Surrendering to Peace


Offering peace, recovery and counseling, The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) are home to men and women of various backgrounds who have simply lost their way in life. Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Bogdan*, a native of Bulgaria and an ARC resident at The Salvation Army of Chicago Illinois with an amazing life story.

Growing up under an oppressive Bulgarian government in the 1970’s, Bogdan was always treated differently because he was Macedonian. After two years with the military, he struggled to find someone to hire him because of his background. Fleeing Bulgaria after a brief brush with the law, Bogdan reconnected with relatives in Macedonia who helped him apply for the United Nations.

“I was sent to America where I was supposed to have a sponsor but when I showed up at the Salt Lake City, UT airport, no one was there to meet me”, he said.

Sleeping under a bridge in downtown Salt Lake City, Bogdan met a homeless professor who helped him sort out his identification issues and connected him to a temp agency. He worked for several years at upscale hotels in Salt Lake City.

In 1989, Bogdan learned by letter from his sister that his father was killed by communists. Because of his arrangement with United Nations, he was unable to return for the funeral. Soon after, he began carousing with some negative influences; among them a Bulgarian woman whom he dated for 11 years. When she left him just last year, Bogdan turned to alcohol for solace.

“I completely broke down. I became addicted and I couldn’t get back on my feet. I ended up in a hospital for 3-4 days. They saved my life but as soon as I left that hospital I bought another bottle of vodka.”

As a referral from the hospital, Bogdan contacted The Salvation Army of Chicago, IL. Three months into rehabilitation, the services, classes, and counseling offered at the ARC are helping him recover from alcohol dependency and rediscover his faith.

“I was diseased. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I felt convicted. I’m now at the point where I don’t want to learn from my mistakes anymore. Rather, I’m learning from the other men at the ARC. I finally grasped the idea that I had to surrender to God’s will and let Him take care of the things that I cannot. Now that my mind is clear, I’m doing my best to grow spiritually every day. I’m so thankful for opportunity for new life given to me by The Salvation Army.”

Bogdan doesn’t know what’s in the cards for his future. For now, he’s enjoying his job as a Maintenance Helper at the ARC. “Someday, I’ll write a book!”

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We all lose our way at times, but for those without support systems such as family, struggling with addiction and hopelessness is that much more difficult. If you’d like to support The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers and ensure recovery and support for someone in need, visit www.satruck.org for ways to donate and get involved.

*Name has been changed.