For 15 years, Peter tried on his own to heal from the lifelong pain that trapped him in an endless cycle. Struggling with his addiction to drugs. Moving from “one dead beat job to
another.” Living on the streets.
He even spent Christmas of 2011 alone and homeless, too ashamed even to see his son, who was home from the military for a short visit.
Three nights later, when he came to Wheeler Mission, Peter only planned to stay a few hours—just long enough to thaw his almost frozen feet.
But two men encouraged him to stay the night at our emergency Shelter for Men. “Had it not been for that,” Peter says, “I would have probably gone back out to the same old stuff.”
Peter’s first few months in our program weren’t easy, but “a light went on” as he talked with our program manager one day. Peter realized, “The only thing that separates me and him is choice. He’s choosing to live right and I’m not choosing to do much of anything.”
Peter learned how to “live right” through our Addiction Recovery Program, which teaches men to confront their addictions while grounding them in God’s love and forgiveness.
Then, in August 2012, Peter received devastating news: he had vocal cord cancer. As he endured nearly 30 radiation treatments, he drew on the hope of Jesus Christ that he’d found – even during some very dark days.
“I was frustrated with God and asking Him why,” Peter says through tears. “But God was actually healing me. My heart had become so hardened…and cancer was the very agent that softened my heart.”
Today, Peter is a graduate of our Servant Leadership Training (SLT) Program. He is sober, cancer-free, and living each day knowing that “this life isn’t mine, it’s a gift.”
Update: Peter’s cancer was still in remission as of last month. He graduated from our SLT Program in November 2013.