My name is Mathew Hamel. My story is pretty simple, so we’ll start from the beginning. When I was born, my biological mother lost custody of me as a result of her drug addiction. I was in foster care when I was just an infant until I was adopted into a Christian family at the age of three. I am very fortunate because of this due to the fact that I was able to grow-up in a God-filled home, though I often took it for granted. I learned good Christian values from a young age, but I didn’t keep my eyes on God. As I started to step away from God, life slowly began to become dismal and mundane. Relationships began failing, my grades in school tanked, life at home became stressful as my adoptive parents and I butted heads over our differing religious views. Eventual at the age of sixteen, I was thrown out of my home. I “couch surfed” for a few years, and in the process became an alcoholic. I drank in excess on a daily basis and did severe damage to my liver. To this day, I still struggle with the damage that my alcohol abuse caused. I sobered up from alcohol when my doctor told me I had the beginning stages of Sclerosis at age nineteen. I have been alcohol free now for over six years, but in the absence of alcohol I substituted other intoxicants. I continued smoking weed, and after some time was introduced to methamphetamine. This drug over the course of three years caused the complete destruction of my life-From screwing up in college, fights with friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers. I lost my job and once again ended up on the streets. Ironically, I consider this to be the point in my life where things began to get exponentially better. I cried out to God, the same God I knew as a child, the God that I blasphemed and denied and after doing so, everything changed. I no longer craved drugs, for He had released my mind from the torment of addiction. I was no longer cold, because He put people in my path to give me clothes. I was no longer hungry, because the Lord fed me. By the grace of God, I was able to come to Set Free where I could focus on reconciliation with our Lord who set me free from my biggest enemy, myself. I thank God for all He has done for me, and I thank Set Free for believing in me.