My name is Clyde Alan Hensley. I am proof that God is in the business of miracles. I drank myself into homelessness in 2009. I had burned every bridge and opportunity of redemption with family and friends. All I had left was an addiction, the clothes on my back and a guitar sitting at my sister’s house. I had nowhere to go except The Haven of Rest. I stayed there and learned to “fly a sign” a.k.a panhandle.
After drinking my way out of the Haven I received a tent and some new found friends. I drank only out of necessity, to keep the shakes off. If I was without alcohol for 5 hours I would get ill.
While out on the streets I slept behind a funeral home, on a porch of an abandoned house, and under bridges when I was too intoxicated to get back home to my tent.
I would get up at 6 a.m., get sick and then go to the gas station and get a couple 24 oz. beers, chug them and fly a sign until 12, then take what I had and get another one or two to get me through until 6 p.m. At the end of the day I would get my beer for the night, hiding my surplus for the night shakes, and a half a can to get me “right” for the walk in the morning. This was an everyday occurrence.
Salvation Steps In
Then, late one spring, I had made my day’s wage and drank a bit more than the norm. People were giving me more money than usual, so I bought and drank more often. As I was walking the railroad tracks to get home I saw some others from (homeless) camps near mine. We sat on the tracks drinking. I blacked out.
Next thing I know I heard ‘HEY BUDDY GET OFF THE TRACKS”! It was Jon Soza of The Salvation Army, out checking on the homeless. He pulled me off of the tracks a moment before the train would have struck me.
Soza tried and prayed every which way for me to get into the Adult Recovery Program (A.R.C.). It took 5 or more months before God broke me down and started what I call “The Journey”!
I arrived at detox at around 10:30 a.m. one morning. I had already flew my sign and made enough to get a couple drinks in behind the dumpster. I had every intention of going back, but the Lord had other plans…
In retrospect, I had a spiritual awakening.
I turned left and walked over to detox. I had been there before, but this time I knew I was either going to find a way to get sober through my Higher Power – Christ – or go back to the woods and die by mid-winter.
On October 6th, 2010 I transitioned from detox to the Salvation Army A.R.C. This is when the work began.
It took me 3 weeks to memorize my social security number. I was beat down, tired and thought there was nothing left to salvage, let alone repair.
Once I started to come out of the haze, I realized that God forgave me, so to stay sober I had to forgive myself. The program gave me tools to use in everyday situations and it watered a seed of faith that was one of the few things I had left.
Blessings Pour Out
After graduating the program on April 1st, 2011, I was blessed with housing by Springtime of Hope, employed by The Salvation Army, and decided to make amends with a former employer. I soon began working for my former employer, Liberty Harley Davidson.
I am active in the Salvation Army Praise Team and Thursday night Men’s Bible Study. I recently recorded a Christian rock cd “From the Tent to the Tabernacle” and preform at local coffee houses. I have videos on YouTube and am currently writing again.
A new chapter of my life is beginning. I just got married to a wonderful woman who was homeless at the very same time I was. We are on a spiritual journey together. I am employed at Rubber City Harley-Davidson and I am able to edify Christ in music and the word.