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Paul's Story of True Life Change

Paul had worked hard his whole life, but after a difficult divorce, he turned to alcohol for relief and it ended up costing him his freedom, his job, and left him on the street . . . until his life was transformed at Nashville Rescue Mission.

“I worked at GM as an industrial electrician—23 years,” Paul says, looking back to his roots in Michigan, and how like so many others, he found his way to Middle Tennessee for a better life.

“It was just bitter, bitter cold,” he recalls. “Neither of our vehicles would start one morning, mine or my wife’s. She said, “Can’t you go to a plant somewhere down south?”

“So I got hired at [the Saturn plant], and we moved down here in 1997. I love Nashville. Love Tennessee. I’ve been here since, in Lewisburg, about 60 miles south of Nashville, a couple of counties away.”

But as Paul’s marriage began to crumble, he found himself relying on alcohol to numb the pain. “When I started feeling bad, I would start drinking. Which didn’t help,” he says.

But even as he became more dependent on the alcohol, he found no peace there. “It never brought me any joy,” he says. “It brought me some relief—but it was never fun” he says.

In fact, he remembers thinking, “this is stupid. You don’t really like doing it, and you keep doing it: keep doing the same thing, get the same results,” he admits. So, “I would get straight again.” Yet, as often happens with addiction, he found it impossible to stop once and for all on his own, “it’s a rollercoaster with alcoholism.”

Then, “I got divorced, and it got worse,” Paul confesses—and that cost him everything else.

“I got a DUI, and I went to jail. I lost my job because I couldn’t show up for work—for two months,” he says. “When I got home, there was a five-day notice that was 60 days old.”

To try keeping food on the table and a roof over his head, Paul took a job at a KFC and Walmart. “But my back and my legs, they basically got old, gave out, and there was a point where I could barely walk anymore.”

I couldn’t pay the rent and I was being evicted. I didn’t know who to turn to . . .

Paul had never been homeless before. “I was real scared. I didn’t know where I was going to go. I actually slept in an alley for a couple of weeks.”

“It was cold at night. I was scared for my safety. There were bugs. There were ants. They’d crawl and bite you. It was really horrible. Going to the bathroom? It was a journey to find a place to go to the bathroom.”

When he couldn’t take it any longer—and out of desperation—Paul found a couch to sleep on in a run-down house . . . surrounded by addicts.

That was where God spoke to Paul’s heart: “I started looking, and I found out about Nashville Rescue Mission, and I called.”

“They said, ‘We’ll get you three meals, we’ll get you a bed . . . you just show up.’”

“I called my friend—and I said, ‘Please get me out of here. Take me to the Mission.’ He drove me [to Nashville Rescue Mission] from that house—that was the end of it: I showed up!”

I was really amazed. It was like there was no problem here at the Mission. Just, ‘come in!’

It started with a warm meal, a safe place to sleep, and the Christ-centered care Paul received. Now he is experiencing true life change . . . starting with overcoming his dependency on alcohol.

“When you start drinking,” Paul says, “you get depression and a really bad pattern of negative thinking. So yes! Just staying sober has helped a lot.”

And looking ahead to a life transformed by the hope and promise of a future found in our care? “I would just like to be in peace,” Paul says. “Get some good friends again!”

A family of friends like you, committed to sharing the radical hospitality of Jesus with those who are suffering from hunger, homelessness, and deep hurt like Paul’s. He’s grateful—

“I’m just glad that the Mission is here for people like me.”

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