Bradley laughed at the dark irony. For the last 30 years, he justified his growing addiction with the shallow, comforting thought. “I might be an alcoholic. But no matter how bad it gets, I won’t be living in a tent or under a bridge.” But he was wrong.
Walking out of the hotel with just a few dollars to his name, Bradley tried to push aside the shock of what had happened. After years of barely holding it together, he’d just lost his job, his last hold on a normal life. He walked out into the cold, feeling broken and alone, with nothing but a coat. He was homeless.
Immediately, Bradley’s military training kicked in. Years in the Marine Corps reserve trained him for survival. “Shut out the physical pain,” he thought. “Shut down the emotions. Get it together and you can make it through this.”
CRYING OUT TO GOD
For decades, he’d slowly pushed everyone away. He lost two marriages, three daughters and a couple of great jobs. The more failures he accumulated, the greater his sense of worthlessness and shame, and the more he drowned his feelings in alcohol.
Bradley cried out to God, not knowing how to put his life back together. “God, be with me. You know what I need.”
After months of enduring harsh weather, nagging hunger, sleeplessness and exhaustion, Bradley found his way to Portland Rescue Mission. His father, a long-time volunteer, and his daughter convinced Bradley to enroll in the New Life Ministry for men at The Harbor in northeast Portland.
Bradley had tried treatment before, but The Harbor was different.
It’s not just about getting a certificate or remaining sober. It’s about developing healthy habits spiritually and emotionally.
“I noticed the first day here that the focus is on life recovery, life restoration, not just drug and alcohol recovery,” he says. “It’s not just about getting a certificate or remaining sober. It’s about developing healthy habits spiritually and emotionally. It’s about dealing with the past in a safe environment where you can talk about it.”
Slowly, Bradley emerged from survival mode, as God tore down the walls around his heart. “Then the counselors and mentors teach you, help you sort it all out and put you back together to find healing and purpose in life.”
A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Nine months into his recovery, Bradley celebrates the longest period of sobriety he’s had in 30 years. To him, hope means staying in close relationships, no longer isolating himself from people or his own heart. He treasures time spent with his adult daughters and his parents. And he’s committed to keeping his priorities straight. “I’m seeking God in my decisions and His will for my life. Then everything else falls in line.”