Where to Turn When Religion Lets You Down

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It wasn’t long ago that David Coon, a once reputable high-tech specialist, was wandering the streets of New York homeless. “I had only the clothes on my back and $2 in my wallet,” he remembers.

David spent his life chasing success, and it cost him everything. “I had burned every bridge with my kids, my ex-wife, I had no one to turn to,” he shares. He had climbed quickly at his high-tech construction job. He worked long and hard, driven by the need to be the best. As he states, “The pressure to excel…the opportunity to get it right like no one else can. I wanted, more than anything, to be successful.”

The achievements not only filled his wallet, they fed his ego. “I was always able to outthink, outsmart, out-do. I would consider myself to be the most intelligent person in the room at any given time,” he says.

In just a few years, David had a prominent spot in management. He also married and a son. But there were problems. What started with the occasional drink after work became an all-consuming addiction. “Alcohol,” he says, “ended up controlling every aspect of my life from ‘when could I get my next drink?’ ‘How much could I drink until I blacked out?’ I organized my budget on what the next week looked like based on how much I can drink.”

Driven to find even more success, he took on out-of-state assignments. But life on the road only gave him more opportunity to feed his addiction. He explains, “I thought that traveling and being on the road and focusing on work and focusing on money would give me my ultimate prize, the brass ring, whatever you want to call it, but it led to a lot of solitude because I had to do a lot of my drinking by myself because I drank to excess. I drank to where I was blacked out and nobody wants to hang out with that guy.”

While on the road, David began seeing another woman. Soon after, his wife discovered his affair and divorced him. “I knew I had destroyed a perfectly good marriage,” he shares. “I knew that I wasn’t emotionally or physically there for my son.” Then, his work started to decline, and he was put on notice. Still, he was convinced he could figure things out on his own. “I could think my way out of the problem, I could get over on somebody to just keep on pushing along,” he says.

Then, after a day of drinking, he blacked out behind the wheel of his car. He woke up in jail, facing several felony charges for causing an accident and assaulting the arresting officers. Finally, David realized that he needed help.
“I was becoming somebody that I’d never intended to be – a bad father, a bad husband, an alcoholic,” he shares. “I couldn’t think my way out of this one.”

Because he had no priors, the judge released him. Soon after, his company let him go. With no place to call home and no money to his name, he walked the streets of New York, eventually taking shelter under a train bridge. “I was a mess,” he describes. “I was muddy. I was cold, I was tired, I was hungry, and for the first time in my life people were looking at me like I was scum.”

David was never more alone, or so he thought. “This kid,” he says, “comes up and he couldn’t have been more than 17 or 18 years old and asked me why I was sleeping on a bench in a rainstorm when the mission was right around the corner. He led me to the door of the city mission of Schenectady at about ten minutes to midnight. He brought me in and said, ‘This guy needs your help.’ And he disappeared, and I’ve never seen him since.”

It was then David realized the mission was more than a shelter. It was a sanctuary. As he describes, “I felt like I was safe, I knew that I was safe, but not only that my desire for alcohol was lifted immediately. And this was before I said word one to anybody, before they said word one to me. I know in my heart of hearts that that was the hand of God that led me there because I needed that.

David stood humbled by God’s act of love. For the first time in his life, he realized just how much he needed God. And soon after, he committed his life to Jesus Christ.

To this day, he is amazed by the miraculous healing. “I wrecked people’s lives,” he shares. “I stole their joy, but God had a plan for me. He showed me true humility – true self-less-ness rather than selfish-ness.”

Soon after completing a rehab program with the shelter, David moved to New Mexico and joined the Albuquerque Rescue Mission as the head of construction and maintenance. He has also reconciled with his family and recently remarried. He thanks God every day for the chance to live with true humility. He describes, “I’m most thankful every single day for him giving me my life, allowing me to, by his grace and mercy, to redeem that life, and giving me a chance to be a good son, a good husband and a good father. I put my faith in him, not in myself.”

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