First giving honor to God and all he has done for me and New Life House.
My name is Ricky Underwood and I am not only the founder and President of New Life House but I am also a veteran and have been a homeless individual. I was also an addict and alcoholic.
My drug use sky rocketed all through high school. After graduating, I joined the United States Air Force. I began drinking heavily and smoking more dope. My habit worsened during the next four years while being stationed in North Dakota and Germany. I was honorably discharged in 1978 and moved to Charlotte, NC.
I found with making more money and selling drugs, my drug habit escalated to an even higher level. After 26 years of using, I tried to stop on my own, but I couldn’t. I lost my job, pride, self-esteem, and so-called friends. I was homeless, penniless (no money), and very messed up in the head. I lived in a motel on Wilkinson Blvd. when I could pay rent and slept in my car when I had no money.
I entered Amethyst treatment facility for fourteen days. At this time, I had had enough and started praying and asking God for help. On June 21, 1996, God delivered me from drugs and alcohol. I have been drug and alcohol free for 21 years and I am still clean and sober.
My church, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, played a major role in my recovery. Mrs. Maxwell told me I was going to be an usher. All I had to wear was a navy jacket and black pants from the Thrift Store but I did start to usher. She told me that if I served God, he would meet all my needs. That was 21 years ago, I began serving on the usher board and now I am a Deacon. Sometimes it just takes having faith in a person to give them self-esteem.
New Life House is committed to helping the residents become productive members of society by not only working but also by paying their way, giving back, and returning to spirituality. A lot of of our residents are lonely and no longer have family ties. My dream was not to just open recovery houses but to open homes where the residents live as family.
I walked across that bridge to recovery. It has not always been easy but because I have FAITH, I have not had to cross that bridge again. If you do not understand, I have not had to use again.
I give special thanks to my wife, Sophie Underwood, for her hard work and dedication to the New Life House.
President, New Life House