"I loved getting a real professional portrait taken… I joked with the photographer that this one is for my obituary… but nothing could be further from the truth. I'm smiling because today I understand what life is really all about." – Phil, 334 days #clean and #sober, showing off his professional headshot courtesy of #HelpPortrait2018 @help_portrait
This month, 30 of our clients took to the river in canoes and kayaks. Together we cleared over 900 pounds of trash from the banks of the Patapsco near Middle Branch Park!
Thanks to Baltimore City Parks and Rec for making this adventure possible. Learn more at: bcrp.baltimorecity.gov/recreation/outdoor
"Peace of mind. That's what it is out there on the water… peaceful, quiet, and just plain enjoyable. The cleanup aspect was cool too – it's crazy the things people throw in the river! But we got to be a part of the solution." —– Justin, 7 months clean and sober, reflecting on our recent Canoe & Scoop outing. Video in our bio!
"I used to come into the chapel, and sit in the end seat on the third row, and just cry and pray. I could see where yesterday's tears had dried on the floor beneath my chair. Meanwhile my wife is in Georgia, alone on her birthday… I didn't know how I could stay here for the year, but I knew I had to. One day I wrote this poem⠀ ⠀ I can't seem to remember⠀ My very first step⠀ For what lays before me⠀ There's no way I can prep⠀ ⠀ The path of addiction⠀ So dark and so bleak⠀ My body is broken⠀ My soul is so weak⠀ ⠀ Iv'e danced with the devil⠀ Now it's time to come home⠀ Forget what he told you⠀ It hurts to be alone⠀ ⠀ The floor of this chapel⠀ Has been painted with tears⠀ Of brothers in the struggle⠀ Letting go of their fears⠀ ⠀ Put down the guilt⠀ Let go of the pain⠀ Come sit in this chapel⠀ And let tears fall like rain."
“Here’s something I wrote that was inspired by the 12 Steps:
Is at the heart of my insanity
The illusion of control is like speaking profanity
Is the way I react to the past
Reliving the moment
Don’t tell, don’t ask
Is the way that I deal with the present
A denial of reality
The consciousness of presence
Is what I feel when I start to think
Creating an illusion
And I start to sink
Six foot deep, and my eyes go blank
The Titanic’s going down but I don’t even faint
Running away from self-conscious
Is a terrible waste
Seared deeper and deeper
At a constant pace
Is the motivator I use to get high
‘Cause when the tough gets going
I get gone, goodbye
My approach to the disease of addiction
Is completely realistic
Thoroughly follow the path
Or become a statistic
I have a choice over impulsive thinking
Stop and say no to compulsive drinking
So I had to find a new way to live
Is the feeling I experience
For the things that I did
Is Hearing Other People’s Experience
Like nitrous oxide
Too fast, too furious
Is that fixed idea that takes me back
Down memory lane
Or something like that
To recapture the ease and comfort I once knew
Quoting “pour me a drink – I’m feeling kinda blue”
So what do I do?
Relapse and get twisted
“Keep it simple, stupid”
My sponsor insisted
“Don’t get ahead of yourself”
“One day at a time”
When at the end of the road
What did you find?
Until I got clean with a simple solution
Also a plan of action that really works
It’s called 12 Steps for crash dummy jerks
So my troubles, I think
Are basically my own making
They rise out of self
The self-obsessed nature”
The NA pamphlet The Triangle of Self-Obsession was a specific inspiration for this poet.
For more poetry from our men, check out our Poetry page.
The Appalachian Trail
We went on a two-day wilderness retreat with 10 HUM clients and 5 men from St. Mo’s Church. Together we walked and talked the 17 miles of the Appalachian Trail that end in Harper’s Ferry, WV.
Video edited by HUM client Ashanti.
As we have each spring and fall for the past several years, we took two groups of 40 men to Camp Wabanna in Edgewater, Maryland, for an overnight retreat experience.
Day 1 photos by HUM client Jesse.
Day 2 photos by HUM client Ashanti.
“I’m a big people pleaser. I’ll go out of my way just to be accepted in some shape or form… I did whatever I could to fit in wherever I could, just for that reassurance that I’m a good person. I was always the one at the bar who would buy the round of drinks for everybody, and come the end of the night I’m broke.
“So now I work on the 4th floor treatment office… it has helped me because I can’t let people slide – we have to hold people accountable. I have to be fair but firm, and I think that’s helping me because I can’t be everyone’s best friend.
“It’s given me the chance to say no to people, it gives me a chance to set that boundary. Rather than pleasing them so that they will accept me, I know that God accepts me, and I know that I can work through Him to make someone else happy.”
—— Randy, 4 months 22 days clean and sober
While in recovery from substance abuse, Randy is finding freedom from an life-long pattern that contributed to his addiction: people-pleasing. See how his work therapy in the Treatment Office has proved particularly helpful in overcoming his codependent tendencies.
This past Sunday, we gathered at Martin’s West to celebrate over 120 men who have graduated in the past year. If you weren’t there, these videos, songs, and photos will give you a taste of the event – and if you were there, it will bring back good memories!
Here’s a highlight reel of the event, featuring graduates, clients, and supporters of HUM:
Watch all the videos we premiered at the banquet (plus a few more) here:
Nick’s and his mother’s interview:
The opening choir medley:
Kirk and his sister sing The Impossible Dream:
Thanks to Skip of Jenny Beck Photos for these event pics: