Disciple House Gives Young Man Hope
Four years ago Sean Smith of Conroe felt he had nothing to live for and with no hope he pretty much did not believe in anything or anybody, not even God.
Because of his alcohol addiction, Smith was released from the Marines a month before his contract was up. He was dropped off in front of a military base with his belongings on the streets in California.
“I had a pretty bad drinking problem before joining the Marines and after I joined I still drank every chance I could. I ended up in rehab, where I stayed sober for six months, but eventually the alcohol caught up with me again, and the Marine Corps at this point was done with me,” Smith said.
Finding his way back to Texas, Smith’s life continued to spiral out of control. His parents were done with him and he began living in hotels drinking liters of vodka every day. It was at this point the former Marine became suicidal.
“I was hospitalized but I walked back to the hotel so I could start drinking my alcohol. I took a handful of sleeping pills and washed them with the rest of the vodka I had stashed up. I did not want to wake up; I wanted it to be over. It did not work and I believe there was a reason for this,” he said.
With a failed suicide attempt, Smith decided to call a family friend, Chris Follett, director of InnerFaith Disciple House in Grangerland. Knowing all too well the personal struggle with drug addiction, Follett started the organization in 2011 to help men 18 and older who are dealing with drug and alcohol addictions or simply down on their luck.
After Smith made the call, Follett was able to get him into the house the next day. Follett explained that the Interfaith Disciple House is not a rehab program for drugs and alcohol but a discipleship program.
“They (men) stay here for six months, it is mandatory. If they choose to leave they can, but they are not allowed to come back. They are voluntary signing up to stay here for six months under our supervision,” he said.
“When they call me up I tell them they must be willing to start over completely and give their heart to the Lord, which is what you can do here, this is a discipleship program. I do not tell them they are required to accept Jesus but we definitely encourage them to do so.”
The average age of the men participating in the program is between 25 and 35. There are a few, said Follett that are younger.
Currently the house can take up to 10 men and he is hoping to expand the ministry in the future. The organization has helped more than 300 men since its inception and approximately 42 have completed the program.
“Not everyone stays for the mandatory six months; it is a very structured and strict program, so some choose not to stay. But the ones that do are our proud graduates,” Follett said.
When they complete the program, the men go out to the “Old Man Graveyard,” a place on Innerfaith’s property where graduates can bury their lifestyle of drugs and alcohol.
Follett added how the process helps to remind graduates they are a new creation in Christ and will not return to their old lifestyle. After finishing the program, the men are allowed to move into the organization’s transitional house, an opportunity for them to get back on their feet financially.
Smith is one of those proud graduates and credits the disciple house in helping him get to the root of his problems. Before coming to the disciple house, he was an atheist, rejecting any type of higher power.
“When I left on May 8th 2013, I truly felt reborn, being at the disciple house gave me hope for the future; hope that I could actually make something out of myself,” he said.“Eventually I noticed I was happy for no apparent reason and I had not been happy in a longtime. Reading the bible every morning and going to the bible studies was working.”
Upon graduating Smith began looking for jobs. He found employment with the United Parcel Service (UPS) and also got a second job with Montgomery County Emergency Assistance. Despite having a job, his life still was not easy and Smith was barely able to pay his bills.
“I was working my butt off just to survive and there was a few times I was tested, but I would not drink, I didn’t do it and I kept praying and working,” he said.
Eventually he worked his way up to a driver’s position and things were beginning to turn around. He met a young lady and six months later they were married. He and his wife welcomed their first daughter in March and in June the couple bought their first house.
“My life would completely be different had it not been for Innerfaith Disciple House leading me to God,” he said.