I had just been through my second relapse and I needed help.
I was scared because I had already went through the best treatment center in the U.S. (Hazelden Springbrook). It cost over a $1,000/day and I was in for 28 days
After that I attended outpatient meetings once a week and then went to AA meetings about 4–5 times a week.
I WAS trying to stay sober but it wasn’t working. I was 20 years old, living at my parents house with my whole family knowing I had just relapsed on cocaine again. It was a pretty low place.
In AA they say if you’re serious about getting clean then you need to work with a sponsor. I had one and I was working with him. But I needed to take it to the next level.
So I moved in with him. He helped me a lot and told me the hard things I needed to hear. He called me on “my bullshit” and always said, “Josh, you can’t bullshit a bullshitter.” And he was right.
But I eventually moved out because it was during this time when I started to go to church. I became a Christian and my sponsor wasn’t a fan of “organized religion.”
So eventually we parted ways and I started to get more involved in church. Instead of going to AA meetings every night I would go to church meetings.
It was great and I enjoyed it but after a year of “being busy serving at church” my life was still a mess. I was clean and sober but I was also broke, in debt and jumping from job to job.
It wasn’t until one of my friend’s mom from church started to “disciple” me that things really started to change. I thought the word “disciple” sounded odd and very religious but she explained that there was a difference between mentorship and discipleship and what I needed was discipleship.
And she was right. I was 21 when we met and I started to meet almost every day with her after work. I didn’t know what we would discuss. I assumed we would pray and read the Bible together and talk about “spiritual things.”
So I was a little surprised that one of the first things we did was focus on getting my personal finances in order. I had never been taught how to budget, save or tithe or anything like that.
So I learned. I would get paid, cash my check and bring over all the money to her house. I would put money into envelopes and was told that when the money ran out for a category (i.e. coffee) then I had to wait until the next paycheck to buy more of that item.
Seemed simple enough, so I did it… And it changed my life!
I ended up paying off all my debt (I had over $10,000) and I finally learned how to manage money. It was so liberating and I loved it!
I’m grateful for this experience. And now here I am, 13 years later still reaping the benefits from this type of “ministry.”
So when I go to church and see all these people struggling with money I think, “Man, why doesn’t the church do something to help these people?”
But really the question I suppose I should be asking is, “Why don’t I do something to help these people?”
I remember Jesus telling the disciples once, “Why don’t you give them something to eat?”
But all I have is a few tools and a basic understanding of finances. I don’t feel like I’m an expert at this. Maybe those are my “loaves and fishes” I have to offer. I don’t know. All I know is this type of ministry really helped changed my life and I feel like the right thing to do is to help others in similar fashion… We’ll see where this goes I guess.