Special from the Adams Rescue Mission
By Lex McMillan
He arrived at the Adams Rescue Mission in February 2018. Now 61 years old, he shares his story with me in a manner that almost seems as if he’s telling me someone else’s. He’s matter-of-fact, unemotional about experiences that were surely filled with pain. As he recounted the long, winding road he has traveled, I was reminded of C. S. Lewis’s observation that “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Mere Christianity, III, 10). He has clearly been searching for a long time.
Born in Harrisburg, the youngest of four sons, his parents were divorced when he was 10. He recalls with pleasure fishing in the Yellow Breeches Creek before moving with his mother to a cramped apartment near Camden, New Jersey, where he graduated from high school. After high school, he went to work for one of his brothers in the building trades but he had started drinking and smoking pot. His brother fired him.
He joined the Navy thinking it would give him discipline and structure. He was surprised to discover as much drinking and drug use in the Navy as in civilian life at that time. After four years serving on an amphibious cargo ship, he received a “bad conduct discharge” for selling drugs. Based in San Diego, he had married while in the Navy and had two children. An ugly divorce followed. He has no contact with his grown children.
After the Navy, he moved several times, worked a variety of jobs and started using heroin. The downward spiral continued through moves to Idaho, Utah, and then to Maryland where he found good work as a “yard jockey” moving shipping containers around a terminal for pick-up by transport trucks. He left that job for reasons that were unclear. He had a period of homelessness in the bitter cold of winter.
After an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile with his father, he found his way to the Frederick Rescue Mission. He knew he had to get sober, but the Frederick Mission was not a good fit. Frederick referred him to Adams Rescue Mission. He likes his work at the ARM driving a truck and picking up donations for recycling. The Mission gives him a combination of structure and freedom that has been healing. He’s been sober since arriving. His greatest pleasure is refurbishing and playing his electric guitar, a hobby he picked up when he was in high school.
He feels content at the Rescue Mission. Not sure he could stay sober if he left. For now, he says he feels grateful. He’s made progress managing a chronic issue with anger. He feels that God has brought him here for a reason. He’s still searching.
The Adams Rescue Mission exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted; to accelerate recovery and restoration to the least, last, lonely, and lost. Lex McMillan is an ARM board member.
To support the Mission: http://www.adamsrescuemission.org/donate-now.