Help out or Handout: Donald Adams

“Once I started making something, once I started developing something, I'd get scared and run away. I figured I wasn't going to have it anyway.” said Donald Adams.

At 52 years old, Donald Adams is the one of the most experienced homeless men living at the Opelousas Lighthouse Mission. He says he has spent 15 to 20 years of his life without a home. And it all started when he was 11.

“I just left, I felt at the time it was for self-preservation, I later realized it was god pulling me out of a bad situation.” said Adams. A bad situation of abuse suffered at the hands of his own parents.

“They were alcoholics, very abusive. I got beat everyday. I use to think why would they do that to a child that young but I realized it was them not me.” said Adams.

He left his home in Arkansas and ended up in Houston scared in a big city, he soon learned to adapt.

“If I wanted to be a supervisor of a factory, I could be that. I was the lead singer of a band for several years I toured with a band.” said Adams.

From California to Florida he made it a point to never stay in one place too long.

“I can't be here, I got to go. I get the feeling that I'm running.”said Adams. His titles have included husband and father.

“I've been married, had kids, had 180 acres of land. I've had what all the other people had.” said Adams. As well as bum, thief and prisoner, after spending seven years in a penitentiary. He's also been a producer of drugs.

“How many lives have I destroyed because of the drugs I had made. people have probably lost their lives, lost their homes, lost their lives all because of me.” said Adams.

He's spent one day being high on life and the next, simply being high or drunk.

“I've attempted suicide a few times, over the shame and guilt, I quit drinking a few times and then I would feel the shame and the guilt and it would affect me to the point I didn't want to live anymore.” said Adams.

But four years ago, Adams made his way to Opelousas. And inside the Lighthouse Mission, a transitional homeless shelter for men.  He began to turn his life around. He even helped paint the shelter's chapel. But he relapsed and left after a year and a half.

“I'm not proud of that but I'm trying to do the best I can.””

He returned to the lighthouse in February of this with a new outlook.

“That's behind me. I have to look at what I have right now, because if I don't look at what I have right now, I'll lose it all too.” said Adams.

And a new purpose. He says now that he is sober, he's dedicated his life to serving God. And is currently working as a staff member for the shelter. He is also making plans to go to school to become a peer counselor.

“I know that of all the things I've done, helping people is what helps me.” said Adams.

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