Mike’s Story

Mike will never forget the day his youngest daughter called him and said, “Dad, you love drugs more than you love us. You’ve got to get help.”

“That just ripped me up,” he recalls. So in March 2018, he came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission to get the help he needed. But it would not be easy. He would have to confront a lifetime of hopelessness, disappointment, brutal memories and shame.

Once a star football player in high school, a devastating knee injury crushed his dreams of a college scholarship. That’s when he discovered painkillers. “They made me feel good about myself again. But it was just a mask, a false sense of hope.”

Later, feeling lost and directionless, Mike joined an outlaw biker club. “I rode with them for 10 years,” he says. “We did a lot of stuff that’s hard to live with. I became somebody I really don’t like. Somehow, I had to find a way to live with myself. But I never did. I just hoped the memories would go away—and got high.”

By his mid-30s, Mike finally quit drugs, married and raised a family. “They were the love of my life,” he says. But he could never escape the guilt of his secrets. At 40, he relapsed and ended up losing his family and everything he cared about. He spent the next 14 years lost in a haze of drugs, hoping to forget his mistakes— until he arrived at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission to face his shameful past.

But instead of judgment, he found Jesus. “I’d been in rehabs before, but Jesus was never involved. I carried so many sins for so long. Then, when I came here, I saw Jesus on that cross and realized He died for me, for everything I ever did. He loved me that much. It was mind-blowing. It still is, because Christ is right here with me now. I’m a totally different person.

“I have my daughters and my ex-wife back in my life. I have my self-respect. As a donor, that’s what you did for me. You gave me my life back. Thank you!”