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His Childhood Nightmares Came From His Family

Abuse marred Calvin's childhood, and for thirty years addiction and violence plagued him. When he woke up under an interstate after a drug binge, he knew his life needed change, beginning with the love he never got. Read Transcript

I heard a guy say one time that anger

is fear under pressure.

When I was growing up, fear was prevalent in my life.

Growing up in the way that I did,

with the sexual abuse and all the domestic violence,

you know, you get used to it.

And that's the thing.

And then it starts driving your life without you even

really knowing.

You know, you start structuring your life around that fear.

NARRATOR: Calvin Wooten's childhood nightmares

often came at the hands of his own family members.

I remember it being overwhelming,

you know, to the point where I would

try to stay outside so much, you know,

until I absolutely had to come in the house.

I was just too little to fight back.

You just don't fight when you're six.

You just submit.

And that's what I did.

NARRATOR: When a school principal threatened

to paddle him for misbehavior in sixth grade,

something in Calvin snapped.

The day before, I was raped, and then I

was beaten shortly after that.

And I went to school, you know, like everything was normal.

That's how it was when I grew up.

But something was happening inside of me.

And I went into what I believe was an anger blackout.

And then I grabbed the rails and kicked him

to the bottom of the steps.

And I followed him down, and I just kind of started

stomping on him.

I left the school that day and said in my head, that's it.

You know, that's it, man.

I'm going to fight back.

NARRATOR: Calvin was sent to juvenile detention for a year

but says it was still better than being at home.

I could take care of myself with kids being locked up

my age.

But you know, at home, it wasn't like that.

So I just felt so safe being locked up.

NARRATOR: Once released, he turned to drugs

to further escape his home life.

Calvin also broke into houses to support his habit.

The first time I smoked marijuana,

it was like poof, man, my problems went away.

And I don't know that I was able to function normally,

but I was able to function without the anxiety

and the fear, you know, that was so prevalent.

NARRATOR: While the drugs relaxed him,

alcohol fueled his anger.

Any time I wanted to do something

to somebody in a violent way, I always drank on it.


You know, I knew that if I drank, then it was game on.

NARRATOR: His addiction escalated to cocaine and meth.

For years, he was in and out of jail

and left two broken families in his wake.

Really, it wasn't just two failed marriages,

it was every relationship I've ever had has failed.

You know, I just was a violent person

to every woman I was ever with.

I was that way with my kids.

You know, I mean, I just--

the anger that I carried, it didn't discriminate.

NARRATOR: Calvin continued his downward spiral,

stealing over $10,000 worth of construction equipment

and selling it for drug money.

When he woke up from his binge, he

was under an interstate bridge.

I was done.

Life had become that miserable.

But in the end, it wasn't what was done to me,

it was what I had done to people.

And I couldn't escape the guilt and shame of what I had done.

I wanted to stop hurting people.

NARRATOR: He learned that The Healing

Place, a faith-based rehab facility,

would give him a place to sleep.

I climbed in my bunk, and then I just started crying.

The only words I could utter was, God, please help me.

And he did.

And God showed up in my life that day

in the form of a whisper.

And what he said to me is, Calvin, I love you.

And I don't care about what you've done.

I care about what you're going to do.

And that was it for me.

I mean, up to that point in my life,

I don't think I'd recognized anything

that would resemble love.

NARRATOR: Calvin surrendered his life to Christ

and woke up the next morning, a free man.

I slept better that night than I had slept in years.

But I didn't go to bed thinking about using,

and I didn't wake up that way.

And I knew when I woke up that next day that God had taken it.

But I also knew that there was work to be done.

NARRATOR: Delivered of his addiction and his anger, Calvin

continued to grow in his faith.

He completed rehab and was able to forgive the family

members who abused him.

I finally got to a spot where I knew in my heart

that I could say that I loved the man that molested me.

And so much changed in that moment.

And this may sound kind of crazy, but all my life

I never wanted to be me.

As a kid, I always imagined myself being someone else.

But on the day that I realized I loved the man that had molested

me, I've never wanted to be anybody but Calvin

Wooten since that day.

If you really dig into that message

that Christ is pouring out there about love,

it opens the door for forgiveness, and it stays open.

So I learned to love them.

Out of the love for them, I just intuitively forgave them.

And that was big for me.

The freedom that came from simply loving.

NARRATOR: Today, he runs the Love

Transformation Project, a ministry

to the homeless in Louisville, Kentucky.

And for the first time in his life, Calvin has a real family.

I feel like the guys under the bridges are our family.

You know, the kids we minister to in the parks are now

our family.

I never felt like I had a father, never

felt like I had brothers and sisters.

And I remember one night, I got on my knees,

and I said, God, please, will you adopt me?

And I know that's a crazy prayer for a grown man.

But I felt God say, it's done.

And I felt the love of a father in a way that I had never felt.

And something that wasn't going to hurt me

but would inevitably protect me.

I don't think there's been a time in my life since that day

that I've not felt that sense of family.


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