A Road to Recovery

Survey, and a Success Story 

The 2020 Alaska Contracts survey had a success turnout this year. 252 members responded to the survey, meaning 25% of the membership in Alaska weighed in on their contracts. This is an impressive increase from the last survey! Thank you to everyone who took the time to review their contract and fill out the survey.

Participants were entered into a drawing for a set of Occidental tool bags. This year’s winner was Brother Charles Nelson from Local 1281! Charles was thrilled to have won, having wanted a set of Occidental for a while. We reached out to Charles to congratulate him and Charles was happy to share his feelings on this win.

“God is good. I’m finally living the life I was meant to live.” Charles said. Despite having been a carpenter for 10 years, he told us he had just journeyed out six months ago after battling alcoholism for years. “All because alcohol had me in its clutches. I was a bit of a hood growing up–using and selling drugs and drinking myself stupid.

“Drinking became my life. ‘Alcohol didn’t control me, I controlled it.’ That was my excuse to keep drinking. I bragged to my drinking buddies that I didn’t drink the cheap stuff, I dropped cash on the expensive bottle, after all, I was making good money. I figure I spent upwards of $200,000 on alcohol during those six years. I was in and out of jail on alcohol-related charges too many times to count.

“It got so bad that my wife was ready to divorce me, my family wanted nothing to do with me. I was coughing up and pissing blood. I was standing at death’s door.

Substance abuse is a serious issue many grapple with today. Luckily, you are not alone.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can reach the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration via their phone number (800) 662.4357.

“On the night of August 6, 2017, I went to jail for the last time. I was drunk. I was alone. I had several alcohol-related charges against me: drinking and driving under the influence and probation violations. On the third day in jail, I looked at myself in the mirror. I was sweating profusely. I was foaming at the mouth. I realized I was losing everything, my family, my home, my livelihood. On the sixth day, as the cell door slammed shut behind me once again, I went into a murderous rage. I can’t describe it any other way. Maybe it was a stress-induced panic attack, but I grunted and groaned like some kind of monster.

As I struggled in that jail cell to make sense of what was happening to me, my life was hanging by a thread. I dropped to my knees and called out to the Lord Jesus. The holy spirit entered the cell and sat beside me on the bed. I could feel the Lord’s presence like a campfire on a cold night.

I reached out for the Gideon bible in my cell and it fell open to the 143 Psalms which brought great comfort to me. After that night, my life changed significantly for the better. I was bailed out by my brother a week early, all the other charges against me were dropped.

After four months of sobriety, my wife, Crystal, agreed to see me, which meant I could also see my kids. She wanted to work things out and she has stuck with me since.

I also met Ray Davis in jail, who, although not an inmate, served the jail as pastor and was also a retired member of LU 1281. He has been a great source of encouragement to me.

Now almost three years later, I have no doubt that God saved my life that night. If I hadn’t called out to the Lord to save me, I would most likely be dead. My prayers and the prayers of all those who loved me and cared for me were answered.

My union brother Scott Hansen (LU 1281) never gave up on me. He saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. Through all my troubles, he treated me with kindness and respect, taking me under his wing and helping me out whenever he could.”

“I have always thought Charles would be a good productive carpenter,” said Alaska Regional Manager, Scott Hansen. “He just needed to find his way. I am proud of Charles and all he has achieved–UBC Proud.”

Did You Know?

PNWRCC offers scholarships for your kids.

The Northwest Carpenters’ Union values education, and offers both our members and their families access to the high quality college education that working members of the Northwest’s middle class deserve. Apply Now


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