CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Five months ago Michael McDowell knew nothing about making coffee.

Now he’s got everything mastered behind the counter of the Community Matters Cafe.

He’s a much different person today than he was a couple of years ago.

“I got in a car wreck and messed my back up, and they prescribed me pain medication, and they took the pain medication from me and I thought I had to have it," he says.

McDowell struggled with addiction, but soon realized he needed help.

He ended up going to the Charlotte Rescue Mission and once he finished there, he found himself at the cafe going through their life skills training program.

“The life skills program here at the cafe really allows them that gap from completing recovery and going back into community," Paula Elkins says.

Elkins is the cafe manager and says the program is designed to help students learn work and everyday life skills.

“Something in the world of addiction that you struggle with is alienating a community and this brings you back in in a very personal way," she says. "It’s as simple as serving someone coffee, but you're establishing relationships.”

And that’s something McDowell has truly enjoyed.

“It made me enjoy life again," he says. "Made me feel at peace again.”

Now that McDowell is clean and almost finished with the program, he’s excited to get back home and enjoy life again.

“Got two amazing granddaughters, (and I) got a grandson on the way," he says. "I'm ready to go home and be a grandpa.”

McDowell officially graduates from the program on Thursday, September 17.

You can learn more about the cafe here.