of control and sometimes I could see it and sometimes I could not.

Somehow, which I believe to be God, I had the strength to call the Mission.  This was on Thursday, February 2, 2017.  When I walked up the walkway to enter the Mission, I was scared sick.  One question I was asked during the interview was what do I want to get from being at the Mission, and I said I didn’t want to die alone.  I meant,

I wanted to know God before I die.  Since then, my relationship with God has grown and grown.  I read the Bible. I’ve learned that I have a conscience.  I’ve learned that I’m really not Tough Tony, but I am Marshmallow Joe, and I like that person better.  Early on in the Program, I was relieved of a weight I had been carrying when I confessed about an accident I was in once when leaving a bar.  This was an “AH HA” moment in my life.

I really care about helping people in the community and I enjoy helping people, which is what the Mission is all about.

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