HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Five men and four women begin a new way of life after their graduation ceremony on Tuesday evening. Their diplomas mean they have completed the yearlong, faith-based, residential recovery program at the Downtown Rescue Mission.
Shelia Similton broke a 20-year addiction to drugs through the program.
"It's been a struggle, a long struggle, but God let me make it," Similton said.
The Downtown Rescue Mission's program opened a gateway to grace for her.
"This will be my first graduation and I am so excited, so excited," Similton said. "I graduated with honors from God."
Andy Toles lived under the same roof at the mission. He lost a number of his own battles, but now he is winning the war.
"I enjoyed drinking to a professional level," Toles said. "I'm very grateful to God and to the Mission for where I'm at now."
Sometimes it takes losing everything to gain eternal salvation.
"I had been sober for like two years and then started to drink again," Toles said. "Then, within nine months, everything was gone: job, family."
Now Toles and Similton are turning a page to a new chapter of opportunities.
"I just get a chance to come home with my family and at one time my family didn't want me," Similton said. "I've been at Denny's now for two months and I have saved a lot of money."
The Downtown Rescue Mission is always accepting new clients for the recovery program. The nonprofit runs on financial support from the community. If you would like to sow into the success of this program, you can find more information on the mission's website: donate.downtownrescuemission.org.