I don’t think of myself as anyone or anything particularly special; I’m just me- a normal human being (well… somewhat normal 🙂). But every once in a great while, something happens where we have a heightened sense of self and a heightened sense of purpose- an “a- ha moment”, if you will. Well, finally at 24 years old, I had my a- ha moment, and in the most bizarre place I ever thought I’d have that moment.
Two weeks ago, I was out with my boyfriend and one of his coworkers for dinner and some good conversation. While it wasn’t my first or favorite choice to go to a bar, we all agreed to meet there. We ate delicious food, and we were having a grand ol’ time, but I had to excuse myself so I could step outside just to get a break from the noise. While I was standing out there, looking at the moon, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a guy was kind of looking at me. At first, I thought nothing of it, until he started a conversation about the writing on my hoodie. Little did I know this conversation would be one of the most humbling experiences of my life…
Now, living in the country where I do and also the distance the man was standing from me, I could see how he could’ve been mistaken as to what my sweatshirt actually said- I was wearing a faith FACtORY sweatshirt that said, “Protected by Smith & Wilson” and “Faith Factory”.
“I like your Smith & Wilson hoodie!”, he said.
Slightly surprised, I looked down at my sweatshirt, temporarily forgetting what I was wearing. “Oh! Actually it says, “Protected by Smith & Wilson”, I replied.
Looking very puzzled, he asked what Smith & Wilson was, he assumed it was a different gun brand, as well as what faith FACtORY was. I explained to him who Smith & Wilson were and what faith FACtORY is. He was truly interested in everything I had to say about it, which was pretty awesome! I definitely ended up talking his ear off about our brand, but believe me, it was so very worth it.
After I finished my spiel, he took a deep breath and said, “hey it’s pretty amazing what you guys do.” I thanked him and told him it was the greatest job in the world, but I could tell there was more he wanted to say. He was a man with troubles on his mind. We stood in silence for a few minutes, and just as I was thinking about going back inside, he spoke again.
“You know, I’ve kind of been thinking about getting help… I’ve been told I drink too much and I’m starting to think so too.”
I was shocked… A complete stranger was talking to me about a very very personal and vulnerable topic. He continued on saying that he felt like he was unhappy unless he was drinking and how he felt like he couldn’t get through a day without it, and that his longest stretch of not drinking was three days. He took another deep breath and I could tell by the break in his voice that he was about to cry… He said his wife no longer wanted to be around him and neither did his young daughters, because of his drinking…
I began to tell him that a happy, meaningful life is absolutely possible without alcohol! That he can get back the things that he felt he was about to lose.
“I don’t know how to start or where to go”, he admitted.
“Dude, you already took the first and most important step- you recognized and admitted that there’s a problem. That’s like, the hardest thing to do. And to a stranger, no less! By just doing that, I can tell that you want to get better.”
“More than anything”, he said.
I told him about Rogers Memorial Hospital and their amazing addiction rehabilitation program, as I know quite a few people who have gone there and come out on the other side. He smiled and thanked me and asked if he could give me his phone number for when he was ready or if he had any questions. Normally, I wouldn’t give my phone number out to a complete stranger but in this situation, I was more than happy to. We said our goodbyes and I turned around to go back inside, expecting him to be right behind me. Turns out, he wasn’t- he was walking back to his truck. He made the conscious choice to not go back inside for another drink. I instantly got this almost warm feeling inside…
Fast forward to last week, I got a call last week from an unknown number. But something in the back of my mind told me to answer… It was the guy from the bar! He told me that he had checked himself into a rehab center and wanted to let me know that “our conversation gave him that last kick in the pants he needed and that when he talked to his wife about it, she was 100% behind his decision.” My eyes welled up right away and I congratulated him. We ended the short phone call and then it hit me… I am finally doing what I’m meant to do. I am finally where I belong.
This story has already become way longer than I meant it to be, so I’m going to cap it off at this:
Working for faith FACtORY has truly given me a purpose. Spreading faith, hope, mental health awareness, spirituality and sobriety is the most amazing thing I have ever or could ever do. They have always been topics that are very near and dear to me but never as much as they are now. What happened that night at the bar was an experience I will never forget, and one that I will forever be grateful for and humbled by. It just goes to show that when we reach out to others, anything can happen! Not to mention that recovery (of any sort) can be found in the most unlikely of places.