Tim Holt grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania. “It was a great rural community to grow up in,” says Tim. “My parents raised my two brothers and sister and me. It was a fun childhood and I was very sport oriented. I went on to play football at Allegheny College.
“When I went to college I suddenly found myself free with no structure. I got into the party scene and soon I was drinking and trying drugs. The thought of the time was to expand your mind. I wanted to expand my borders and didn’t realize that it would damage me later on.
“I left college and went into construction as a field engineer for a heavy industrial contractor out of Pittsburgh. I worked myself up the ladder and eventually became a project manager at the age of 35.
“I was still partying but it was mostly drinking because drugs were frowned upon and I knew I would face routine drug screenings. I got married and it started out lovely but the alcohol became a problem and I had messed up priorities. Four years later, we were divorced.
“Things started to unravel after the divorce. I had no direction. I decided to get away from it all and became a union iron worker. I got a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from seeing a job well done. I moved to New York City – the mecca for iron working. I arrived in New York a week before the 9/11 attack occurred. For the next two weeks, I volunteered in the rescue recovery. I felt that it was my duty as a citizen of this country. After two weeks, I went back to work.
“I worked on the bridges and beautiful buildings in New York and met some really great people there. In October 2012, after 11 years in New York, I was in between projects. My older brother who lives in Annapolis was having family problems. He was working out of town and couldn’t be home all of the time so he asked me to come help. It started out well but unfortunately I brought my alcoholism with me. By March I had actually become a hindrance. I left because it was the only option I had.
“I went through a detox program and found myself in a halfway house in West Baltimore. The halfway house required that you attend five recovery meetings each week. It was at one of these meetings that I met a HUM staff member Barry and his wife, Joan. They told me about the Mission and encouraged me to check it out. Barry arranged a visit for me and I immediately fell in love with HUM. I really appreciated that so many of the staff members were former clients. I also liked that fact that it is a Christian based 12-step program. Although I liked the program, I wasn’t ready to commit because it is a year long program and I was intimidated by such a big time commitment.
“Seven months later, I started drinking again and woke up blacked out at the hospital. I started walking and ended up at the Mission. I initially came for a place to stay for the night. All the bridges I had built over a lifetime had been burnt. I was mentally and morally bankrupt. The men who were working in the overnight guest services program were very encouraging. They made me feel very welcome – a feeling I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I decided to join the Spiritual Recovery Program.
“When I received my work therapy assignment, I was elated to see that I was assigned to overnight guest services. I would be working with the same people who helped me in my hour of need! They take a lot of pride in what they do and understand that each individual that comes through the door is a special person. The overnight guests look forward to coming here because they know that it is a safe, drug free, clean environment. They can rest and put their heads down knowing that nothing is going to happen to them here.
“As I went through the program, I got to know Pastor Gary and Pastor Mike. They do their job so well – caring for broken down men who have reached the fringes of society and are looking for a way back. They help to guide us on our way back. All of the staff at the Mission help us realize what we can do if we will only be patient and sit still.
“Some of the fine tuning during my time here at HUM has been learning to have gratitude for the gifts God has given me in Jesus Christ. I have a better sense of humility – recognizing that there are many people who are actually responsible for where I am today. This has given me a new hope and vision for life – one I started out with as a young man but lost somewhere out along the way. With the help of the Mission, I have been able to take some time out for myself, explore these gifts and be grateful for them.
“They Mission staff help us get back out into the workforce again. I am working now working on the Bay Bridge as an iron worker. Iron working is such a part of me and I now have the freedom to enjoy it sober! I enjoy the sunrise on an early Sunday morning from atop the bay bridge – it is absolutely spectacular.
“I look forward to the future. I plan to continue with iron working. I’d like to find someone to spend the rest of my days with and I am saving for a house. I am looking forward to being a productive member of society and giving back what was so freely given to me.
“I am looking forward to giving back to the men in the program and giving them hope. As I come across work opportunities, I plan on passing them on to the men. I have so much gratitude and am blessed to be a part of Helping Up Mission’s Spiritual Recovery Program.”