By Leah Baugh
Today I had the privilege to listen to Jonathan’s* story.
Jonathan had been in recovery for eight days. Eight days without heroin, but kicked out of a recovery house for smoking a cigarette. He came into the NightShift office a couple of hours later full of fear. He was fearful of being back on the street, fearful of returning to his habit. Fearful of dying on the street. He had sought help from a few other places before coming to NightShift but kept hearing “I can’t help you.”
By now hopelessly he asked me, “Can you help?”
I searched and phoned around and finally found a recovery home that would take him in and come and pick him up. When I shared the news with Jonathan he looked at me in disbelief and began to weep.
“You helped me, I didn’t think you would, but you did,” he repeated over and over again.
I had the chance to pray for Jonathan and as I repeated the NightShift mission statement, I prayed he would find hope and purpose. After praying, Jonathan said, “I sure hope your God helps me because I want to live, I don’t want to be a nobody any more. On the street I was a nobody, all I had was my drug. Thank you for treating me as though I am somebody. When I am clean in a few years I am going to come back to thank you properly.”
While we were waiting, Jonathan shared his story. He had been struggling with an alcohol addiction in his early 20s and was sleeping on the street one winter when a church brought him to a recovery home. He was clean for ten years after that, had a wife, two kids and a business. In his early 30s he suffered from an injury at work and for the pain took OxyContin, a highly addictive pain reliever. Within three years he lost his family, his work and his home. Jonathan was back living on the streets, self medicating with heroin, and managing to survive the next decade, one day at a time. Now he wanted out, he wanted life.
My heart shifted today. I believe there is a reason this man came into our office. What we are doing through NightShift, through The Care Centre, by caring for individuals in need, is creating a family. Hearing his story reminded me that we cannot make decisions for others, but we can be here for them. Like Jesus, we need to walk alongside them no matter how long it takes – loving unconditionally all the way. When someone makes the decision to pursue life, like Jonathan did today, we get to celebrate with them. Before Jonathan left he winked at me, a new-found hope in his eyes.
Please pray for Jonathan this week, pray he continues on this path to freedom and ultimately finds the love of Jesus.
John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.