Charles & Michele: A Family Restored

Holidays 2012

After battling drug and alcohol abuse for more than 30 years, Charles’ life was filled with love and hope.

“I got married and my daughter was born,” he says. He and his wife, Michele, attended church, read the Bible and prayed together. And they began to teach their little girl, Brielle, about Jesus. But then Charles was laid off from his job. Discouraged and with too much time on his hands, “I started hanging out with old friends again and got back into that old behavior,” he says, referring to the addiction he thought he’d overcome.

“It was a very emotional time,” Michele remembers. “It seemed like it was going to be the end of us all. We weren’t going to church anymore, we weren’t praying together and we both really struggled with our faith.” But they’d taught their daughter well. At only 2 years old, her faith never wavered.

“I came home from being gone two or three days and she said, ‘Jesus loves you,’” Charles recalls. “Another time she said, ‘Daddy, let’s read our Bibles.’ I heard her words, but I didn’t really comprehend what she was saying because my mind was clouded. But all the time it was like God was speaking to me through her.”

Finally, Charles listened.

“One Friday night I was lying on this guy’s couch and I realized I was about to lose my family.” He came to Rockford Rescue Mission the following Monday and was accepted into our Life Recovery Program.

 “We were behind him 100 percent,” Michele says. “This is what needed to happen in order for our family to be restored. While it was hard for Brielle to understand why she couldn’t see her father all the time, we explained he was trying to get better so he could be a better man and a better father—and the father that God wanted him to be.”

Michele was grateful for the support she and Brielle received from the Mission staff, as well. “If I had questions or concerns, I could talk with them. They never overstepped their bounds, but stepped right up to help if I needed it.” She was especially touched by how the Mission made sure her daughter had a special Christmas. “Because of the generosity of the donors, someone adopted our family and bought lots of nice things for us. Charles brought them over to us and explained to Brielle that friends from the Mission helped him get them for her. Things like that are important.”

Charles graduated from the program in September, is working full time and is excited about being at home with his family this Christmas. “Brielle knows Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus,” Charles says. And this year they’ll also be celebrating the gift of restoration He has given to their family.

“Without the Christ-centered foundation and focus of God in the recovery program, we wouldn’t have made it, and that’s why we chose Rockford Rescue Mission,” Michele says today.

“I’m so grateful for what the Mission did for me and provided for my family,” Charles concurs. Drawing on his own experiences and the healing power of God, Charles has a passion for working with young people who are struggling with substance abuse. He also mentors other men at the Mission’s recovery program. “Being involved with drugs and alcohol is a sinful part of our nature and if we let God work in our lives, He will do the restoring.”