The year was 1989. Mom died. Then Dad. Then my aunt and niece. All dead within a 90 day period. Emotionally, I was a wreck. Lacking the skills to cope with such sudden and devastating death, I turned to alcohol and drugs to deal with my pain. The result of my addiction? I stopped caring about me, my rent, my power bills, even eating.
What followed was horrible: sleeping in abandoned cars and houses, eating from dumpsters outside fast food restaurants, unemployed with no direction to my life at all. UNTIL, I stopped at The Firehouse Shelter one night. At the time, the Shelter offered a warm place on a cold night and a hot meal to nourish me. The Shelter also led me to Jessica Germany (“she didn’t play”) and Sister Mary Oliver (“the most loving, caring spirit I had ever seen”).
Intense counseling. Job training. Constant strong encouragement that held me accountable. And eventually, full time addiction treatment at the VA facility in Little Rock, Arkansas ensued after I pleaded for help from Sister Mary, “What a GOD-SEND that woman was!” After I finished treatment, I took a job with the VA in Little Rock and stayed a year before returning to Birmingham in 1991 at the age of 33. Slowly, but surely, God was changing me from the inside out.
I stayed clean. Stopped drinking altogether. “Being clean afforded me the opportunity to become a different person.” I admitted I needed help-“a willing mind.” I changed my environment. I learned to submit to my bosses, follow guidelines, and become obedient. Most important though, were “the many people that surrounded me with a loving spirit.” These internal changes put me in a position vocationally and financially to start to experience success.
What kind of success? Today, after 20+ years of staying clean and submitting to HIS will, God has blessed me with the responsibility of leading Kimro Painting and Services as the CEO and President of 20-30 employees. Currently we have contracts with Children’s Hospital, the Birmingham City School System, Hoar Construction & Shuttlesworth International Airport. Having a sustainable business model which is very profitable is most rewarding. “However, I am eternally grateful that The Firehouse Shelter was there for me when I had hit rock bottom.”
“The Firehouse Shelter taught me to cope emotionally with the depression and deep hurt I faced after losing both parents and two relatives in a 90 day period. When I turned to alcohol and drugs to mask the pain, the “GUT-LEVEL HONEST” Firehouse Shelter staff who forced me to confront my problems head on-with a CARING SPIRIT-made all the difference in the world. I was held ACCOUNTABLE, and this was CRUCIAL to me becoming a productive member of society again.”
Ron’s story comes from The Firehouse Shelter. Visit their profile to learn more.