Christmas ultimatum: Change…or die!

From overachieving student athlete to a down-and-out homeless street addict

It started when Walter was injured in a gang-related shooting in 1986. Unable to play football anymore, he tried drowning his disappointment in alcohol and crack cocaine. “I just gave up,” he says.

Every day was horrible, but the holidays were the worst.

“I was smelly, stinky, broken down”

One Christmas, after several warnings threatening eviction, Walter came home to his apartment on 7th Street down by the airport and found the sheriff had removed all his belongings, and dropped them on the front lawn — in the snow.

“I had absolutely nothing,” he says. “I was smelly, stinky, broken down.”

“My cheeks were freezing, my ears were freezing…I knew I had to change my life.”

By this time, he had ruined his relationship with his mom and dad, could no longer hold a job and would spend cold winter days walking the streets in a Minnesota Vikings jacket, a sweatshirt that was too small and a baseball cap.

Walter Reached His Limit

“My cheeks were freezing, my ears were freezing . . . I knew I had to change my life,” he says.
It was while he was in detox, his last chance to get sober, that Walter heard about the Union Gospel Mission and its Christ Recovery Center .Finally, in a moment of desperation, Walter called the hospital, and told the person on the other end of the “phone, “If someone from detox doesn’t come get me, I’m going to finish this bottle of vodka and die.”

Today, he’s alcohol-free, has come to faith in Christ and has reestablished his relationship with his family.

“It’s like being reborn”

“My dad thinks coming to CRC is the greatest thing I’ve ever done,” Walter says. “It’s like being reborn to have my dad back in my corner, telling me he loves me.”

Thousands of broken, hurting people come through the Mission each year — looking for a meal, looking for recovery . . . looking for hope.

And because of friends like you, many will find it.

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