Like many of our guests, Dean is no stranger to GRM. However, like many of our guests, it takes a time or two, or five, or even ten before they are fully ready to leave their poverty mindset in the past and move forward, making good sound choices that will lead to the incredible life that God wants us have. For Dean, this is his second go-around, but the things he learned from his last stay has stuck with him, even after he hit rock bottom. Here is Dean’s story.
After suffering the loss of a loved one, Dean developed an alcohol addiction trying to numb the pain of his loss. It’s this addiction, combined with a debilitating health condition which effects his ability to walk, that ultimately led him to Gospel Rescue Mission the first time. Upon checking into our program, he was doing great initially. Following through with most program requirements and doing his best to keep his addiction in check, he was really starting to thrive. He was able to get some testing done for his leg condition through Good Shephard and was feeling very positive about finally being able to get his ailment diagnosed, treated, and resolved so that he could eventually get back to work.
However, addiction is a crazy thing. Just when you think you’ve got it beat, it gives you nasty little reminders to say, “Hey, I’m still here.” After having been here three and a half months, his willpower failed, and Dean fell off the wagon. In order to protect our guests who are in recovery, Gospel Rescue Mission has a strict no tolerance policy for drugs or alcohol, so as not to trigger those who are trying to overcome their cravings. It’s a daily battle for them, and one person walking through with a faint scent of alcohol on their breath could be enough to pull others off the wagon too. It was a hard decision for our Rescue Staff, given Dean’s progress, but the choice to drink resulted in exiting the GRM program. Dean was devastated.
Back on the streets, and without the breathalyzers before meals to hold him accountable, he was spiraling further into the darkness. One day, he woke up throwing up blood, and had to be taken to the hospital right away. He received 3 units of blood and a unit of plasma. His doctor assured him that had he waited even an hour longer to call 911, he might not have made it. He was hospitalized in Tulsa for a week before they eventually sent him back to Muskogee, actually dropping him off right next to Muskogee Beverage. He went in, got a beer, and next thing you know, he was vomiting blood all over again. Rushed back to the emergency room, they discovered that he had an ulcer, no doubt, aggravated by Dean’s drinking problem. His doctors urged him to put the bottle down. Dean knew he had to do something, because he just couldn’t fight it on his own. He needed structure, and he needed that system of accountability. He knew he needed to come back to Gospel Rescue Mission.
As you might know, no guest is ever permanently exited from GRM, and when Dean showed up for orientation, we were happy to see his smiling face ready to give it another try. Since he’s been back, he has over a month of sobriety under his belt. He also has an appointment with Good Shepherd to review the results of the testing he had done there during his last stay. He’s hoping that with God’s good grace, they’ll be able to help him literally get back on his feet so that he can go back to work. In the meantime, he’s working with his caseworker at Green Country Behavioral Health to get the ball rolling on disability in case the issue with his legs is more permanent than he is hoping. He’s optimistic about the future, despite some challenging obstacles with his record, his health, and his addiction, but he’s believing in God for a brighter future. And we’re believing right along with him!