“I had to forgive myself”

Alvin Ray White served his country as an Army communications specialist from 1978-1979. “We have three generations of service- me, my brother, and my dad were Army, my other brother was Navy, and I have a son who is a Marine.” Mr. White enlisted right after high school. He married his high sweetheart and had a son while in the Army. “My eldest son had his first surgery just hours after he was born.”

I was given a discharge because of my son’s health problems. It was hard, but we were blessed to have him until he was in his thirties, a lot longer than expected.”

Mr. White and his wife grew up in Louisiana and, after their marriage, lived in Natchitoches. They eventually both worked at a local poultry plant. “We hit a bad spot about five years into our marriage. She began seeing another man and eventually took my son and left. And I took to the bottle.” The couple reunited, the drinking stopped, and they had their second son, Alvin Jr. “I forgave her. We became active in our church, and I thought things were going great. But it happened again.”

The pattern repeated. His wife came back, he forgave her, they had a third child, and things looked good. “When my wife left the last time, she told me not to try and find her. I was upset, had doubts about everything, including God, and fell away from the church. I started drinking again and smoking pot.  I moved to Little Rock because I knew I needed help. After treatment through the VA, I came to St. Francis House.” Mr. White did well at St. Francis House and eventually graduated from the program. Then his eldest son died, his mother became ill, and the COVID shut-down hit. “I started drinking and smoking again. I quit taking care of my finances because I couldn’t be evicted or have things turned off. Finally, I came to myself and realized I couldn’t do this anymore. I called the VA.”

Mr. White completed a program at the VA, but when he was looking for a place to go next, he didn’t want to come back to St. Francis House. “I tried everywhere else, but everything was full. I tried to get on the therapeutic work program, but they said I couldn’t work. When my caseworker said I had to come here, I was mad. I had heard that things had changed, and I didn’t want to be here. But God had other plans.”

Mr. White came to St. Francis House. He’s now a Veteran representative and is doing very well. “This is where God wanted me. The twelve steps helped me forgive my wife, the men involved, and most importantly, myself for allowing it to happen. “

Mr. White has lots of plans for the future. He is hoping to go to Pulaski Tech for a culinary degree. “I’m still concerned about my mom. I’m estranged from my daughter, but I’m still very close to my  son, and I want to spend time with my grandkids. Eventually, my big dream,  I would love to go to Bible College. Maybe I can help someone like people have helped me.”