“Most of the guys that come into our program are at an ending,” says William Washington, a rehabilitator who helps men caught in the choke hold of substance abuse. As director of The Bridge Ministry in Buckingham, Virginia, he walks with those the rest of the world often ignores. “The next thing is either jail—for the rest of their life—or death.”
Photograph by Anna Kariel
But three decades into his work, Washington knows addiction isn’t the only burden these men bear. Often childhood abuse and other past traumas have caused deep, lasting harm, and many turned to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. Through counseling and discipleship, Washington enters into the men’s struggles.
Healing isn’t easy. But Washington attends to each of the men daily throughout their 12-to-18-month stay at The Bridge. His presence is a constant source of encouragement and hope, and as Washington and the staff open their hearts—and share their wounds—clients feel encouraged to do the same. “Our faith is a living example,” Washington says. “They get to see that love is an action. It’s the way we live.”
See William Washington’s story at intouch.org/bridge.