Freddie Sherrill spent 17 years in prison – not counting all the time in halfway houses and detox centers.

His rap sheet: selling drugs, larceny, attempted robbery.

Freddie didn’t know how to read. And at 27, he was living on the streets of Charlotte. His mother had kicked him out after he started stealing from her.

He married in 1981 and fathered four kids. For years he neglected them as he continued to drink, steal and live behind bars or in cardboard boxes. Some meals came from trash bins.

Hitting bottom with Wild Irish Rose

One day, Freddie lost hope.

You don’t care about me, he told God as he stood along some railroad tracks, pointing a pistol at his head. Nobody cares. So the hell with you and everybody.

He pulled the trigger. It didn’t go off.

He threw the gun down. This time, it fired.

He went off to buy some Wild Irish Rose. Before he could take a drink, he dropped the bottle. Desperate, he tried to get a taste through the broken glass.

He had hit bottom.

Taken to the hospital, Freddie prayed: “God, please help me.”

It was Dec. 16, 1988. He was 36.

God answered his prayer.

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