John's Story

John was addicted. He first tried crack cocaine in 1983, the summer he graduated from high school. His future seemed to evaporate like the smoke from the lit crack pipe. Highly addictive, crack cocaine became his first priority in life. For the next 27 years John battled addiction. His life consisted of moving from one menial job to another and getting high. At age 45, John had nothing. He moved between the homes of friends and family, sleeping on couches when they would let him. Other nights he checked into a shelter.

He tried many rehabilitation programs in the D.C. area and quit using drugs several times. But getting back with the same old crowd, he wasn’t able to stay clean for very long. He knew he had to kick the addiction for good, or the consequence could be his life.

Desperate, he felt his only hope was to find a treatment program outside of D.C. Having been in and out of Samaritan Ministry’s Next Step Program several times during his long struggle with addiction, John returned for support. Using the computers at Samaritan Ministry, John discovered a rehabilitation center in Denver that admitted people from out of state. The program was free. John was determined to find the money for the bus fare.

John’s Samaritan Ministry caseworker gave him names of organizations and churches that might help pay for the $167 trip. John contacted several, but only found resources to pay for half of the ticket. Determined, John went door to door in his old neighborhood recounting his story and asking for help. He found his guardian angel.

The woman wanted to help but wasn’t sure John was telling the truth. He suggested she check with the caseworker at Samaritan Ministry to confirm that his plans were true. Once satisfied, the woman bought John’s ticket, prepared two sack lunches for the 28-hour trip and gave him Metro bus tokens to reach the Denver-bound bus.

Two days later, the intake coordinator from the Denver rehab center called Samaritan Ministry. John was there. He would enter detox that day. The coordinator also called his guardian angel. John wanted her to thank her.

John will spend the next six months in rehab. And, we hope, spend the rest of his life drug-free.

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