“Bad decisions were eating me up… but now I’m taking one day at a time… turning my will over to God each day.”
“I was brought up Catholic and went to a Catholic high school – Calvert Hall – but Christianity was not a way of life for me. Church was just a box to check off. Playing soccer and partying on the weekends really was my way of life. School classes were there and I did alright, graduating with a 3.0 GPA.
“I received a full scholarship to a Division I University to play soccer, but with the increased freedom, things went downhill pretty fast – partying even more. I made it through my junior year playing soccer, but didn’t go to classes. I was pretty out of control with chemicals and I lost my scholarship.
“I left and got a job – I apprenticed as an iron worker, made pretty good money and purchased a home when I was about 25 years old. I was in recovery at the time for about a year, but it slowly slipped away and I relapsed on opiates. It really got bad quickly.
“I was out of work, having totaled my vehicle and broken my hand. I started getting serious about my recovery again and parlayed my past college experience into an associate’s degree. I heard about Helping Up Mission through a friend who was involved with Back On My Feet. I looked HUM up online and came in on a Monday.
“It was my third rehab but other programs had only lasted about 17 days due to insurance coverage. When I got here, I had done alcohol; opiates were my drug of choice – raw heroin. I couldn’t live with it and I couldn’t live without it.
“I had been doing really out of character things –I had lost the house to bankruptcy, lost my job, totaled my vehicle – my life was falling apart and snowballing out of control.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the spiritual part of the program. A seed had been planted in AA and during my one year of sobriety; I knew spirituality was part of recovery. I stayed at HUM for the first time for 5-6 months. I had a job lined up in a new field – solar energy. I had taken the online courses and completed certifications to work in the field. I thought I was OK.
“I stayed clean until my first paycheck. I was at a restaurant watching the World Cup and didn’t have the intention to pick up a drink – but I did. That was a learning experience! I blacked out and came to in Central Booking. I couldn’t believe how things had changed so quickly in a few weeks. The guilt of my decision ate me up. I had court dates and time to serve for my third DWI. I got right back into opiate addiction – I was doing even worse than before. I served eight weekends of jail time.
“I learned that relapse doesn’t have to be the end of recovery.
“Fear keeps a lot of guys from making the decision to surrender. There’s embarrassment and shame. Getting over the guilt and shame, and coming back through the door of HUM was part of a spiritual awakening for me.
“People understood that here. I knew I needed to be at HUM, and I didn’t put an end date on that the second time around. I decided to really get into the Word of God and really understand the meaning of the gospel.
“Taking one day at a time and working the program every day is important to my recovery. I start off the day, with morning devotions and getting into the Word. I go to the chapel and pray. I admit that I am powerless and turn my will over to God each day, keeping in constant contact with Him and relying on His power. I’m connected to AA, have a home group, and I am working the steps with a Sponsor. I go to church regularly. God’s really been working in my life and people can see that. It’s brought my family together – we’re all attending church together on Sunday, which has been remarkable.
“I’m going back to school and majoring in Human Services at University of Baltimore. I will graduate next year. I just want to help people.
“Things have changed – I don’t react to things the way I would in the past. In the past when traumatic things happened, I would have used. Not today.
“Another part of my recovery – and an area transformed – has been running. I used to party with those I played soccer with. Now, running became like meditation for me. Addiction is a physical, mental and spiritual disease. I draw strength from the spiritual, but the physical benefits of running are part of my recovery.
“I ran my first marathon in the Baltimore Running Festival in October. I had never run very far before that – a 5K here and there or the Frederick Half Marathon in my twenties. I ran a good time at three hours and eight minutes. I qualified for the Boston Marathon. I didn’t get to play my senior year of college because of my substance use; it was heartbreaking. Now as a college senior, I am going to run the Boston Marathon representing HUM. God gave me an opportunity to do this, for a passion and purpose.
“Grace and mercy has been received here. I don’t deserve and couldn’t repay anyone for what I have now. I’m becoming the person that God intended me to be.”