Our Stories of Recovery series features testimonials from men and women who have benefitted from The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center programs.
When you donate goods (clothing, accessories, appliances, furniture, etc.) to The Salvation Army’s Family Stores, you are funding programs that help people struggling with addiction to find the road to recovery.
This is Antoni’s Story:
I grew up in the Ida B. Wells housing project in Chicago. It was the exposure of drugs, alcohol, and violence that shaped a false identity for me. Drugs and alcohol served as a veil to the reality of a lost society, with two options for an African-American male in the inner city of Chicago; prison or death. At 15 years of age, I was a full blown addict with little hope or desire.
By the age of 19, drugs and alcohol were my only motivation and violence as a source of control. At 19 years old, I found myself serving a 25 year prison sentence.
While in prison, I shared a cell with a man whose sentence was death. While awaiting his execution, he often shared his relationship with Christ to me. After more than five years in my cell, his
day of execution had arrived. I expected him to plead for his life, but instead he handed me his bible and said “… I’ll see you later.”
Six years later I was released from prison. I wanted a different life for myself, but the only thing I knew were the streets. I lived the “street life” for the next eight years. In 2009 I was living in an abandoned basement in Milwaukee and knew I needed help.
After a two week drug binge, I was at my lowest point when I thought of my cell mate. I walked out of the abandoned basement with my cell mate’s bible. When I got outside, I found two guys talking about the Adult Rehabilitation Center. I learned it was about 10 miles away and immediately began walking.
After graduating from The Salvation Army ARC Program, I was hired as the Resident Manager. In 2011 was promoted to the Warehouse Manager’s position. I love working at the Adult Rehabilitation Center because I can do God’ work. Each and every day, I can help men understand the identity that Christ called for them. Daily I thank God for bringing me out of the “madness.”
Today I am a husband and father, but more importantly, I am a child of God.
Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center programs, or to schedule a donation pick-up: http://suncoastarea.satruck.org/