homeless person asleep on the street

Willie

Ever since I was kid, I felt a hunger within me. Not necessarily for food, but for…well, for something. All I knew is it was painful and insatiable, and there was no way to feed it.

Growing up, my family never had much money. Worse, though, my folks were always drinking and shouting at each other. I never understood why they were together, there was no love there—not even for my brother and me.

With so much fear and trauma, my brother and I started acting out—stealing. Mostly small stuff, at first. We grabbed milk out of milk trucks when the delivery man wasn’t looking. Somehow, the “excitement” of taking what wasn’t ours helped mask the pain we felt at home. But my stealing escalated. In fact, later, I got popped for armed robbery and served 22 years in prison.

When I got out, I left my life of crime behind. But I was still hungry for something. So I started trying to fill the void with meth and a string of women all over the south, from Chattanooga, to Tallahassee, to Pensacola, to Jacksonville. Nothing ever filled that void—and the hunger was consuming me.

With all the substance abuse, I couldn’t keep jobs. I’d get clean, and join a program, and relapse. People cut me off. Eviction notices were posted. It was all too much to handle.

One day here in Savannah, I headed to Old Savannah City Mission, looking for any help they could give me. The very next day I entered their program and am sticking with it. I’m done trying to fool myself into believing I can outrun my past…or my pain.

That hunger I felt as a child? I’m realizing it’s a need we all carry around. A need for meaning, and purpose, and the love of Jesus Christ. Because of people like you, I know that love now and will hold it dear until the end of my days. I am just so blessed. Thank you!

Read Other Stories of Change