Daniel: Putting the Pieces Back Together

Winter 2012

Before coming to Rockford Rescue Mission, 30-year-old Daniel never believed his life held any value. He started smoking cigarettes at age 10. By 14 he was drinking and partying. Then he began using drugs. When he was 17, his parents—with whom he’d never had a close relationship—kicked him out of the house.

“Drugs were there for me when nobody else was,” Daniel says. “I hated my family. I hated myself. I thought my destiny in life was to die young.”

Now virtually homeless, Daniel stayed with friends, worked odd jobs and continued to experiment with drugs. In his early 20s, his girlfriend became pregnant, and he felt a spark of purpose. “I wanted to be a good father. I was clean for a while — I even started going to church.” But when he continued to relapse, his girlfriend went to court to deny his parental rights. He agreed because he knew he wasn’t the father he should be.

Driven by despair, his drug use escalated and he found himself living on the streets. “I had lost my child and I had nothing. I wanted out of reality. If someone would have put a bullet in me, I would have been OK with that.”

Daniel learned about Rockford Rescue Mission while on the streets. “I decided to look into the Mission because I really didn’t have any choice. I was trying to destroy myself,” he explains.

“I remember walking through the doors in December, in the middle of a blizzard.” He joined our Life Recovery Program and began putting the pieces of his life back together.

“I had always dealt with issues by getting drunk or high. I was always the kid who blamed everyone else. I didn’t know how to take responsibility for my life. The recovery program was wonderful and the counseling I received was great. I had tried to surrender for so long and this program gave me the opportunity to really change.”

He learned that through God he is worthy of a life that’s blessed and full. “I saw the people here were investing treasures in heaven and I realized I didn’t have a bank account there. I wanted a bank account in heaven.”

Daniel graduated from our program last year. He has an apartment, a full-time job and plays the guitar in his church’s band. He’s grateful for friends like you who gave him this opportunity to rebuild his life, one piece at a time.

“In Proverbs we’re told that whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done. That’s what the people here at the Mission do. They give to the poor. And when someone gives to the Mission, they allow the Mission to share the love of God so people like me can come and be blessed.”