“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.” from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2hS9OyQ

The Triangle of Self-Obsession (video)

“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.

Outdoor Retreats for Men in Recovery

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.

Camp Wabanna

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.

Video: Randy vs. People-Pleasing

View on Youtube

“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.

Recap: Videos, photos, and music from our 2017 Banquet

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:

Videos Debuting at our 2016 Banquet

Dom’s interview:

Nick’s and his mother’s interview:

Matt’s interview:

Bob’s remarks:


The opening choir medley:

Kirk and his sister sing The Impossible Dream:


Thanks to Skip of Jenny Beck Photos for these event pics:

“I want to help others get back in the saddle again”

"Bicycles have been a part of my entire life – riding, building, everything. My parents helped run a small track in Virginia, and we all raced except for my mom. But in my mid-teens I discovered the temporary bliss of drugs and alcohol. In the early days, the party was glorious. Little did I know what was in store for me… I attempted many times to control or maintain, to no avail. Before long, the hideous four horsemen had descended upon me and I had become someone I didn’t even know. I had become a hopeless, homeless, transient drunk and dope fiend. At times I would land a job in a bike shop, wrenching in whatever city or town I had wandered into, only to be released from that job as a direct result of my alcoholism and drug addiction. In August 2015, I found myself in Baltimore, needing help on many levels. I was homeless, living only to get one more drink. I was completely broken, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I found the Helping Up Mission and began my journey of recovery. It’s been a long road, cleaning up the wreckage of my past. I’m not where I wish to be in life, but I’m certainly not where I was. I’ve become reasonably happy and full of hope in my perfectly imperfect little world. A big part of my recovery is provided by the invention called the bicycle. I was given an old 70’s Shogun road bike. I stripped it down, painted it, and built it into a track bike that I love. And I want to help others get “back in the saddle again,” helping men who are also rebuilding their lives to put together bikes for themselves that can get them to school or jobs." —– Graham, 7 months clean and sober, is fixing up donated bikes and teaching other men how to repair and maintain their own bikes

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“God began to turn my heart”

"When I came here last December 23rd, I didn't want to stop using. I came here because I had legal problems… and I planned to leave as soon as they were taken care of. But at some point, maybe 3 or 4 months in, God began to turn my heart. I don't know if it's something I heard or something I saw, but the need to be here began to turn into a want-to-be-here. Every day, I wanted to be here. So God began to mold and shape me, and He put people in my life, because He knew I needed to see empirical evidence that this works. One thing I've learned: the trap didn't kill the rat. It was his love for the cheese. Drugs was just a symptom of my real problem: my thinking. I had to change my thinking. There's no finish line on this thing. But I knew at some point God had to change my heart." —– Bailis, celebrating one year of sobriety today!

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