Bob: Linking Arms … Restoring Lives

Winter 2013

 At age 53, Bob has experienced both sides of addiction—he’s counseled those struggling with alcohol abuse . . . and he’s battled it himself. At Rockford Rescue Mission, he found the missing piece he needed to complete his own recovery.

Like many people who abuse alcohol or drugs, Bob’s success was also his undoing. At 16, he started working part time at his father’s construction firm. He finished high school at the top of his class and planned to go to college.

But instead, he got married, started a family and eventually took over the business. And it boomed. But as the stress of managing the operation increased, so did Bob’s use of alcohol. At the height of his career, he was drinking all day long.

When his two sons started drinking as teenagers, he realized he was not a good role model. So at age 40, he was determined to get sober. For the next several years, Bob was in and out of treatment programs, but with no permanent results. When he and his wife divorced and he lost his business due to bad decisions and the poor economy, he quit drinking on his own and decided to change careers and use his experience to help others.

He went to college to become an addiction counselor and was hired by Rosecrance. But when his mother died—and still dealing with the failures of his marriage and the business his father started — he turned to alcohol again. Soon he was forced to leave his job.

“I knew I needed help so I went to Chicago to live at a recovery center house,” Bob says. “But that was a huge mistake. We were all on the honor system and everyone was drinking.” He left and spent several weeks on the streets, sleeping in trains to stay warm. At the lowest point in his life, he learned about Rockford Rescue Mission . . . and joined our long-term Men’s Life Recovery Program.

“I grabbed at everything the Mission had to offer. I came to know the Lord and for the first time I felt a presence in my life like I had never felt before,” Bob says today. “As an addiction counselor, I knew all the answers, but I didn’t know how to get there myself until I came to the Mission. I realize now the biggest piece missing in my recovery was spirituality. Not having that eventually took me down.”

Bob graduated last fall and is now in the Mission’s transitional living program. Because of his background in construction, he played an integral role in the renovation of the Mission’s new Thrift Store facility.

Now he helps with sorting and shelving the inventory. He also works at Restoration Café as a barista. He is looking for a job and hopes eventually to work as a counselor again. But for now, he’s grateful for his time at the Mission.

“There is always someone to talk to here. As a man it is especially nice to be able to sit down with other men and talk about your shortcomings. I feel I can finally talk honestly.”

And he’s grateful for friends like you who “link arms” through your generosity to ensure we can continue to rescue, recover and restore broken lives. “There are not enough places like Rockford Rescue Mission,” Bob shares. “The spiritually broken need places like this. The staff don’t work for the money here . . . they work for God. The donors really make it possible for the Mission to operate the way God wants it to be.”