Meet Scott: VRM Men's Ministry Supervisor

I struggled for years with addiction and alcoholism. I got saved in 1995, from 95-98 I constantly went to church and just prayed for this deliverance that everyone was talking about. Everybody was standing up in church talking about being delivered from this and delivered from that, and it just was not happening with me. But in 2010 it did.

For six months, I felt like God was pursuing me. There was one situation after another that God was tugging on my heart, and I really could not fight it anymore. Even in the lifestyle I was leading then, I felt like God would not leave me alone. I just finally gave up and I told God in an argument ‘I can’t do it right now. I know what it is going to feel like, I know what it is going to be like and I do not want to do this right now.’ But I could hear God saying to me, ‘come back to me’.

I can actually say that I could feel a void being filled and stuff being pulled out of me at the same time. It was physically painful but spiritually healing. I don’t know how else to explain it, there was no doubt about it – a life changing experience. I remember where I was and when it happened, and my life was changed instantly. And it has been a journey since then.

The best part of my job is seeing the fruit of what God is doing in the guys and the women. When they come in, you can tell they are walking through this but aren’t really buying it. But we just keep encouraging them – keep doing it, just keep doing it and you will see the change – and when the change happens and they see it, that is something that I think everyone should see. Because the twinkle comes back in their eye, the smile comes back on their face and when something happens it doesn’t affect them like it used to.

When someone is dismissed for any reason, that’s the hardest part. But I will say this, who is to say that there wasn’t a seed planted already? And that this is a season that will impact the rest of their life. That is why I try to believe and hold on to because it can be discouraging. I focus on believing that what was sown here, what was planted here, they will carry with them.

For the most part, most of them really do want to stop with the addictive behavior. But once they stop drinking and using, these emotions come back that they have not had to deal with in years. It is easy enough for them to give up the drugs and alcohol, but they haven’t learned how to deal with the emotions, the hurt and the pain behind that. That is what we help them with here. 

What people should try to understand is, addiction, drinking and using drugs, is a byproduct of what is really going on with that person. There is a hole, there is a void and they are really sensitive to circumstances –what is going on outside of them. When it is uncomfortable and they do not want to feel the pain, they do not want to feel this or that, they know how to stop the pain. 

But if they stick around and they stay involved, it goes from addiction and abuse to learning recovery and if they stick around recovery enough it becomes a lifestyle. After they come through our doors they have learned how to walk through stuff. They walk towards the pain and walk through it instead of trying to avoid and walk around it or just numb it all together.

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.