“Please God, give me strength”

Roderick Brown served in the Marines from 1981-1985 as a communications technician and mechanic. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton and later at Kaneohe Bay and deployed three times in the Pacific Rim. After leaving the Marine Corps, he continued working with the military as a civilian employee at Coronado Island. He later worked with Tidewater supplying offshore oil rigs, and then with Maritime Sealift Command, a civilian supplier working under the Dept. of the Navy.

“I grew up here in Little Rock and North Little Rock. I was an athlete and a good student. But I started drinking early. It never seemed to be a problem.” said Mr. Brown. “I drank all through the military, and no one seemed to think it was a problem. I was disciplined three times during my whole working life, sent to rehab, and even then no one seemed to think it was a problem. I got out and went back to work. Sometimes I’d be given tough, even dangerous jobs when they knew I was under the influence, but they trusted my work anyway. Even when my drinking went from a happy thing to a necessary thing, I didn’t think it was a problem.”

Mr. Brown’s wake-up call came one morning when he awakened in his living room surrounded by empty liquor bottles to the sound of police walkie-talkies. “My wife was worried and had called the police. I realized later she had been gone for about a week.”

“That was when I prayed “God, please give me the strength… deliver me from this pain and darkness,” and He answered my prayer with the Substance Abuse program at Ft. Roots and St. Francis House.”

Mr. Brown completed his substance abuse treatment and came to St. Francis House a week ago. He’s found a home AA group and gotten a sponsor. “I always snubbed my nose at getting a sponsor, but I know now that you need the help of someone who has been through the same thing you’re going through. Someone to help provide advice and structure. I also realized that the very first step is recognizing you’re powerless over alcohol; I never believed that before. Now I know it’s true.” Mr. Brown is looking for a job and ready to move on to whatever life brings. “Just waking up clean and sober is a blessing. God will help me as long as I do my part.”

His advice to Veterans- “Know there is always someone out there who loves you and has prayers for you.”

Mr. Brown also had some words for our staff and donors- “Thank you, thank you, thank you! St. Francis House is my roots; you’re helping me grow. You people are heaven sent and I mean that from the bottom of my heart!”