Jay Frank’s life was on a path that gave no hint that there’d be a day when a pastor would show up at his hospital bed to tell him about a ministry serving addicts. Jay had a solid Catholic education, graduated from law school, and, at different times in his life was a teacher, lawyer and a lobbyist (all while living in Alaska), as well as a teacher in a local prep school. But the disease of alcoholism, rampant in his family, grabbed hold of him.
“I found myself making bad decisions, and I ended up homeless,” Jay said. “Materially, I had everything under control, but not spiritually or emotionally.”
That’s when his longtime friend Charlie Meade and Pastor Meredith Payton showed up at his bedside – where he was on a multi-day detox – and told him about Good Samaritan Mission’s Discipleship House, a ministry of Jericho Partnership that provides recovering addicts with biblical teaching and counseling, a Christ-centered 12-step program, plus assistance with securing work and housing.
“Charlie Meade is the guy in my life who, if he says I have a problem, I have a problem,” Jay said, “I’d been down this road before – and had long stretches of sobriety – but I was back to denial and I stopped attending meetings and stopped relying on the support systems that were in place. So when I met Pastor, laying in a hospital bed, I was in a position where I was a willing customer, and Pastor Payton closed the deal.”
In just over two months, Jay has already identified what makes Discipleship House different than other programs he’s attended.
“First, if you’re in a ministry based on Christian values, and you share those values to any degree, this program – based on AA but integrated completely with faith – provides the greatest opportunity for success. That’s what makes this program unique, and it’s a huge difference. Huge, huge, huge, huge,” he said. “And second, the level of commitment and support within the group of men living here is … almost overwhelming. It’s a family, a brotherhood.”
While at Discipleship House, Jay, 60 this month, meets daily with counselors and is working through the 12-Step program; he’s learning what surrendering his life to God means, and to make amends to those he’s hurt. And he’s praising the staff at GSM for their “professionalism, which is beyond reproach.”
“The level of support from the GSM community is overwhelming,” he said. “Pastor (Meredith Payton) and Rev. (Wanda Payton) – anyone who meets them instantly sees their sincere compassion for their fellow humans.”
Jay has hope for the future, and for his long-term sobriety.
“I just want to be open to what God’s will is for the rest of my life,” he said. “I want to be open to where this leads me. I’ve got the time where I can let that happen.”