Profile of Carl Carlson

carlAs published in Society South magazine.

In his mid-fifties, Carl Carlson says he’s a late bloomer. He “burned away” 25 years of his life, losing his family, marriage, and home to alcoholism. Given a second chance to turn his life around, he now sees the broader picture and has learned he can’t hide from his pain.

“I thought problems were solved at the bottom of the bottle,” he says. “Now I’m finding out that there’s nothing in that bottle. There’s no way to escape reality. You got to accept life as it is.”

Throughout his struggles, Carl felt as if he were caught in a blizzard. Finding Lamon Luther meant stepping out of the storm. “It’s almost like if you were in a major snow storm and you step inside a house,” he says. “You stepped out of the cold, the lonesomeness.” Here, Carl found a safe haven. “You no longer have to be outside looking in,” he adds.

Working for a company run like a family, Carl finds honesty and acceptance. He finds a place where he’s not compelled to lie about his addiction. “We’re all different, but all the same,” Carl says. “We have home problems and outside problems, addictions and demons. When it comes to here, problems don’t come with you.”

Every day, Carl leaves work with a sense of accomplishment. “At the end of the day, you feel like you’ve done something,” he says. In his experience, “Sometimes you take a right turn when should have taken a left. Okay, you made a mistake,” he says. “Accept it. Bring it back to the table.”

Lamon Luther gave Carl the extraordinary chance to accept his mistakes and, by building tables, rebuild his life. “I don’t worry about that storm any more.”

See the complete “The Craft of Brotherhood” feature online»

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