When she first came to The Salvation Army, Anita was broken, alone, and needed help. Her story is complicated and often tragic. It was no wonder, then, that drugs and alcohol became a means for her to trade her fears for something that felt like peace, however fleeting.
In finding respite from her pain at The Salvation Army, Anita was able to commit to working towards getting clean and reestablishing her life. Her tragic storyline was redeemed. She was able to enroll in school and find affordable housing. She no longer needed substances to cope. Her pain and anxiety gave way to hope and ambition.
The idea that men and women can be free of their need for alcohol and drugs was foundational to General William Booth's vision for The Salvation Army. In east London, he encountered devastating stories of men, women, and even children who were enslaved to alcohol. His heart broke for them. He committed his life and energy to helping redeem the lives of these people that he loved.
Now, over 150 years later, The Salvation Army continues to fight for those people, like Anita, who are held captive by drug and alcohol addiction. Our Adult Rehabilitation Centers and other residential rehabilitation programs help hundreds of men and women rebuild their lives each year. By providing group counseling and work therapy opportunities, individuals awaken to the purpose and worth that they inherently have. Some are even able to find redemption for their relationships with family and friends.
But, we also work to prevent these addictions from ever being able to capture young people when they are most vulnerable. Our work in afterschool programs, at summer camp, and other youth programs that we provide all emphasize the importance of making good choices and forming healthy relationships with others. We help them to focus on life goals, knowing that such a focus helps orient their lives in a positive direction.
Our belief in the redeeming power of God is also the reason why we pray for those struggling against addiction. We pray for families and their circumstances. We pray that children find purpose and strength. We ask God to protect all of the people with which we work.
And we realize that we, ourselves, may be the answer to someone's prayer. The Salvation Army, our people, our volunteers and supporters may provide exactly the firm foundation that someone needs to get back on their feet.
We may be the way that God chooses to help set someone free.