Mark had been down this road before. Freshly released from jail, he reflected on the fact that once again, addiction had left him broken. It had robbed him of family ties, his home and – for a second time – his freedom.
But like so many of the younger addicts we see here at the Mission, Mark didn’t feel like he had hit rock bottom just yet. In fact, the further he got from the cell that had been his home for the past six months, the more confident he became that he just had to be more careful this time, maybe stay away from the harder stuff for a while until he got back on his feet. For a second time, Mark turned his back on his plans to attend recovery because he believed he could handle it on his own.
After all – third time’s a charm.
Mark’s addiction has cost him a lot throughout his life.
He has a daughter that he hasn’t seen since he lost custody of her when she was one-and-a-half years old.
When he heard that his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, methamphetamine helped him hide from reality. But it robbed him of his chance to say goodbye.
A few years later he had a son. Although he tried as hard as he could to be a functional dad while shielding his family from his habit, it was a battle he couldn’t win. Addiction eventually cost him contact with yet another of his children.
But despite all the emotional trauma his habit caused, none of it was enough to break the powerful hold it had on his life. In fact, each event only served to intensify his need for escape, creating a cycle that would most likely have continued until his death.
But God had a better plan.
Mark was arrested for shoplifting in October of 2013. With drugs forcibly removed from his life for the first time, he got some clarity and started to realize that he needed help. With his father’s direction he promised to check into the Phoenix Rescue Mission as soon as he was free.
It was his first shot. But when the time came, Mark was only true to his word for about a day.
He quickly decided that the recovery process wasn’t for him and left. But God had other ideas. Shortly afterwards Mark was arrested again. This time he was sentenced to six months.
"I got sober and started thinking clearly again. My dad told me that I needed to give the Mission another shot and it made a lot of sense. That was my plan. I applied to get my ID and Social Security card when I got out so that I could register for the recovery program. But I never got there."
His second chance at recovery didn’t last long. Once he was out of jail, Mark discovered that he could trade food stamps for drugs. Within two weeks, he found himself face-to-face with true “rock bottom” for the first time in his life.
"That’s when God let me experience the kind of brokenness that I needed. He showed me what real homelessness is, having nobody, nothing to your name, to be no one. I was living behind the Hooters at Metro Center Mall and I couldn’t take it. I called my dad and told him I didn’t know what to do. He said 'That's not true! You know exactly what to do.':
Third time’s a charm! The advice stuck and Mark successfully entered and graduated from the men’s recovery program here at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
"I've learned so much here. I’ve been sober now for 16 months. They’ve helped me get my GED and I even work here now in the Welcome Center as one of the safety officers. I’ve repaired my relationship with my family and I’m working on reconnecting with my daughter and son."