Following a normal childhood, Josh got married and chose a career in the Marine Corp. His military aspirations were cut short when his wife became ill and he had to take a hardship discharge after only two and one half years of service. Back home, two children were added to the family, and Josh began to exercise his musical talents with some area musicians. He began to drink as a way to fit in with the band, not realizing where it would take him. After 13 years, his social drinking had grown into full blown alcoholism, and it ended up costing him his family.
Carmen was born into a family where drugs and alcohol were the norm. Her parents decided they did not want children, so both her and her sister were dumped on relatives. She experienced rape at 14, the birth and death of a premature baby out of wedlock at 18, alcohol and drug abuse, and a failed marriage. At one point, she almost ended her own life, but with the barrel of a gun in her mouth, she thought of the loving aunt that had done her best to raise her and decided she could not bear the thought of hurting her.
Both Josh and Carmen wanted a better life, but Josh was fighting bouts of alcoholism, and while Carmen went back to school, she continually fought with low self-esteem and depression from her past. They ended up going to the same church where they met and eventually married. but their early years together were not idyllic.
Josh became the parent of Carmen’s two children, and while she was growing as a mother and holding down a job, Josh’s struggle with the bottle was ongoing. He went to multiple rehabs, and Carmen finally gave him an ultimatum. Stop drinking or they were done.
Josh entered rehab with a fresh resolve. He loved his wife and family and fought for them against his alcoholism. His musical abilities allowed him to become the worship leader in rehab, but he left the program after only three months. He felt it was his place to provide for Carmen and the kids. They were struggling on her one income, while living with her aunt.
Because Carmen’s aunt was not on board with allowing Josh to move in, he had to swallow a lot of pride and come to the Haven of Rest to check into the men’s dorm. He went about finding a job to help his family and within days he had a good paying factory job. That along with Carmen’s job at a doctor’s office provided them enough income to sustain them, but they needed help while they saved for deposits and rent.
Josh found out that one of the houses the Haven uses to minister to homeless families was unoccupied, so Josh and Carmen applied for housing. As Carmen likes to relate now, there was some skepticism on the part of the Haven staff that they would be able to successfully move forward based upon their history.
The staff’s concerns seemed justified when two days after moving in, Carmen lost her job at the doctor’s office. While that was a tremendous let down, two days later God led Carmen to a new job making $4.00 more per hour at an area health facility.
Over the next three months, Josh and Carmen did all the right things. They worked their primary jobs, along with additional part-time jobs, volunteered at the Haven to give back, got firmly established in a local church, saved money, and stayed clean. After 90 days, they were ready to face life on their own.
Josh has been sober for over a year. Carmen has been promoted to lead a department at her place of work. They have sustainable housing, a second car, and are actively involved in their church. Together they credit the Haven as being the critical piece that allowed them to succeed.
They both are very thankful for their time at the Haven and what it has allowed them to do. The Haven gave them food and shelter, helped them save so they could be self-supporting, gave Carmen time to establish herself in her job, and allowed Josh to get sober and reconnect with his family.
“I thought I would hate living in the Haven dorm, but it wasn’t what I expected and I loved it!”, Josh recalls. “Everything we experienced at the Haven was good!”
Josh and Carmen are thankful to donors, staff, and residents for the hand up that has changed their life.