Brian Sanders said, “It’s hard to imagine how much my life has changed in less than a year”. Thanks be to God, similar heartfelt expressions are voiced by many that after years of hopeless defeat begin BBM’s extensive 9-10 month New Life Fellowship/Recovery program. Brian said, “For much of my 48 years I lived a pretty lost life – with no idea what real life could be like.”
Many may find it hard to believe that a 6-year old would have a smoking habit, and at 8 he would be drinking hard liquor – but that’s how it was when Brian was with his uncle. His parents had separated before he was 6. He said, “My mother poured her love and care into me, but as I bounced between relatives I picked-up bad habits. At age 12 I was sent to a live- in program that was meant to guide kids like me to make good choices and get on the right track, but I didn’t really change.”
By the time he was 13, frequent brushes with the law led to his spending time at two youth homes. Then at 17, after being sent to ‘Reality House’, he says, “For the next year or so I was in better shape than ever, mentally, spiritually and physically”. Eventually though he drifted back to alcohol.
In the Army, through his first 3 years Brian managed to avoid his familiar patterns, but during his last 3 years he gradually returned to those habits.
Upon returning to Birmingham after his military service, much of the money he would earn through odd jobs and labor-pools went for alcohol. His drinking became such a problem that he was picked up 12 times for public intoxication. He spent much of 1993- 95 wandering the country riding freight trains as a railroad hobo. By 1998 Brian’s continued downward spiral resulted in his going to prison. Through the years after his release, to a large extent, he continued his addictive pattern. He says, “By 2013 I was in such a derelict life that I was drinking myself to death”.
“I didn’t want to die this way, and because of that, with my years of addiction, when I heard how Brother Bryan Mission’s new recovery program was helping lives change, I knew I needed that. After talking with a BBM chaplain, even though they couldn’t take me yet because the program was full, I was inspired by the attitude here. For the next 3 weeks I was sober enough each morning when I showed up at the Mission before the office opened, hoping there for an opening. In August I got into ‘pre-program – and a few weeks later I began the New Life Fellowship Program.”
“What a difference the last 7 months have made – what a difference Christ makes. Here with the help of staff and volunteers that are committed to help reach and equip us to start over from the ground up – at age 48 I began a completely new foundation for life; I began a real relationship with Christ; Long-since broken relationships are mending; I’m involved in a local church; I will soon begin HVAC training; I have a realistic money management plan; and the Lord is at the center of my life. In short – everything that I was not – I now am – and the victory is God’s”.
“With men it is impossible, but not with God… with God all things are possible” Mark 10:27