Just One Set of Footprints

“Trials and tests have made me a better person. They are tests, not temptations.”

While serving in the U.S. Army, Harold began drinking and smoking marijuana to try to fit in with military life. He grew up quick in the service, becoming a Colonel’s driver and exiting as a Sergeant. “I left to avoid being caught using drugs.” Harold rejoined the Army as a reservist but was asked to leave because of his excessive drinking.

Even with a wife and son, Harold began using crack cocaine. When his wife kicked him out, he moved to Houston to start over with his mother. Eventually, Harold achieved four years’ clean and sober but continued to battle his addictions and it was not until his 12th treatment center that he had a light bulb moment. “It’s scarier to remain the same. Everything pointed back to me. Time to be honest. I could not use drugs and alcohol successfully.”

Back in the St. Louis area, Harold found himself homeless. He “faced his selfishness” and came to St. Patrick Center and our Job Readiness Training classes. St. Patrick Center hired Harold as a peer support specialist. “I can understand another veteran who is an alcoholic. He or she will tell me things they won’t tell others because of my background.”

Harold enjoys his three grandchildren and is building a relationship with his son. Working at St. Patrick Center, Harold has found an opportunity to give back. “Learning to deal with people like me strengthens my faith in people, which has strengthened my faith in God.”​

When Harold looks back on his journey, he believes he is the living embodiment of the “Footprints in the Sand” poem. “God provided for me when I was at my lowest….He carried me in His arms.”

Published April 19, 2021