Billy served six years as a Green Beret in Special Intelligence. During his time in the military, he married his high school sweetheart, and they had two children together. Military life made it hard for Billy to spend much time at home. In fact, the longest stay they had together was three months long. He never used drugs during his time in the military. When it came time to reenlist, he did not. “I left the military thinking I was disgraced,” said Billy. Within six months of being out of the military, Billy’s life spiraled out of control. He was a full-blown drug addict, divorced, and married to a topless stripper.
Billy kept sinking deeper and deeper into darkness. He was arrested for forgery and burglary, which was how he funded his drug addiction. While in county jail he broke out but was recaptured. The prison escape, along with his other charges, landed him a 25-year sentence. Billy defined himself as “naïve” when he went to prison. That did not last long in that dark place.
In 2006, Billy was released from prison. It would be great to say Billy found God in prison, but he only found ‘jailhouse religion.’ His life continued to be plagued with ups and downs. In 2011, Billy came to terms with himself that he had a drug problem. In 2014, his heart softened toward Jesus, but he described himself as “playing church.” A blessing came in 2016 when he received help through the VA. They diagnosed him with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. That is also when he found out that he was honorably discharged and awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Ribbon.
The battle within Billy did not end after his diagnosis and finding out he received an honorable discharge. Thankfully, three men believed in and cared for Billy enough not to let him give up on himself. Billy said, “I’m thankful for the men who didn’t give up on me. God has changed me.”
“My Amazing Grace moment is that somebody believed in me enough and thought I was worth saving,” said Billy. “All my life I’ve been afraid of who I am. I always thought and believed I never was enough.” Billy is a former Green Beret, and people would never perceive that he has any fear. “All that bad boy stuff was me being afraid of me,” shared Billy. While participating in the New Beginnings program at Faith Mission, Billy has learned God made him the way he is and he is accepted by God. He also receives counseling at Catholic Charities, where he discovered that many of his decisions came from fear; mainly the fear of not being accepted. “I believe the homeless are afraid and that’s why they do what they do,” said Billy.
Billy’s struggles are not over, but part of the way he is overcoming his obstacles is speaking to homeless men in chapel. “Sometimes I see the light in their eyes when I talk about how I feel that people are out to get me when they really are not,” said Billy. “Or I tell them that I was afraid of rejection.” Billy is still seeking God and attending counseling so that he can write new chapters of success and victory in his life. Please pray with us that Billy allows God to renew his mind continually.