TELL US YOUR STORY:
Douglas is 51, known for his infectious smile, kind heart and generous spirit; a lot like you and I and the people we meet every day. Doug has been drinking for 35 years and homeless for 7, calling a nearby bench his home; not a lot like you and I. Our Father’s Table (OFT), first met Doug in early 2015. When OFT met him, Doug was tired of fighting and struggling with his demanding and consuming demons. OFT talked about what he wanted, his goals, where he saw himself within a year and the many, possibly frustrating, baby steps it would take to achieve that initial success. After detailing his options and what they would mean for him, Doug undauntedly decided to move forward!
Gina, CEO of Our Father’s Table, who always goes the extra mile, scheduled a meeting between the VA and Doug, an Army Veteran, to examine his program eligibility, including medical and housing options. Through OFT’s constant supportive efforts and advocacy on Doug’s behalf, OFT was able to contact the individuals who would facilitate the VA programs, including a mobile phone through the Lifeline Phone Program.
OFT was integral in assisting any way they could throughout the process including transportation for Doug. This “hands on” support is the keystone for initial steps on the path of recovery. Between OFT’s outreach volunteers, Doug was instilled with the sense of, “I matter”, “someone cares about me” and “they have my back”! This is what OFT is all about! Doug informed Gina that he was accepted into the rehab program as of March 13, his 51st birthday and that she had the honor of being his “In Case of Emergency” contact.
On the day of Doug’s admittance, Gina bought breakfast and gave Doug a Cadbury Egg for the trip. She waited supportively until Doug was admitted. This is the level of collaborative commitment that defines initial success of those who have fallen away from home and wish to return.
It is important to recognize the path of recovery is not straight, but a winding path, with obstacles and speed bumps to navigate. OFT volunteers will be found walking alongside Doug; giving him a hand up and not a hand out! A special thanks to all who have gotten us to this point (and the points yet to come)!!!
Scott is a proud U.S. Army Veteran who had lost his way. Those Army days are far, far behind him as are the days of not seeing his young son. Scott spent year after year sleeping and eating at the mercy of the street. These days he not only sees his son daily but is back on his feet with his family at his side. After nearly eight months of hard and challenging work in close conjunction with Our Father’s Table, “OFT”, Scott is working every day and looking for his own apartment with the help of a HUD-VASH Voucher (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing). It’s been a long journey for Scott and we at OFT are very proud of him for “soldiering” his way through all the hard work as we accompanied him every step of his way, “Giving a hand up, not a hand out”!!!
I was born into a loving and caring family. My parents were always supportive of me as I was growing up and I have a world of very fond memories of all the great things we did together. The biggest obstacle in my youth was my acute shyness, a problem I had never found a way around until I started drinking. At the time I was only 12 years old and I found that I loved drinking because it let me be the person that I wanted to be. I could come out of my shell and alcohol made it easier for me to talk to people and make new friends. I was more outgoing; I was normal! I had an opening to life that had eluded me when I was sober and shy. I couldn’t have defined it at the time, but liquor was my friend and dependency throughout my high school career.
After high school graduation I joined the Army and continued drinking and also got involved with other drugs. In spite of these drawbacks I was given an honorable discharge and used my GI Bill to go back to school. Sadly, alcohol and drugs had become such an integral part of my life that I dropped out so I could work full time to support my habits. But work was elusive because I lost every job due to my drug and alcohol problems. Life moved on without me, taking its toll along the way. I went in and out of rehabs; in and out of jails, and was homeless for over 15 years. I was just too young to be the messed-up person I found myself to be. I didn’t have a hope.
The “last stop” in my homeless world was living at the tracks in San Juan Capistrano with others who were also short on luck. At this time, I met a wonderful lady who brought us breakfast in the morning. One day we were talking and she offered to help me anyway she could to get me back on my feet – if I needed a ride or to find a shelter – the basic things. It was a great struggle for me to get all the wheels of a broken life back in motion and working as a single unit again. I ultimately surrendered on many counts and went to a Christian men’s ranch in Lake Elsinore.
I grow closer to The Lord and the knowledge of His will for me every day (Jeremiah 29:11). Gina, from Our Father's Table, “OFT”, is still giving me "a hand up; not a hand out". She is a great friend to me today and still a great help in my walk with Our Lord. I love her heart and all she does to help others in need. She doesn't always say what I want to hear, but says what I need! She and OFT exalt me and exhort me daily (Hebrews 10:24-25). Our Father's Table was a great tool in my total surrender. My days in the Army taught me to never surrender but now I’ve learned that by surrendering I can have all God's promises, all the fruits of the spirit. God truly does work all things together for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). My father also is a recovering alcoholic of 40 years. If I can continue in the path The Lord has for me, my Dad and I can be friends again. I will give him the son he deserves.
And that is the end of my story. Well, it was the end of the story until just a couple months ago. Along my journey of recovery, I have met many people who took a real interest in me; they saw more in me than I ever saw in myself – Gina of course was primary, but after that, there came a lady who cared, really cared, for me throughout the ups and downs of my recovery. She abided with my relapse, she goes to AA as my support, she is always there in the hour of my need. I don’t think I could go forward without her – she is my anchor in life’s sea of turmoil. As time ripened, we decided on a more full relationship; we raised our glasses in a wedding toast to each other as we embarked upon the next step of life’s journey – together. Thanks to Our Father’s Table, I am no longer among the “AwayFromHome-less”. I have returned home.
May God bless you and give you peace as He does me!