Adult & Teen Challenge Men’s Choir sang and gave testimonials July 17
on their lives of addiction. Here are their stories:
Marquise from Brooklyn grew up with a prayer warrior for a mother, a
Seventh Day Adventist who shaped his life with a strong belief in Jesus.
Then came high school, where he was jeered at by his peers and
eventually turned to all the evil temptations that he knew were wrong
but couldn’t resist. He moved in with his alcoholic father and one night
found himself with his hands around his father’s neck. He was arrested
for assault. His mother didn’t give up on him, however, and got him
into Adult & Teen Challenge in New Haven. Five months ago, his court
case was dropped, and he is now 10 months into the program of work,
prayer and thanks to God.
Dan, 23, was proud to testify before our church members as well as his
own family who listened, prayed and applauded their son’s recovery.
His mother suffered from anxiety and depression, and his father was an
alcohol and drug addict. He said when they divorced, he felt no love.
When his mother kicked him out of the house in his senior year in high
school because of his addiction, he said, “I believed I was better off
dead. I broke my family’s heart, and I was ready to hang myself.” In
2021—on Mother’s Day — he came into the Adult & Teen Challenge
program, a prideful atheist. “I learned to be humble and accept Jesus,”
he said. “I love what God’s done for me. Jesus saved my life.”
Shawn, 39, a cat lover from Manchester, CT, was born premature and
called a “miracle baby.” But his dad was an alcoholic, and his
grandfather, who was his best friend, died when he was 14. His
girlfriend left, and he felt so broken he couldn’t receive love. In his mid-
20s he was hurt at work and became addicted to painkillers. When he got married, he said he felt like Superman putting on his cape. Then he was divorced and became addicted to heroin addiction, lost his wife, his car – and his cat. He was homeless on the streets of Hartford. His sister
told him about Adult & Teen Challenge, and he told Steve, the intake
coordinator, that he was coming in on a Saturday – a day they didn’t do
intakes. “I felt God’s love instantly,” he said. “Jesus loved me my whole
life, but I didn’t see it.”
Steve’s testimony was the longest and is recounted in one of the many
books the program has published. He explained that when these young
men come in, they come in looking pretty bad, not believing, hopeless.
But they don’t stay that way,“ he said. “God transforms their life.”
There is a $750 induction fee, but they don’t turn anyone away. It costs
$2300 per month to house a resident, and all the funds come from their
own find-raising and selling handmade cutting boards. The men
typically stay 12 to 15 months and learn a trade and social skills. Steve
said, “God makes it all work.” They accept no state funding because
that would force them to eliminate Jesus from the program, which they
will never do.
Steve is from Boston. He said his science teacher taught that he evolved
from pond scum. He asked her “Where does God fit into this?” She said
God exists only in your mind. Her name was Mrs. Divine – which he
laughed and said means “from God.” He has the same stories as the
other men, but he overdosed 12 times before his 23 rd birthday. His
family stopped coming to the hospital as he was on life support three
different times. It was his father who decided he needed something
totally different – as well as his insurance company which refused to
pay for one more psychiatric stay. That was Aug 5, 2021, what Steve
calls his Salvation Day. “My dad texts me every year on that day to say
‘Happy birthday,’” he says, “not in September which is my real
birthday.” He was hired as intake supervisor in 2014, restored his relationship with his parents and has been free from all “products,” he says, since his entrance date. And he added, “My science teacher was
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