Dennis’ Story of Transformation

Now I’m Ready to Live

“I surrendered my whole life to God that day. I surrendered everything.”

Dennis was just 16 when he learned how brutal life on the streets can be.
He was hanging out with some hardcore drug dealers who had found an addict who owed them money. When the guy couldn’t pay, they secretly put battery acid into his syringe. When he shot up, he died a gruesome death, eyes rolled back and foaming at the mouth. Dennis, horrified, ran away.

“I’m 52 now, and I’ve never forgotten that man’s face,” he says.

But it wasn’t enough of a deterrent for Dennis, who would become an addict himself — to crack cocaine and alcohol — for the next 35 years. He started using drugs because he thought it was cool. “I just wanted to be apart of that crowd,” he says. And then he couldn’t quit.He would crash wherever he could, with friends and family members. But sometimes, he wound up living
on the streets.

“You get dirty out there,” Dennis says. “Your personal hygiene changes, and you stink. Your eating habits change. You eat whatever’s available, even if you have to eat out of the garbage bin. I used to hang out behind a restaurant and wait for them to throw food away at the end of the night. Now I’m Ready to Live”

“I’d sleep wherever I could. Abandoned cars, the park, hospital waiting rooms. But you’re never safe when you’re sleeping. You can get beat up or even killed. I can’t imagine living on the streets anymore . . .” Fortunately, he doesn’t have to. About a year ago, Dennis decided he couldn’t live like that anymore. “I cried out to God,” he says. “I just hollered, ‘Help me, Jesus!’” Dennis found Atlanta Mission online, and thought it sounded like the best place for him to turn things around. When he arrived, he was told he would have to give up his pack of cigarettes . . . or come back in 30 days.

Dennis had a decision to make. He gave up his smokes. “When I surrendered my cigarettes, I also surrendered my whole life to God. I surrendered everything.” Dennis has been clean and sober since that day, and is taking great strides toward re-entering life outside Atlanta Mission. Or, as he sees it, experiencing life — real, vibrant life — for the first time. “God is preparing me to live the rest of my life,” he says. “For 52 years, the only thing I’ve done is exist. Now I’m ready to live.”

Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness and generosity. The lives of men, women, and children are being transformed every day at Atlanta Mission. Thank you for your continued support!

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