“I didn’t really care if I died at that point. I’m glad I didn’t. Now I guess God really has a purpose for me.”
As a child, Brandon never felt good enough. Trying to live up to his stepfather’s expectations left him feeling neglected and rejected, and eventually got him kicked out of his parents’ house at 16.
“He just didn’t really see me as like his son. He had his own kid with my mom, and he got treated way differently,” Brandon said. “No matter what I did, I could never amount to what he wanted me to be.”
From there, he went to live with friends who introduced him to drugs and alcohol. Brandon liked the way the substances masked his negative feelings about himself, but that eventually led him to depression, burning bridges in his relationships and losing jobs.
“I pretty much had nobody at that point. My family wasn’t even really there because I’d been messing up so much. It was rough to be quite honest,” he said.
Brandon spent two years living in his car and continued to turn to drugs to numb the pain of feeling isolated and disconnected. Because the people who were supposed to be closest to him didn’t show him support, he didn’t see the point of caring for himself.
“That’s when I hit rock bottom. I didn’t want to feel anything,” he said. “I didn’t really care if I died at that point.”
“That’s when I hit rock bottom. I didn’t want to feel anything.”
A New Chance at Life
Brandon went to different rehabilitation facilities and programs—including the New Life Program at the Mission—but it wasn’t until he joined the program last fall that he was truly ready to put in the work.
“I’m really finding myself again and finally starting to figure out that everything is like all about the emotions of why we do drugs,” he said. “Things happen in your life and that’s why you want to mask your feelings. If I feel sad, mad or any of that stuff, I’m figuring out how to handle those. This place will start really getting you to really understand who you are.”
Brandon has also worked at the front desk at The Crossing for the work readiness portion of the program. Not only has that experience taught him the stability of keeping a job but has improved his communication skills.
“I’m just trying to get to know people better and learn how to interact,” Brandon said. “With my stepdad, I’d always be looking at his lips or his forehead because I couldn’t stand staring at him. For the longest time, it’s been hard for me to look people in the eye.”
Another element that has contributed to Brandon’s recovery has been the program Back on My Feet, which helps those experiencing homelessness through running and offering other resources. Back on My Feet has an office in The Crossing and works directly with several men in our New Life Program.
“I feel like I’m running for my better self,” Brandon said. “Even when I can’t breathe, I’m still pushing hard. I’m near the end of the tunnel where I want to be at—that’s how I feel when I’m running.”
Since joining the New Life Program, Brandon is not only feeling better physically but is feeling better mentally and spiritually. Through the Bible studies and regularly attending church, Brandon is feeling hopeful for his future.
“Now I guess God really has a purpose for me,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out what my gift is because I don’t know. That might be another reason why I’m fighting for my life more this time too—I want to know what the purpose is and why.”
“I’m near the end of the tunnel where I want to be at—that’s how I feel when I’m running.”Brandon
Brandon is thankful for the Mission for giving him the resources he needed to turn his life around. He believes God and the Mission have truly given him a second chance at life.
“A lot of us were lost. We all have dreams and want to figure it out, but we don’t really know the steps or how to get there. They help you do that here,” he said. “Everybody has a second chance at life.”
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