James’s Story

James finally hit rock bottom. Lying in bed at his brother’s house, coming off his latest crack high, grief overwhelmed him. Crack cocaine had cost him everything. His wife and kids had left him, he’d lost his home and car, and he’d spent every last penny he had on drugs.

For one moment, he thought about cutting his wrists — “but I knew that was just Satan wanting to destroy me.”

James’ descent into despair took 12 long years. It started in high school, when he first started smoking weed. Cocaine soon followed, and he was off to the races, and it continued after he got married. “Before long, I was spending my whole paycheck on drugs,” he says. “My wife got fed up with it, so I tried rehab, but that didn’t work. One time I overdosed and almost died, but I went right back to drugs.”


At one point, James and his family ended up homeless, living in a motel or an abandoned house. He recalls guns pointed at him over drugs, and the misery of living that kind of life.

Lying on the bed at his brother’s house, however, he realized his only hope was Jesus Christ. So he came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. “God started working on my heart immediately,” he recalls. “All the teachers and counselors here filled me with the Word of God. Everyone here encouraged me every day. And every night I prayed, ‘God, help me overcome these problems. Help me put my family back together.’”

God answered James’ prayers and more: It took time, but God restored his family. The Milwaukee Rescue Mission helped James find a new job and a home. He joined a church and taught Sunday school. But he really came full circle last year, when James was invited to return to MRM to minister to men interested in joining the program, just like he did so many years before.

“The guys know that I know what it’s like for them,” he says. “This is my passion — to help broken men find the same joy and hope I have today.”