Love And Acceptance From The First Day
“I was an absolute mess.”
Steve Logan smiles ruefully as he reflects back on the day, more than a decade ago now, that he first entered the doors of Community Care Fellowship. Battling addiction, Steve was homeless and camping on the streets of Nashville. He’d sought refuge in the downtown public library one day, and, while on the computer, he came across Community Care Fellowship’s information and made the trek to the edge of the James Cayce Homes.
He found more than the shower and hot meal he was looking for.
“I felt such love and acceptance there, from the first day,” Steve remembers. “There’s no judgment. Now, you’re expected to behave yourself and follow the rules, but they welcome you and love you, just as you are.”
Reverend Pat Freudenthal, the executive director of CCF at the time, remembers meeting Steve that day. “He was filthy, drunk, just a hot mess,” she says, echoing Steve’s self-analysis. But because of the welcome he received that day, Steve kept coming back, even as his life continued on a downward spiral.
Nearly a year later, he would finally hit rock-bottom. Convinced that he was beyond redemption, Steve planned to jump off a bridge and end his life. He came to CCF and shared his plans with Rev. Pat. “I took his threat very seriously,” she says. “He had the means, method and intent. I truly believed he planned to take his life that day.”
The two talked for hours, and Rev. Pat convinced Steve to check in to a respite care facility for several days. This would prove to be the pivotal moment in Steve’s life, and he began taking the steps necessary to transform his life. He checked himself into a rehab facility, where he learned how to cope with and overcome his addiction.
The counseling he received helped him understand the changes he would need to make in his life to make his newfound sobriety a permanent fixture. Told that he needed to cut ties with the people from his old life and ways, Steve moved to Madison from downtown. He sought steady employment and started selling The Contributor in 2007, and, then, The Tennessean. As he continued to look for work, he says CCF’s shower and laundry facilities were a godsend, critical to helping him make sure his appearance was neat, tidy, and appealing to employers.
“Just because you’re homeless doesn’t mean you have to present like you’re homeless. I didn’t want my employer to be able to tell I lived on the streets.”
Steve’s hard work and meticulous approach paid off, and he was hired by a landscaping business. Today, he manages the grounds and tends the gardens of several businesses in town. He’s still camping in Madison this summer. “I like to wake up to the sounds of the birds singing,” he explains with a smile. But he is saving his money carefully so that he can rent a place to stay warm once cooler weather comes.
Steve continues to drop by CCF periodically – he still receives his mail there and likes to check in with the staff and regular volunteers who’ve become like family over the years.
“I’m just so grateful they were there when I needed them,” he says. “They loved me for who I was and gave me the hope that I was really worth something, you know?”