``What I like about the man is that he's real,'' says Judge Cantrell, talking about Rev. Cecil Williams. Mr. Cantrell is a recovering drug addict and peer counselor here at Glide Memorial Church, and his sentiments about Mr. Williams and Glide are representative of many here. ``I admire and respect a lot of the things he's worked for and accomplished,'' says Cantrell.
``For me, the [recovery] program gave me a reason to live.''
In December 1988, Cantrell came to Glide's crisis center after a ``four-or-five-day run'' on drugs. He had stayed ``stone cold'' (off drugs) for 11 months prior.
Cantrell says he was a drug ``fiend'' for 20 years; ``you name it, I experienced it,'' he says. Now, at age 32, he says he's learning to accept himself with Glide's help, by embracing the concept of family and learning: ``There is a reason for living and stopping drug use,'' he says.
``There were a lot of things I had to let go of,'' he recalls - drug dependency, a failed marriage. ``You go through the process of hurt. Only with dealing with it do you get through it; it's a daily thing.''
That involves a lot of praying, talking about what's going on, and knowing that someone cares, says Cantrell. Glide offers support groups, individual counseling (by phone, via a crack hotline, and in person), and ``rebirth'' into the ``extended family'' of the Glide community as means for recovery, Williams says.
Upon entering Glide, a lot of people feel left out, apart, and alone; ``sick and tired of being sick and tired,'' says Cantrell.
Quoting Cecil Williams, he adds that you must ``empower yourself, embrace your pain.''
Cantrell's advice to kids: ``Learn, educate yourself. Be yourself, and don't allow anyone to take away your self-esteem and your self-worth.''