Editor’s note: David is a recent graduate of The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis.
David never dreamed he’d become addicted to crystal methamphetamine. And yet it happened. The drug wormed its way into his life and almost destroyed him.
Until five years ago, David played by the rules. He lived a normal life in the northern Twin Cities suburbs with his then-wife and son, working as a chemist at a waste treatment facility.
Everything began to change in 2010, soon after his former wife underwent a series of medical operations and dental procedures. She became addicted to painkillers, which eventually gave way to opiates and other illegal drugs.
“Once she found out about opiates, drugs took over her life,” said David, 39.
Slowly but surely, their bank account began to drain, and their marriage began to crumble. In 2013, they divorced.
In December 2014, David and his son were living with David’s mother in Blaine. One day that month, David met with his ex-wife at her home. Although they were divorced, he still hadn’t given up hope that their family could be salvaged.
During their meeting, David’s ex asked if he wanted to smoke meth. He agreed.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he recalled. “Maybe I thought that doing drugs with her would help us bond.”
And just like that, David was hooked. He continued to buy meth from his ex on a regular basis. He ingested small amounts of the drug daily, spending about $25 per week.
By late 2015, David had found his own drug supplier and was spending $80 per week on meth.
“My son and I were still living with my mom,” said David, who’d switched jobs and was working as a manager at a local grocery store. “I was smoking meth all the time – before work, during my lunch break, and every night.”
In May 2017, David lost his job due to excessive tardiness. For the next six months he collected unemployment and stayed at home while his mom worked and his son went to school.
“I was at home, doing nothing, using drugs,” he said. “I was spending $200 per week on meth. My mom suspected I was using but I denied it.”
Eventually, his mom did find out. She gave him an ultimatum: stop doing drugs and get a job, or get out of her house.
David chose drugs.
In January 2018, David became homeless. He began living out of his car while his mom cared for his son.
With no job and almost no money, David came up with a not-so-brilliant plan to support himself: sell crystal meth.
He started by spending $500 for 30 grams of the drug. During his first morning on the job, he sold eight grams of meth for $700 – putting him on track to earn a net profit of more than $2,000.
“I thought, ‘Hey, I’m pretty good at this,’” David recalled.
Wrong. Less than 24 hours later, he got arrested and thrown in jail.
“I tried to be a drug dealer for a day and it didn’t work out so well,” David said with a chuckle.
Unfortunately, there was nothing funny about the next seven months of David’s life. He was thrown back into jail many more times. He enrolled in a treatment program but failed. He couldn’t do anything right.
Cry for help
David reached the end of himself on July 31, 2018. That day, he walked aimlessly around the suburb of Circle Pines for 12 hours straight. He hated life.
Eventually, he picked up the phone and called his mom. “I can’t do this anymore,” he told her.
David’s mom had previously told him about The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis, but he’d refused to go. This time was different. David asked his mother to pick him up and bring him straight to The Salvation Army.
“I cried the whole way there,” David said.
David spent the next six months at the rehabilitation center (pictured), relearning how to live a positive and productive life.
The center offers residential rehabilitation for up to 105 men. The men receive six months to a year of meals, housing, counseling, spiritual guidance, and other transformative support. In most cases the program is free, with funding provided by sales at Salvation Army Stores in the Twin Cities.
At the rehabilitation center, David learned “that the only person I can change is myself, and the best way to change is to see God’s will for my life and not my own,” he said. “Before, everything in my life deteriorated under my own will.”
He most enjoyed the “work therapy” part of the program, whereby residents sort donations at Salvation Army Stores, cook, clean, or perform other duties for eight hours a day.
“Being able to work lets you know you did a good job at something,” David said. “It allows you to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day.”
These days, David likes the reflection he sees. He graduated from the rehabilitation center on January 31, 2019 and he hasn’t looked back. Some of his steps forward include:
- He now works in maintenance for The Salvation Army (pictured).
- To avoid temptation, he has deleted his social media accounts and has erased the phone numbers of every person he ever did drugs with.
- He attends 12-step meetings every week.
Most importantly, David has begun to restore his relationship with his son. Previously, his son would not speak to him. They recently ate breakfast together, and they plan to meet again soon.
“I’m a new man,” David said. “There is nothing I could have done to create these good things that are happening. They are happening because of God.”
Donate goods, change a life
You can also help by doing some spring cleaning. Clean out your drawers, closets or garage and drop off your new or gently-used goods at any of dozens of collections bins around the Twin Cities.
If you or someone you love would like more information about enrolling at the rehabilitation center, please call 612-547-5690.