James’ Story

Last March was the lowest point of James’ life. He had just been released from jail and had nowhere to go. It seemed like no one wanted him around anymore. So he went to the beach to spend the night, only to lose his balance and fall into the frigid water. Though he was able to pull himself out, all night he was overwhelmed by the cold, pain, shame and feelings of rejection and hopelessness.

“The next morning, I knew what I had to do,” he says. “I was going to take what little money I had left to purchase enough heroin to kill myself.”

Drugs and alcohol were a part of James’ life for as long as he can remember. Growing up, everyone in his family was an addict. So he learned early that he could drink and use drugs to medicate all his problems away. “After high school, I started working and raising my own family,” James says. “I always used drugs, but I also always took care of my bills and my family. My kids meant everything to me, and I really believed I was a devoted father. That’s what I thought. But heroin proved me wrong.”

When James started using heroin in his late 20s, he sacrificed everything for it, including his wife and kids. He ended up homeless, in and out of jail, pursuing heroin and letting it take control to the point of nearly taking his own life—but he didn’t. Instead, he came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

“I love my children. I didn’t want to die, I wanted to be part of their lives,” he says. “So when I came here, I gave myself completely to Jesus Christ. I gave up my shame and self-hatred. I embraced Christ’s love, I opened myself to the love of everyone here and I learned to love myself again.”

God is working in James’ life in so many ways today. He’s even talking to his kids and family again. “I have hope for a better 2020,” he says. “I have a new life no one can ever take away from me. That’s what your support for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission did for me. You saved my life! Thank you!”