“I knew that I had to do something because it looked like my world was just falling apart.” Victor with Major Doug Stearns of The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center

“I knew that I had to do something because it looked like my world was just falling apart.”

Although he lost his father when he was just a young boy, Victor was blessed with a happy childhood in a loving, Christian household. His life changed when, as a teenager, he began to experiment with drugs. For the next 47 years, drugs and addiction ruled his life.

“I went through every institution that was in Indiana,” Victor tells of his years as an addict. “I was in and out of prisons. I’ve been shot, stabbed, in hospitals. When I was incarcerated I still didn’t stop using drugs. I was still looking for drugs. I was on probation, parole – still didn’t stop me. It was just something that I couldn’t overcome.”

HLCEventually, Victor lost everything that was good in his life. “I found myself trapped in a make-believe world of feelings instead of reality,” he recalls, “Feelings that cost me my health, my freedom, my life, my family, my children, my spouse, my respect, my dignity.”

Victor didn’t know much about The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center when he walked through the doors in 2013, but for the first time he was determined to find a path to sobriety. Transitional Housing Coordinator William Clayton met Victor that first day. “He was tired,” William describes, “Tired of that life, tired of being downtrodden, down and out, and he came to the center looking for help. He was looking for hope and needed some hope.”

Victor aHope is exactly what Victor found at the Harbor Light Center. After going through detox, he began the recovery program, learning about the disease of addiction and tools he could use to stay clean. Most importantly, for the first time since he was a boy Victor found himself letting God into his life.

“I knew of God, but I didn’t know about God. Once I turned myself over to God and started reading the Bible, it was like everything was possible. It was like God showed me another light, another way of looking at the world. Everything just started making sense.”

Today, Victor is a changed man. Sober for almost two years, he’s taken on additional responsibilities at the Harbor Light Center as a Residential Assistant and spends his days encouraging new clients and acting as a pillar of strength for those in need of support.

William smiles at the man whose transformation he witnessed first-hand. “Today I see a man who is full of hope.”

(Hear more of Victor’s story on our February 22, 2015 podcast of the weekly Red Shield Radio program.)