When no one wants you around at Christmas

maxwell-cropped-and-compressedIt was the Christmas Maxwell would like to forget. But can’t. Five years ago, his addiction to methamphetamines cost him everything. His wife. His kids. Even his relationship with his own mother, which was especially hurtful at Christmas.

“She called me up beforehand and said I could only visit for a couple of hours and then had to leave. I told her ‘No, thanks,’ ” Maxwell remembers. “It felt pretty lousy.”

When you hear his story, you figure that must have been rock bottom. But it wasn’t. Maxwell had bought presents for his three kids that year — but never got a chance to give the gifts to them. So he held on to them for one . . . two . . . three years.

Finally, in 2015, their mother gave permission — in July! — for his kids to unwrap the presents that had been sitting in the closet for so long. “I knew they had outgrown the clothes and the toys were not appropriate for them anymore,” he remembers. “But I gave it to them anyway. They were pretty happy.”

Maxwell was pretty happy, too. Not just because he finally got to express love to his kids. But because he was finally able to start putting the broken pieces of his life back together with the help of the Mission. After years of letting drugs control his life, Maxwell has now restored his family relationships, and in the process has learned a better way of moving forward — God’s way. “I used to think I needed meth to survive. Now I’m learning new ways to live,” he says.

“Sometimes, you have to sacrifice what you love (meth) for who you love (my kids),” he says.

Now that he’s in the last phase of the Mission’s recovery program, Maxwell gladly shares that the joy has returned to his life . . . just in time for Christmas. And he knows why. “I’m beginning to follow God’s lead,” he says.

As for who’s responsible for this amazing transformation, he’s quick to credit God first . . . and then friends of the Mission. “Because of them, my life isn’t the same,” he says. Maxwell says he is grateful for the love and support of Mission partners that have given him a fresh start this holiday season.

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