Happy ending: From drug addict to chaplain - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Happy ending: From drug addict to chaplain

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Cliff Danley Cliff Danley

For addicts looking to get clean and turn their lives around -- it helps to have someone to look up to who's been there.

We met a "man of faith" who's making sure his footsteps to sobriety are clearly marked for others to follow.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission serves 300 meals a day and houses a hundred men who are "down and out," looking to turn their lives around.

When they need guidance, they look to one man in particular -- a chaplain who shares their story of survival.

This is a place of refuge, a place of hope, both for things physical and spiritual, and no one knows the benefit of the Phoenix Rescue Mission better than Chaplain Cliff Danley.

"We take somebody in because we're going to give anybody a shot," says Clifford Danley. "In my opinion we gain recovery so that we can move on to something really great."

Cliff gave us a tour today to highlight just how much the mission does for the homeless, for addicts looking to turn their lives around.

Lives like his.

Eight years ago, Cliff was a meth and cocaine addict and his life was in ruins. He found his way to the mission.

"I was going to come back and then I had a decision. There was a fork in the road, I was about to go back and make my own choices again."

It's hard for anyone here to imagine the old Cliff. Now on any given day you'll find him hard at work reaching out to those on the Phoenix city streets.

"Right here are some places to go, I mean I've been where you guys are at…"

"I remember back to where he was and just seeing where he is now, it's just really awesome," says Mark Syhlowy of Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Countless people have come through the mission here like Cliff, who perhaps didn't know where to go and what to do with their lives, and with a little bit of guidance and counsel and with some miraculous moments they were able to start their lives over again.

Circumstances vary, but Cliff truly believes what he tells others: "if I could do it, so can you." He's seen the light, and now he's leading others out of the darkness.

"It's really really special when you see somebody, somebody like Cliff that's walked through it and been through it and then wants to reach other people who are still stuck going through it themselves," says Syhlowy.

"There was a place called the Phoenix Rescue Mission where there was a collective group of people saying this can be done," says Cliff. "Just that hope and that place to stabilize gives the light a chance to come on."

In just two weeks, the Phoenix Rescue Mission will celebrate 60 years of service to the community and they will be honored by Governor Brewer. For Cliff Danley, the highest honor is seeing others learn from his mistakes and his successes.

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