Adam Mathis, age 29, grew up in the Baltimore area and moved to Stewartstown, PA at age 10. “When I was 15 years old, my parents divorced and I went to live with my Dad,” says Adam. “I was very uncomfortable with their divorce and I started dealing with my pain by drinking. I would find bottles in the house and drink them.
“I graduated from high school and starting doing odd jobs here and there. I would do things like stacking lumber. I was never able to keep a job for more than 6 months – I always got fired or laid off. I felt like I was in a rut and I was just digging deeper and could never find my way out.
“I realized that I had the ability to drink more than most people could handle – I thought it was cool. I would drink a whole bottle of my Dad’s liquor and fill it back up with iced tea thinking that he wouldn’t know. He would confront me, and even though I was visibly drunk, I would still deny it.
“I used to go into bars and when people would turn their head, I would quickly drink their drink. My friends were always amazed because I would go into the bar with no money and come out drunk.
“When I was 23 years old, my Dad got remarried and we moved to Parkville, MD. There was a lot of tension between my stepmom and I because all she saw of me was a drunk. She and my father got married at 9 in the morning and, by 10 am, I was so unbelievably drunk that I was kicked off of the beach. I had a 10 year old Stepbrother and my Stepmom was scared of him being exposed to my drinking. I was never violent but, when I drank I would become unbelievably belligerent and say stupid things I didn’t mean. A year after they were married, my Dad and Stepmom couldn’t take my behavior anymore so they gave me rent money to live in an apartment across the street from their house.
“Every day I would wake up and find money to get some type of buzz. In 2011, my Dad started looking online for a place to send me. He knew that I read the Bible and that I was into archeology. He saw that Pastor Gary Byers at Helping Up Mission was an archeologist. Having no other options, I decided to give the Mission a try.
“It didn’t take me long to start making friends at the Mission. I progressed through the phases of the Spiritual Recovery Program and was approaching the Life Prep phase. I started drinking on the weekends. I told myself that it wasn’t a problem because I wasn’t drinking that much. Things got bad quickly. I would stay out all night and wasn’t able to compose myself enough to come back to the Mission till the next afternoon because I was so drunk. One day I came back to the Mission with alcohol in my system and was not able to slip by unnoticed. Because of the Mission’s no drugs or alcohol policy, I had to leave.
“I went to my buddy’s house and stayed there for a while but after a week he told me I had to go tell my Dad. My Dad let me move back in and I stayed there to wait till enough time had passed for me to be able to come back to Helping Up Mission.
“My Dad drove me back to the Mission four months after I had left and, when he dropped me off, he was crying. That really touched me! He told me that he wanted me to find help. Then he said something that really got my attention: ‘You’re always reading the Bible, why don’t you try living it!’ I realized at that moment what a hypocrite I had been.
“After I had been back at Helping Up Mission about three and a half months, I knew that I wanted to go to Bible College. My counselor encouraged me to give it a shot but I doubted myself because I had failed everything I ever tried. I started applying to colleges but they always needed money 0or things I didn’t have. At that same time, Faith Theological Seminary in Towson got in touch with Pastor Gary Byers and asked him to teach a class. He told them that he had two guys at the Mission that wanted to enroll in the seminary and they waived a bunch of fees and helped me to get grant money.
“I graduated from Helping Up Mission’s Spiritual Recovery Program in December 2012 and I’m now in my fourth semester at Faith Theological Seminary!
“After the first semester, the seminary contacted me and let me know that they would like for me to work part time in their library. In exchange, they would pay my housing fees to live in Helping Up Mission’s transitional housing. I appreciated the confidence that they had in me!
“I would like to continue my studies and get a master’s degree and eventually a doctorate. I’m not exactly sure where this will lead but I would like to consider teaching.
“My Dad and my Stepmom say they are proud of me all of the time. This year I wasn’t drunk on Thanksgiving and actually got to enjoy the day with them – they even asked me to say the blessing before our Thanksgiving dinner!
“I feel like I Corinthians 2:9 sums up my life, ‘However, as it is written: What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the thing God has prepared for those who love Him.’ I never thought I’d be here going to Bible college and be able to learn all that I am learning. I am truly blessed and I thank God every day!”