"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
"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!
"My parents had never met their great-grandchildren until this Saturday. I don’t have the best relationship with my kids, but it’s starting to get better… and everything just came together on Saturday. Independently, everyone was coming to visit me, and the photographers were here, and we were able to take this photo together… There’s no explanation for what happened except that God is at work.” —— Barry, 123 days #clean and #sober, reflecting on the @help_portrait event we hosted this past weekend #familyreunion #family #sober #sobriety #soberlife #onedayatatime #sobrietyrocks #tuesday #baltimore #maryland #tuesdaytransformation #transformationtuesday #rehab #12steps #addiction #recovery #clean #heardatHUM
This month we took small groups of our men in recovery to an overnight retreat at Camp Wabanna on the Chesapeake Bay. Watch as men share their favorite moments.
Around the bonfire, some of our men took the #mannequinchallenge to the next level!
And here’s another mannequin challenge that we did in our cafeteria:
Why do you run? Dom just ran in the 2016 Baltimore Marathon – his 2nd. He’s in recovery from multiple chemical addictions, and he considers running his new, healthy addiction. Watch Dom run along the Baltimore waterfront while listening to his powerful spoken-word piece, “Endurance.”
"I love running. But a year ago, I weighed 370. I couldn't lay on my back without choking, waking up in the middle of the night trying to catch my breath… That was when I hit my lowest point. The hardest thing for me to deal with was the embarrassment of knowing that a couple of years before, I was really in shape, and I'd actually run a marathon. How did I just run a marathon, and now I can hardly breathe when I'm laying on my back? I came in to Helping Up Mission a year ago, and I'm currently 239 pounds. I run with Back On My Feet. When I rejoined them in 2016, it was like learning how to ride a bike all over again. But as time went on, as each run passed, I said 'I can do this!' Running gives you endurance. When I relapsed, I didn't think I had the endurance to get up again and try to get clean and sober and get my life back together. I run to build endurance through life's struggles." —————- Dom, 341 days #clean and #sober, ran his second marathon in the @baltrunfest on Saturday! Running with @bomfbaltimore has been a huge part of his #recovery. Check out our video of Dom at the link in our profile #soberlife #runhappy #brf #baltimorerunningfestival #baltimoremarathon #marathontraining #marathontraining2016 #longrun #runner #wednesday #sobermovement #runnerslife #igrunners #wisdomwednesday #runalways #charmcityrun #charmcity #runnerscommunity #baltimore #onedayatatime #sobrietyrocks #rehab #12steps #addiction #relapse #wednesdaywisdom
Thanks to a generous gift from the O’s, 100 of our men were able to enjoy a Baltimore Orioles baseball game together. For some, it was their first baseball game, for others, it was their first sober baseball game, and for all, it was a great memory.
"This is my first baseball game since the '60s, when I'd go with my dad to Memorial Stadium. Sometimes if we didn't have money to get in, we'd just drive around the stadium and listen to the game on the radio." —– Jamie, 9 months #clean and #sober, is making new memories Thanks to our friend Chris Davis and the @Orioles, 100 of our men are enjoying the #soberlife at the O’s game tonight! #orioles #Bmore #Birdland
Follow us on Instagram for real hope: snapshots of men on the journey of recovery.
"I knew that I never wanted to do drugs again… I thought this is good, I've got all this stuff down! But then I went back to work. And I realized that even though I felt God had done something amazing, that there were still temptations and sins, and those could come out different ways. I'm out of jail, God's preserved my family, I'm not using drugs anymore, I'm doing the right things… but yet this sin is starting to creep back in. Everybody thinks I'm an idiot 'cause I went to jail for financial crimes. So I thought: if I can open up these dry cleaners, and open up some restaurants, maybe I can actually prove to somebody that I'm smart, that I'm a success. I started trying to rebuild my identity and my reputation, and it snuck up on me. And fortunately I had guys around me who care about me so much, and they saw what I was doing and they called me on it. I was still going to church, I was staying off drugs, but on a deeper level, I was trying to define myself by what I was doing, rather than by who I am in Christ." —– John Rusnak, speaking with our men this morning John, a former Wall Street trader and recovering cocaine addict, was convicted in 2002 of one of the largest ever cases of bank fraud. While in prison, he found God and gained sobriety, and since his release, he has become an advocate for second chances for men coming home from prison, starting a ministry called Uncuffed. #newlife #sobriety #soberlife #onedayatatime #sobrietyrocks #addiction #recovery #faith #NewMan #heardatHUM