Ep 4: The Power of Faith – How Reverend Ben Overcame Addiction & Found Redemption

In this episode of Untold Valor, we’re honored to have Reverend Benjamin Nelson as our guest. Reverend Ben, who regularly hosts the podcast with Marc, shares with us his experience in the Navy and the Marines. He opens up about his struggles with alcohol and drug abuse and tells us how he turned his life around.

Join us for this great story of triumph and for a reminder that no matter how dark things may seem, there’s always a path back to the light.

Highlights of this episode:

  •  How Reverend Ben ended up in the Navy and the Marines and why alcohol became a problem in his life. (1:07)
  •  “There were days I didn’t want to wake up.” Rev. Ben details how he went down the rabbit hole of drug abuse. (6:40)
  •  As bad as life had gotten, Rev. Ben saw how much worse things could get if he didn’t fix his life’s direction. “I thought I had a cocaine problem. I didn’t know I had a ‘me’ problem.” (7:40)
  •  The role faith has played in his recovery. (8:38)
  •  A story of triumph… Rev. Ben is now a faith leader, a community leader, and working on his master’s degree to boot. (10:00)
  •  No matter the darkness you’ve faced, there’s a path back to the light. (11:19)

More about Reverend Ben:

Benjamin was born and raised in the Cobbs Creek section of southwest Philadelphia. His grandparents raised him with two older siblings. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a Hospital Corpsman (medic) attached to a Marine Corps combat unit during the ongoing middle east conflict (Desert Storm).  Ben was also deployed on a contingency mission in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean Territory and deployed to Okinawa, Japan, for mountain training in the rugged terrain of the Northern Training area in Okinawa. He also was attached to Fox Company 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine division in Camp Lejeune North Carlina.

He worked in insurance for several years as a successful retail sales manager.  Benjamin also worked in a men’s shelter for several years and has various experiences with mental health and addiction recovery and support.   

Benjamin, who goes by Ben, has endured some adversities in his life, including a cancer diagnosis. However, he overcame this as he strived to find God’s purpose for his life.  Following a new path, Ben received his associate degree in Biblical science at Lancaster Bible College while battling cancer.  He obtained a bachelor’s degree in human services in 2019 and is on track to graduate with a master’s degree in counseling in 2024.  Reverend Ben is the Assistant Pastor and Outreach Coordinator of Philadelphia Baptist Church, providing outreach and a food cupboard assisting 150-200 families weekly in West Philly with food and clothing.  Ben was blessed with his wife, Marcia, who works by his side in the ministry.  Together they work with the church’s outreach team to help alleviate others’ suffering as they serve with the love of Christ.

Resources:

Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1    Chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat   or Chat by Text 838255

Voice & Vision: https://voiceandvisioninc.org/

CompeerCORPS: https://voiceandvisioninc.org/compeercorps/

Information on how to apply for VA Healthcare Benefits from anywhere in the USA: https://www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/ or call 877-222-8387 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. EST)

To apply for veteran’s benefits and find resources in Pennsylvania veterans need to contact their County Office of Veterans Affairs as listed in this document:  https://www.dmva.pa.gov/veteransaffairs/Documents/Outreach-and-Reintegration/countyprint.pdf

To view more about PA’s resources for veterans:  https://www.pa.gov/guides/veterans/

Financial support for Untold Valor is provided by a Veterans’ Trust Fund grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

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