Journey Over the Troubled Water
Nearing completion of a six-month in house, six-month out of house rehabilitation program at Keaton Rehab Center in 2019, he had already taken the first step toward recovery. But he knew he needed continued support upon leaving Keaton. “Some people return to families,” he notes, but his parents had passed away a few years ago, and his family had pushed each other away. He decided to continue his recovery at Bright Bridge Ministries after seeing our pamphlets at Keaton. It was everything he needed. “I didn’t think you could find a family this close that wasn’t your blood,” He says.
Already a man of faith, he felt Bright Bridge was the right fit to remind him of his purpose and encourage him to stay on the right path. This path, he admits, can be “hard to change into because we were believing a lie that we were fine. You have to admit that you were powerless to alcohol or drugs, and that it takes a higher power to restore you.” he also appreciates that Bright Bridge has no time limit for its programs. “They realize that some people don’t have families. I’ve had to lean on the church, and God has shown me that he’s got you covered,” he says.
Amazed at the positive impacts on his personal life that trickled down from his continued recovery at Bright Bridge, Devon says, “I went from being in the gutter to bouncing back into the community, and giving back to help others like I couldn’t have before.” Devon has a seven-year-old son whose mother is now struggling with addictions; since Devon’s recovery, he has obtained custody of his son. He says, “My recovery has played into this huge picture that I never would’ve thought was possible.”
Reflecting on what he has learned from the Celebrate Recovery program at Bright Bridge, Devon cites 1st Corinthians 10:12 as a message that really stuck with him, “If you think you’re standing firm, be careful you don’t fall; don’t get complacent; remember who’s giving you strength.”he
Building and Growing a Career
When at Keaton, he became employed in a construction project putting together an assisted living home on Davis Highway. He was responsible for operating the forklift and paying attention to safety around heavy equipment.
After he had entered into the next phase of his recovery at Bright Bridge, he also entered into a new phase of his career, applying his construction background to a marine construction project building the Pensacola Bay Bridge. Recent storms had broken the barges off. He was part of the crew setting the structure together as the pieces came out of the precast yard.
When asked about his favorite things about his new job, he says, “The camaraderie, the fellowship. I enjoy the crew I’m on, the bond we have.” He says he has learned a lot working with this crew. He also says he takes pride in his work, as embodied by an anecdote from when Hurricane Sally hit, and someone was needed to go out on a tugboat and retrieve a barge before it damaged the bridge. “It was a scary thing,” he said, “The Coast Guard said don’t go out because they couldn’t rescue anyone — it was that bad. I volunteered because I wanted to help that much.” From building the bridge, to working on the tugboat to move the barges in place, he says he enjoyed it all.
Leading by Example - Inspiring Others
He reflects on the amazing love Pastor Robin has put into Bright Bridge Ministries, with Keith Cobb and Tom Ingram as examples of two men who have progressed through the program and are now giving back and helping out with the program themselves. “They will bend over backwards, but they know how to discern who is serious,” he says of the staff at Bright Bridge, “…I’ve seen some of the wrongs they’ve put up with from people who weren’t there to get sober. But they still do it out of the kindness of their hearts, in hopes it will lead them to the next try. Pastor Robin still keeps that lovely smile on her face, and Keith puts his arms around you.” Appreciative of everything Bright Bridge has done for him, he wishes to give back to the program, as did Keith and Tom. “They’re role models,” he says, “They lead by example.”
He sees Bright Bridge as vital to fighting the war on drugs. “The one way we can fight back is from the inside out,” he says, It’s a battle within the person themselves when they have a chance to turn away from it; it takes everything from you… I survived, and I’m going strong.”