Hope Restored: The story of Teddy
“I didn’t want to live anymore, and that’s the sad truth. I wanted to die.”
Teddy had been clean and sober for four years. Living in his native Jacksonville, he had a steady job as a chef and a woman he planned to marry. Then it all changed — literally overnight — when he awoke to find his fiancé dead from a brain aneurysm. That sudden loss sent him into a downward spiral of alcohol and drugs that within months left him out of work and homeless.
“In a nutshell, being homeless is a horrible, humbling experience. You feel completely worthless. But nothing mattered to me. I had no reason to live.”
After two months of bouncing between friends’ homes and local shelters — and a few nights spent sleeping on a sidewalk — Teddy decided he needed to get away from Jacksonville and the bad memories, so he scraped together $13 for a bus ticket to Orlando. When he arrived, he asked a police officer for directions to another shelter, but he ended up at the Mission’s Men’s Center.
“At first I thought it was a mistake but today I realize it was God’s plan. They took me in, loved me and showed me that God loves me. Now I wake up every day without the desire to use drugs or alcohol. I was using them as a pain reliever but now God has taken away that pain and replaced it with hope.”
Teddy has put his culinary skills to use in the kitchen, where as part of the Mission’s Discipleship Work Program he helps prepare close to 900 meals a day. He is also working towards getting his high school diploma through the Mission’s Career Learning Center.
“I’m really excited about that because I want to go to college and study culinary arts or hotel and restaurant management. I’ve had a lot of on-the-job training but nothing formal. It will be good to have that piece of paper when I go looking for my next job.”
Teddy has gone from wishing he was dead to hoping someday to own his own restaurant. Stories of life transformation like this are made possible through the gifts of friends like you. Won’t you give today?