Then one night, Bill made a bad decision and relapsed.
Turning away from the Mission in shame, he decided to take his chances on the streets instead.
He had heard that the summers in Phoenix were rough, but he wasn’t worried. Bill explains, “I worked in a Pennsylvania quarry growing up. It was hard work and there was no shade all day. I thought I could handle it. But back there I never needed water like you do here. The humidity kept you hydrated. Here it’s a totally different kind of heat.”
Bill’s plan was to find a job, get back on his feet and finish his recovery on his own. But instead of looking for work, Bill found all his time was spent simply surviving.
“I would have to plan my day around finding water. It was more important than anything else. I could miss a meal, but water – water was life or death,” said Bill.
Eventually the heat was too much for Bill. He began to hallucinate and lived for a while in a state of confusion. Then, without warning, one day he woke up in the ER for severe dehydration. It was a wakeup call.
The shame he carried for relapsing wasn’t worth dying for.
After spending a brutal summer on the streets, Bill returned to the Phoenix Rescue Mission and re-enrolled in our Men’s Recovery Program in September 2014.
Today Bill is a graduate of our recovery program, living at one of our transition houses and working a full-time position at a large retail warehouse. He’s saving up for a car and is looking forward to getting his own apartment soon.
His experience on the streets has made Bill more determined than ever before to work toward a better future and help others on the same journey.
He tells us, “I met Christ here at the Mission. He used my relapse to bring me to a new level of understanding of His love and what it means to be reborn. I don’t know how I survived, but I want to let others on the street know that they have a choice, that the Phoenix Rescue Mission is a safe place where they can clean up their lives. Christ is the answer to what they are looking for.”
Bill is one of the men from the recovery program who now “pay it forward” by handing out meals and sharing his testimony at Momma Jo’s ministry at Andre House in downtown Phoenix. Click here to watch the video.