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    Finding His Place

    Alcoholism almost ruined Jim Skinner's life. But he found a home at The Salvation Army. February 20, 2019 by Diane Stark
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends
    Jim Skinner and his wife, Linda
    Jim Skinner and his wife, Linda
    Jim Skinner still can’t believe how different his life is today.

    “I have a beautiful wife, a close relationship with my daughter and a loving, supportive church family,” he says. It’s a far cry from where he stood in 2004. Then, he was in jail, serving time for driving under the influence. Alcoholism had already destroyed one marriage and put an end to his family life. In fact, alcohol had cost him everything—but Jim couldn’t stop drinking.

    Could anything turn his life around?

    A Token in Futility
    Jim grew up in Harbour Breton, N.L. As a child, he attended church with his mother and younger brothers.

    “But when I was 11 or 12, I lost interest in church,” he says. “I decided not to go anymore, and there wasn’t much my mom could do about it.”

    Not long after, an older cousin offered Jim his first taste of alcohol.

    “At first, I drank because of peer pressure,” he says. “But then I started drinking every weekend.”

    After high school, Jim studied to be an electrician. In 1990, he met a woman and the two began dating. The first time he met her parents, they invited him to attend church with them. Although it had been nearly a decade since he’d gone to church, Jim accepted the invitation.

    “It was a beautiful service,” Jim recalls. “It moved me to tears, and I felt this warmth come over me. I know now that God was working in my heart, showing me a taste of what it would be like to have a relationship with Him. But I never acted on it.”

    Jim married that woman and they had a daughter. They moved to St. John’s, N.L., and that’s when Jim’s drinking got even worse. “When I first started drinking, I’d mix the alcohol with juice or soda, but by that time, I was drinking it straight, right out of the bottle,” he says. “My wife left me, and I couldn’t blame her. I would’ve left me, too!”

    Jim Skinner poses in front of an electrical box at his place of work“I make sure the lights stay on at my church,” says Jim. “It’s my way of doing the Lord’s work”
    Eventually, Jim realized he needed to make a change and he began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. They helped him get sober, but it was always temporary.

    “I have so many tokens for one year of sobriety,” Jim says. “I’d get clean, but then I always went back to my addiction.”

    Taking Action
    Five years after his divorce, Jim met a woman named Linda in a club. The two began dating and got married in 2007.

    Not long after, Linda’s father began having health problems and he had to stop driving. Linda took over driving her parents around, including to Salvation Army church services in Conception Bay South, N.L.

    “Linda really liked the services there, and she wanted me to go, too,” Jim says. “But I replied, ‘I don’t need that.’ ”

    However, Linda’s father invited Jim to attend a church dinner with him, and Jim reluctantly agreed to go.

    “The people there treated me like they’d known me all my life,” Jim says. “They took the time to ask me about my job and my life. It felt good to have people interested in me.”

    Jim started going to church regularly and reading his Bible, too. At the 2014 Christmas Eve service, the pastor, Major Lorne Pritchett, was preaching about the first Christmas.

    “I could picture Jesus’ birth more than 2,000 years ago,” Jim says. “As I sat in that pew, that warm feeling came back over me. I felt so emotional, and I knew that God was reminding me of that church service I’d attended so many years ago. God was giving me another chance to accept His offer.”

    Jim took action. “That night, I prayed and asked God to forgive me for my sins and come into my life. I asked Him to be my Saviour.”

    Living Proof
    As a result, Jim’s life was forever changed in so many ways. “I turned my addiction over to God, and He completely took away my cravings for alcohol,” he says. “I’d never been able to stay clean permanently, but God healed me of that addiction. It doesn’t tempt me anymore.”

    Jim also noticed a big change in his attitude. “I’ve found that I want to help people more than I used to. Life isn’t all about me anymore,” he says.

    Jim has used his skills as an electrician to help out at the church. “I make sure the lights stay on,” Jim says. “It’s my way of doing the Lord’s work at church.”

    But that’s not his only contribution. At their church, Jim and his friend, Nic, started Celebrate Recovery, a 12-step program that helps people deal with their hurts, hang-ups and habits.

    “God is now using everything I’ve been through and all the pain I’ve caused my loved ones for good,” Jim says. “I went through it so I can help others. I want to show people that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done. I’ve been there and probably done worse, and God changed me. I want people to know that God can change them, too.”

    Today, Jim works as the electrical supervisor for the St. John’s Dockyard. “It’s a stressful job,” he says. “There’s only one other believer there, but I believe God put me there for a reason.”

    In November 2016, Jim became a senior soldier in The Salvation Army.

    “I love my church and I wanted to be a part of it in a formal way,” he says.

    Jim recently went to visit his mother. “My mom was so proud that I returned to the Lord,” he says. “Others in my family were shocked to see me wearing a Salvation Army uniform. But I’m proof that, in this church, there’s room for everyone.”

    Comment

    On Sunday, March 3, 2019, Sandra Evans said:

    Jim you were my star student many years ago. You were a wonderful person always helpful and a joy to teach. I am so glad to hear things worked out for you. Sandra

     

    On Sunday, February 24, 2019, Gloria Fagan (Clarence Fagan's wife) said:

    My husband,Clarence,spoke so highly of you and my daughter,Charlene still loves to get a big hug from electrician Jim at Sobeys or anywhere,she comes home so excited that she seen you and of course got a hug.Love Gloria

     

    On Sunday, February 24, 2019, Fred Stacey said:

    Thank the Lord for His Mercy. I pray that his faith walk will be enriched and strong.

     

    On Sunday, February 24, 2019, Albert smith said:

    That's awesome to hear buddy. God is very powerful and great to have in yr life. Very proud of u buddy!!!!!

     

    On Saturday, February 23, 2019, Jennie Gallardo said:

    What a testimony! Thank you for sharing! I live and work as an officer in Salvation Army, Sweden! We have Celebrate Recovery at my Corps and I know this is a wonderful programme helping people get rid of hurts, habits and hang-ups. God bless you!

     

    On Friday, February 22, 2019, Linda Snook. said:

    I am so proud of you.Please keep God in your life,I love everything you did for my sister Mary right up until God took her home. I'm happy and thankful that God helped you because you are helping others now. God Bless you and Linda. Xo

     

    On Friday, February 22, 2019, Michael said:

    Hi, Jim so glad that you found a way out. I have been sober for 10 year and 8 months with the help of my higher power who I call God.

     

    On Friday, February 22, 2019, Tom Gruchy said:

    I wear the tee shirt-- living proof that Jesus is Lord-God Bless

     

    On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Alice.. said:

    Love you Jim you & Linda are beautiful friends love you forever xoxo

     

    On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Donna Morrissey said:

    Jim, you are truly where you were meant to be. God led you to Linda so you could find your way back with the best family support you could ask for. I am so proud of your accomplishments my friend.

     

    On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Basil MacLean said:

    Great news Jim. We had some rough times in those early years. Great to see you turned it around.

     

    On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Babs said:

    Keep up the good work Peter you have great people in the raploch salvation army to help you praying for you

     

    On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Babs Milne said:

    God can and does change lives for the better if we let him in thankyou for sharing your story Jim

     

    On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Donald C Prior said:

    I congratulate you buddy, I've been there and yes It's plain to see in the Bible, I am the way and there is "No other way" I'm from Jersey Harbour if you know where that is, Hehehe, Blessings my Friend, God Bless, Don.

     

    On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Jules Keane said:

    The Salvation Army as a baby was my home l took up drinking later in life. I lost my through sickness and alcoholism. I became so sick lots of accidents insanity low self esteem, placed in a nursing home my HP my Lord performed a miracle in my life l am5yrs sober l have my families love. One day at a time. I pray a lot. I pray l can be a channel of blessings to someone today love Jules

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, George drake said:

    Proud of you Jim Salvation Army is a wonderful church be proud of how far you have come take care my friend and god bless

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Art Ryan said:

    Hi Jim so proud of you....as of February 16th I have 15 years sober

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Ethel Farewell said:

    So proud of you my friend, it proves that God can always reach us and save us no matter how far we have wandered from him, He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. May he continue to bless you.

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Brenda said:

    Very touching

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, ethel hunt said:

    What a testimony ! there is nothing God cannot do.He can make the vilest sinner clean.keep your focus on God.

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Diane jackman said:

    Follow your heart Jim, God is good. We all need a little guidance in our lives, it doesn’t really matter what road your travel to follow God’s path, it’s getting there is all that matters. Good luck in your sobriety and remember to spread the faith within others

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, james skinner said:

    hi jim beautiful photo of you and your wife I did not know you had problem with drinking but I am really glad you took control of it and changed your life around hope everything works out for you buddy take care

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Christine said:

    Amen! What a marvelous story!

     

    On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Peter MacPherson said:

    I first went to the Sally in The Raploch, Stirling, Scotland and loved it. I am 3 weeks sober.

     

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