Making a Difference: City of Angels NJ

We were at a loss as to what to do with our 6-foot, 2-inch blue-eyed blond-headed son at the height of his addiction. We had raised our children in church, but my son got involved with the wrong crowd at school. We lost him at the tender age of 20, five years ago.  My faith carried me through the darkest hour of my life.  I came to know other parents who were in the same situation and out of our grief we started the organization that we call City of Angels NJ.

We help parents who come to us with their drug-addicted children. We cannot help those who do not want help, but in the four years we have been involved this organization is growing. Jesus is the center of our group and we now have a group of about 35 young people involved and giving back. We have them in the local schools sharing their stories . . . you would be able to hear a pin drop as intently the high schoolers listen to them.

These kids are only a couple of years out of high school themselves. Most of these kids have come to Jesus and are attending a church.  They are bonding together in their sobriety and are extremely happy. They are now living out loud instead of hiding in their shame.

We are strictly a not for profit group who cares enough to help other parents not go through what we have.  Hamilton Township lent us a building in which we have meetings, do interventions, spiritual counseling, and too many other activities to mention here. The young people recently held a spaghetti dinner for their extended family in order to thank us for believing that they were beautiful kids who deserved a better life than they knew how to achieve themselves.

If you would be interested in learning more about us, please check out our Web page at  cityofangelsNJ.org  Every time one of these kids gives me a hug and says “thank you,” my heart heals a bit more.  We are a family in recovery together, touching one child at a time.  If we had had a group like ours 5 years ago, who knows what would have happened?


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Comments

  1. 1 year ago
    Jen says

    How caring and wonderful my angel came to help…even at my age

  2. 2 years ago
    Lynn Cranstoun COA says

    Linda, how beautifully said. Thank you for sharing your story so others could be helped.

  3. Please send info on getting In touch with the Angels.

    • Ceck out cityofangels.org all the info you might need is locared there or you can call pur hotline @609-910-4942

  4. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. It must be healing for you to work with others in similar situations.

    Something that strikes me is the desperation to escape pain – people can’t be logical (or spiritual) when they just want the pain to stop. Then they get addicted and it is such a viscious cycle.

  5. 2 years ago
    Debra Stewart says

    This is an amazing story. Everyday I pray for my son as I see him becoming dependent on alcohol. He too was raised in church and has made some poor choices. As much as we have tried to encourage him and express our concerns for his drinking, he claims there is no problem. Please join me in keeping him in prayer.

    • 2 years ago
      Julie says

      Debra,

      I’ll lift up your son and your family.

  6. 2 years ago
    Diane Wyckoff says

    Congratulations to City of Angels on your fine work. I, myself am 23 years in the AA program, and so grateful to God to my Jesus for saving me. Alcoholism-drug addiction is a family disease and unfortunately 2 of my adult children are heavy into their drinking. As a parent I cannot sponsor them, I do pray for them, and give of the good advice I can, when and where I can. God help all of our poor children harboring this terrible disease.
    Thanks for your great work!

  7. 2 years ago
    Joyce Williams says

    What a coinsidence that your message should come on the 31st anniversary 0f our 26 yr. old son,s suiside , a result of drugs etc.The hurt and pain is as fresh today as it was then.. At that time there were no organizations prepared to help cope , even ‘tho were very active in our local church. Our Pastor tried to reach him with no positive results. My husband never survuved the shock and passed away shortly after.I hope and pray that someday our young people will not be so tempted by Satan peddling death.

  8. 2 years ago
    Brenda John says

    Well this is touching. This is what we call salvation. Addiction is one that is so killing which only by the grace of God can be healed. I also need the touch of God. Amen…

  9. 2 years ago
    Kathy says

    Our daughter got involved with meth at age 14……we were so naive! We had her in rehab once, but it was only 30 days and that is not long enough for meth. She fell back in with the same crowd right away. We were ready to give her up as a ward of the state if we had to so that we could get her extended rehab. An angel from the Medicaid program found a way to cover her care without the need to go through the court. And a wonderful angel took it from there…..our daughter was in a rehab facility for 5 months with the best counselor in the world. It all happened in God’s time for a purpose. Our daughter did return home and was able to graduate with her high school class. She has been a productive member of society ever since and in August will marry the greatest guy you could imagine! It’s been a long 12 years and the only way we kept our sanity was through the support groups that we became members of. To be with others who are struggling with similar issues helps you gain strength! Bless you in your work!!

  10. 2 years ago
    Carrie Mehl says

    What a beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing with us! God bless!

    -Maryland

  11. 2 years ago
    raquel Martinez says

    I have had two classmates lose their sons to an overdose. One in April and one in late December. What can we do to prevent another one. These young men were 27 and 26 years old with children. It surprised me that their drug of choice was heroin. We are in our 50′s, and I remember this being the drug in the 80′s. My brother in law died of liver disease in 1994 due to him having contracted hepatitis during his drug use. What can one possibly tell these parents and these kids?

  12. I also lost a son 6 years ago from drug abuse. He was 24. Like your son, mine was brought up in church and knew the Lord but got in with the wrong crowd. He wouldn’t receive the help he needed. My husband would love to be involved in a ministry like you have. We live in Sotheast Tx near Beaumont, and I don’t of anything like that here. I’m praying for y”all!.

  13. 2 years ago
    Jacqueline Gardner says

    If we had this type of outreach in my son’s school, he may or may not have given up his addiction earlier. I can say today that he is doing very well! he works full time at a catering kitchen and has even completed his bachelor’s degree in Computer Program Management. He was one of the blessed ones who did not let his addiction overtake his life and snuff it out! I will pray for your organization and when I can, I will make a donation! Please keep going, parents like me need you!

  14. Teen Challenge is a national organization that has existed since 1958. We have over 200 centers in the US and many more abroad. We are a one year faith-based discipleship program and offer help to people with life controlling issues. As our leaders say, it is the Jesus factor that makes the difference. When the heart changes, so does the behavior. A hunger for the Word of God and the love of Jesus has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many. One great book to read about this transformation is Rehab is Not for the Soul by Gary Bentley, the COO of Louisiana Teen Challenge. As a graduate himself, he has risen from a homeless drug addict to a place of leadership within the Teen Challenge Family. He is a great mentor and example to the students and to our community. Despite our name of Teen Challenge, we accept students from the age of 17 and as yet have refused no one because they were “too old.” I urge to look at our websites: http://www.teenchallengeusa.com and http://www.louisianateenchallenge.com in finding help for any you might know who need help.

    • My son was supposed tpo go to teen challenge on a Monday but he died the Saturday before.

  15. 2 years ago
    cynthia headrick says

    I have 2 sons addicted….Bret 27 4-5 days off meth (some kind of speed) but isolating and doing it “on his own”. Bryce 20 smoking weed……would appreciate prayer for them…I do believe that GOD can break these chains and set them free….this WOF article came at a perfect time..I was feeling super sad last nite and crying out to GOD yet again and believing that HE knows my heart….IN HIS NAME

    • hi cynthia,
      my heart goes out to you and your family ,i had a brother that was gone real bad using drugs but thank God he is on the road to recovery now,i know what the family goes through at those times but don’t give up,keep praying ,keep trusting and most of all keep believing that God will hear your cry and help your sons,don’t give up on them,I will pray for them too,
      monica

  16. 2 years ago
    Shannon Lynne Turner says

    What a fabulous way to both “give back” and heal yourselves…kudos to you and God Bless you for the guidance He gave you on this most miraculous journey to heal others…