Warren G., age 52, was born in Baltimore City,
Maryland. “My early childhood was loving and
confusing,” recalls Warren. “I was born out of
wedlock and hidden from my father’s family for
two years. The only person who knew about
me was my half-sister. When my father finally
brought me out to my family, my stepmother
considered me a “blessing” because she could
not produce a son for him. At an early age,
I learned that blood was NOT thicker than
water; love is thicker than blood. I was like
Moses, and my nickname was MOE. I was
raised away from my family and then returned
to their love.“
“My dad was a jazz musician. He was a
functional addict and became the first AfricanAmerican car salesman at a local dealership. He
could make money but could not hold onto it.
I would go for weeks at a time, not seeing my
dad. I would spend time with my great aunt
Eiddie, my dad’s mother’s sister, who was like
a grandmother to me, taught me the Lord’s
prayer, and took me to church. She was loving
and spiritual.”
“I did well in school, getting A’s and B’s while
playing sports. My dad packed us up to get
out of Baltimore, and we moved to Sykesville,
MD. I was popular and never wanted for
anything. My dad would have good women
in his life who I did not become attached to
because they never lasted. His relationships
in life caused me not to get attached to
others as a defense mechanism and go in
my own direction.”
“I started smoking marijuana at the age
of eight. I would smoke regularly during
6th through 8th grade. There were no
consequences. I became an outspoken
leader who could manipulate and receive
the attention I did not get at home. During
my sophomore year of high school, I wore
my dad’s jacket to school, and in one of the
pockets, I found a bag of cocaine. Despite my
burgeoning drug habit, I received a scholarship
to play football at Juniata College. I decided to
attend college even though my dad told me I
would not succeed. He was right. I failed out,
got my high school girlfriend pregnant, and
had a daughter.”
“At the age of 35, I got married to another
person experiencing addiction, and we had
two sons. Things got so bad that I knew we

needed to go to rehab. I sent her first,
knowing what would happen if she was
left alone while I got help. She lasted
fifteen days in rehab. We were in full-blown
addiction and living in a hotel on Fayette
Street, Baltimore. One day, I went to the
lobby to pick up our two boys, ages 7 and
9, and she overdosed and died by the time
we got back. I could not open the door
to the room, but when maintenance got
us in, I was losing my mind. A nice lady
notices my demeanor and offers to watch
my sons. How do you explain death to a
7-year-old? I simply said that we would see
Mom again.”
“I got clean from narcotics for eight
months, but in January 2022, I was driving
down Northern Parkway and decided
to snort some fentanyl. Immediately, I
realized that I had done too much. I pulled
over as soon as I could and woke up in an
ambulance. I was dead for eight minutes.
The paramedics hit me three times with
Narcan. My girlfriend told me that I
needed to go to rehab. I lost my car and
my place and had no job. God had finally
narrowed my path, so I called Helping Up
Mission (HUM) and spoke with George
Enriquez, HUM’s program coordinator
of intake, and he told me to show up on
“The rest is history. Today, I am working
on the 12-steps of Narcotics Anonymous
(NA) and on my 8th step. I am working
on changing my behavior. I have learned
that my life transformation will evolve
until the day that I die. I spent 44 years
in active addiction, and change has
happened gradually in the eleven months
since I walked through HUM’s doors. HUM
has changed my life. My work therapy
assignment is Treatment Coordinator –
Intern. I facilitate spiritual recovery classes
and NA and Alcoholics Anonymous
meetings, which help me focus on my
recovery. I try to do the little things and
the right things when nobody is looking. I
finally returned to school at the University
of Baltimore and changed my degree from
pre-law to drug counseling. Soon, I will
take the test to become a Certified Peer
Recovery Specialist. I am surrendering the
outcome of my new life to God’s plan.”
“To all the people that make HUM
possible, THANK YOU for doing the right
thing when nobody else is looking!”

Sarah, age 40, was born in North Philadelphia,
PA, and raised in Prince Georges County, MD.
“My parents were married in North Carolina
in 1963,” recalled Sarah. “In 1964, my mother
was thrown from her vehicle and became a
paraplegic. I am the youngest of five children,
and my oldest sibling was born with Cerebral
Palsy. At a young age, I became the personal
care assistant to my mother and sister, which
pulled me out of social assimilation.”
“Our family moved to the North Kensington
section of Philadelphia, where I was born
into deprivation. We had no hot water. My
mother, a functioning alcoholic (her mother
was a North Carolina “Bootlegger”), had
a nervous breakdown when she told her
psychiatrist that she would kill all of us and
herself. The psychiatrist told her not to rely on
her husband. My parents separated, and my
mom took us back to Maryland. I was doing
well in school, and as a teenager, my mother
even asked me to file for her divorce. Despite
all the turmoil, all her children went to college
and played piano. I attended Georgetown
University and received a master’s degree from
Virginia Tech.“
“In my late twenties, I did not like how my
mother drank. Her body was taken away
from her at a young age, and that is how she
managed to get through life. I still did not
drink. I got married at 24 and had my first
child at 26. We lived in Northern Virginia wine
country, and I desperately wanted to have a
family that my mother could not have. My
husband’s family was resentful of our interracial
relationship, but I put him through school and
purchased our house.”
“I began to drink with the encouragement
from my husband. He wanted me to ‘loosen
up’. We drank every night and had a rule that
‘shots’ would be done if you came into our
house. After ten years of marriage, he put me
out of my house. I came home one day, and
my children were not there.”
“I got an apartment, but could not maintain
it. I fell into hopelessness, but my ex-husband
moved on. In a momentary lapse of reason,
I got into a confrontation with his now exgirlfriend
and got arrested. I had been an
executive investment banker at Freddie Mac
and a vice president at Wells Fargo, and now I
had a criminal record and was homeless.”

“I spent my entire 401k on alcohol. All my life, I worked so hard to get what I wanted. I was always the one who got ahead. I went from a house to an apartment, a car, and a shelter. While attending Avenues Recovery Center on the Eastern Shore in Cambridge, MD, one day, I noticed a list including Helping Up Mission (HUM). I asked the counselor what HUM was, and they said, ‘I don’t know. It’s a men’s shelter. I immediately went to YouTube, found HUM’s channel, and found a video of Center for Women & Children Director Pamela Wilkerson doing a tour of the new facility. I decided to ‘Google Map’ the address and noticed the gigantic red heart on the next-door Ronald McDonald House roof. I immediately knew HUM was the place for me.”
“I spoke with Meaghan Yoho, Operations Manager. She warned me about the 60-day phone restrictions, and I told her that I was good with that. The next day, at 5 am, it was dark outside. The driver who dropped me off decided to check the building to see if we were at the right place, and we were!”
“I have learned that in order to stay sober, I have to face the things that I used to meet with the crutch of alcohol. I realized that I have to let things go, including all of the dread that led me to this point in my life. And I am being rewarded with much peace. I joined the Women’s Center Choir, ‘Voices of Praise’, and have been with Nikki Jones, Outreach Coordinator, and Choir Leader, since day one.”
“I am getting ready to start an internship with James Hill, HUM’s Director of Client Services. I look forward to helping other underserved clients get the help they need. Since I have been here, I have taken the LSAT test (in Workforce Development) and received a score that will allow me to pursue a law degree at the University of Baltimore. I have also taken and passed the National and State Real Estate exam. When it comes time to graduate from the Spiritual Recovery Program and get a job, Pam told me I would get her recommendation!“
“To the donors, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for the opportunity to have a life again. I was living out of a trunk in a life-or-death situation. The ability to choose life is such a wonderful blessing. Helping Up Mission takes the love and support of strangers, whom I now consider friends that loved on me until I could love myself. Thank you to the wonderful HUM staff and leadership for giving me the family I needed. And to my daughters, I speak to weekly – I Love You!”

Robert, age 49, was born in Washington, DC,
and raised in Forestville, MD. “My mom and
dad got divorced when I was two years old,”
recalls “Bobby.” “My mother remarried quickly,
and my new stepfather was an alcoholic. They
had no money, so I went to my dad for help
when I needed things. I spent every other
weekend with my religious dad, and he took
us to the Catholic church, which opened the
doors for Jesus in my life.”
“Elementary school went well, but I started
to goof off by middle school. My stepfather
would come home drunk from work, bust
things up, and yell at my mother. I could see
the worry on my mom’s face. Luckily, he never
took things out on us kids. At an early age,
I knew what the disease of addiction looked
like. At age 12, I moved into my father’s house
with my older brother. I did not know anybody
at my new school, and in 6th grade, I started
making people laugh to “fit in.”
“I tried smoking marijuana with my brother at
11 but hated it. By age 15, I enjoyed smoking
‘pot’ and drinking alcohol. I developed a love
for partying and meeting girls. Looking back,
all that I ever wanted to do was be liked.
Maybe it resulted from my father showing
more affection to my older brother. Whatever
the reason, I dropped out of high school, got a
job, and continued my desire to party.”
“My whole life became one big ‘frat party’
centered around alcohol and girls, and that is
what I did for the next ten years. In my early
30s, I realized I was doing too much cocaine,
but I couldn’t stop. I maintained my habit by
spending three to four hundred dollars every
weekend on ‘coke.’ I got married, and that
seemed to slow things down for a bit. We had
a daughter, and life was good for a year and a
half. That is when I realized my wife was not
the girl for me. After two years, we split up,
and our relationship was exactly like my mom’s
and stepfather’s!”
“By 35, I was back to my old ways. I met an
old girlfriend – ‘the love of my life’, moved
in, and bought a house. From 36 until 40,
I enjoyed the best years of my life. I had a
well-paying job and a calm and peaceful
relationship with my love. At 40, I had become
a ‘weekend warrior.’ I worked hard and played
hard. I began using Percocet to get high,
which correlated with casinos opening in
Maryland. I would spend every day gambling
at Maryland Live, and one day I won $32,600!

I burned through so much money buying
Percocet that my habit became an opioid
addiction. Having blown through all my
casino winnings, I turned to the cheaper
alternative heroin.”
“My love had enough. I started stealing
from retail stores and even my family to
pay for my habit. I eventually got arrested
for theft, but that did not deter me from
stealing. I was 47 years old, homeless, a
petty thief, and in and out of rehab. One
day I was in a halfway house after relapsing
and overheard some guys talking about
Helping Up Mission (HUM), “That’s where
you get your teeth fixed!” They said it was
a one-year program, and I immediately
knew that is what I needed to recover.”
“When I walked through HUM’s doors, I
instantly knew it was the place for me. The
campus was beautiful. As the days passed,
I realized how special this place was in
addressing mental, spiritual, and physical
needs. I went to the recovery classes
and fell in love with Mike Rallo, Director
of Spiritual Life, and Vic King’s (former
Assistant Director of Spiritual Life) unique
way of hammering lessons at you. All the
staff wants to help you.”
“I did not want to return to my job in
construction, so I transferred to the IT
department, taking classes with Byte Back
Baltimore. I learned computer skills that
I never had access to. After a year in IT,
I realized that was not my job choice.
Laura Scott, a former HUM counselor,
told me they were hiring a Spiritual Life
Coordinator. I applied, and Mike and Vic
hired me to work for HUM. Ninety percent
of my job is working with clients all day,
every day. I enjoy taking the men on
retreats and outings, but the thing I like the
best is talking to the ‘Seeds’ – men in their
first 45 days in the program. I listen to their
stories and get to witness their hearts.”
“HUM has given me sobriety, stronger
faith, a lot of grace, peace, serenity, and
a new career. I have created a new life
for myself and my kids, who are doing
fantastic. After all that I have put them
through, we have a great relationship and
talk all the time. I plan to ‘stick and stay’
at HUM, and we will see what the future
brings. “
“To the donors, not one cent of your gifts
is wasted. Every penny matters and is a true
blessing. You oil this machine called HUM
that blesses the clients, their families, and
the city of Baltimore every day. I hope to
see you all someday. Thank you!”

George, age 52, was born in Springfield,
Massachusetts, and raised in Atlantic City,
New Jersey. “Growing up, my father was never
around, so my mother raised me and my five
siblings,” recalls George. “My childhood was
rough. I got my first job at age 13, working at
a car wash. We all worked to help support my
mom and maintain our house. The six of us
kids worked so much that we all dropped out
of high school. I dropped out of school when
I was 15, even though I was an ‘A’ student. I
did not drink alcohol or use drugs growing up
because I was responsible and had to make
sure our bills were paid.”
“When I was 32, I realized how important
education was and enrolled in school for
Network Security. My life was going well, but
by 35, I started drinking heavily. And by 45, I
began to hit my ‘rock bottom.’ I was working
in Atlantic City in the construction industry. I
would work hard all day and drink all night.
Soon, I would have a beer for breakfast and
drink throughout the day. I was a functioning
alcoholic. I never lost a job because of my
drinking, but I started losing memories,
stopped eating, and began isolating myself
from my family and friends. At the time, I
did not accept my addiction even though
everyone kept telling me that I had a problem
with alcohol.”
“By 2021, things went from bad to worse. I
was drinking all day. I always hung out at and
attended Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in
Atlantic City. The nuns at the church were
trying to help and guide me. A guy named
Jorge, who I used to drink with, was grabbed
by Pastor Victor and taken to Helping Up
Mission (HUM) in Baltimore. Six months later,
Pastor Victor grabbed me and drove me to
Baltimore, where I entered HUM’s Spiritual
Recovery Program.”
“When I came through HUM’s doors, I was
scared and did not know what I was getting
myself into. They took me to Mercy Hospital
for detox, and when I returned, I spent the
next 30 days in the intake dorm. It was rough.
I could not walk because of the ‘shakes,’ I lost
a lot of memory, had a tough time eating, and
went through a period of ‘night sweats’.”
“I am a visual learner. I started to see HUM’s
potential – this is God’s House. I began
focusing on myself, praying, and learning
about HUM. Knowing where I came from,
I never thought I would become an intern,

staffing the 24-hour intake hotline. I am
giving back by talking to people needing
God’s Help. I tell prospective clients to
come in, I will be waiting for them, and I
will get them into treatment somewhere.”
“When I first came to HUM, we had a small
Hispanic community of around 10 men.
Today, we have over 40 Hispanic men in
the Spiritual Recovery Program. We offer
Spiritual Bible study, mental health classes,
a Hispanic choir, guitar lessons, Hispanic
AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) recovery
meetings, and 12-step classes. They can
take ESL classes and get their high school
diploma in our Learning Center. Our
Hispanic community is thriving, and we
look forward to helping more Hispanics in
the community!”
“I am honored to get the chance to be
a part of the support team that provides
outreach to the community. We get off
the bus and see people looking for help
while under the influence. They look like
I used to look! Along with drinks, snacks,
hygiene kits, socks, and hats, we provide
the homeless community – with prayers.
Whether we visit Dundalk, Fells Point, or
Brooklyn Park, we provide relief and human
touch. And if we bring one person back
with us, it is a miracle! One less person on
the streets.”
“I want to continue helping people
experiencing homelessness and addiction.
With the help of God, I want to do this for
the rest of my life. I am blessed that Pastor
Victor grabbed me from Atlantic City and
showed me a better life is available. Thanks
to Helping Up Mission, I own a wristwatch
for the first time and am getting my driver’s
license. I am regaining my strength and my
spiritual life back. I am so close to God.”
“To the donors, you are a blessing.
Knowing there are people like you who
will bless a stranger with clothes, food, and
everything they need, put me in a position
to be hired as HUM’s Intake Program
Coordinator. I am happy that I found a
new life and a new beginning. I thank God,
HUM, my friends at HUM, and you for
blessing my life.”

Brian, age 43, was born in Saint Petersburg,
Florida, and raised on Anna Maria Island, Fl.
“Growing up, I had a great family life with
loving and supportive parents,” recalls Brian. “I
was the youngest of four children – the baby of
the family. I was raised in a Catholic family and
developed a close relationship with God. From
kindergarten through twelfth grade, I attended
Catholic schools. I did not fit in with the
normal kids, so I spent time together with the
“loser” crowd. We were an antisocial bunch. At
age 16, I started smoking marijuana, tripping
on acid, and experimenting with other drugs.
At the time I was being bullied a lot and I did
drugs to escape reality. Drugs made me feel
good and fit in.”
“I graduated from high school and moved
to Orlando to attend Valencia Community
College. I met new friends and started
clubbing and experimenting with psychedelic
drugs. At the time, I thought that I was just
a normal kid. I got caught stealing from the
hotel I was managing, and my dad said,” Brian
you need to leave Orlando and move to my
work apartment in Georgia.” I met someone
and we moved back to Florida and got heavy
into drugs. My drinking got out of hand, and I
still did not know that I had a problem. When
the relationship turned sour, I moved away
to Colorado. There is where I was introduced
to black tar heroin and oxycontin. I started
noticing withdrawal pains and that is when I
finally realized that I had a problem!”
“I moved again! This time back to Georgia
to live with my sister. I quit heroin “cold
turkey” but started drinking heavily again. I
was introduced to methamphetamines and
injected daily. I soon lost everything, could not
pay my rent, and moved into a hotel. I was in
a horrible relationship of physical and mental
abuse. My cousin secretly got me, and I moved
back to Florida!”
“After a year in Florida, I got hooked on
opiates again and started “shooting up,” all
day and every day. My addiction went from
zero to a million. I spent the next four years
hiding my addiction from my family while
“shooting up” not to be “dope-sick.” I finally
came clean and asked my family for help. At
age 38, I had finally given up. I attended my
first 30-day program while on suboxone and
I became addicted to the medication. When
I started to experience withdrawal pains, I
immediately sought to relieve them through
heroin – the drug that they were supposed to

ease me from. I would spend another two
years addicted to heroin while going in
and out of 30-day programs.”
“At the age of 42, I went back to the
30-day rehab again. This time, I found
myself in legal trouble and knew that I
had to do something different. With the
help of the rehab and my parents, we
searched for a more permanent solution
and found the Helping Up Mission (HUM),
online. I saw what they had to offer, and
I knew that making such a commitment
was something I had never done before.
I needed to address my mental, spiritual,
and physical health issues. I purchased a
one-way ticket to Baltimore, left my dog,
and sought help!”
“My previous program was small, and at
first, being one of the 500 people that
HUM served was overwhelming. One day,
I was sitting alone while feeling depressed
because I did not know anybody. Another
client asked me to join the HUM Choir and
I nervously agreed. Before I knew it, I was
coming out of my shell! Through HUM’s
resources, I went hiking, on retreats to
Camp Wabanna, attended outside recovery
meetings, and enjoyed therapeutic art.”
“I spent the first two months of the
Spiritual Recovery Program assisting
in housekeeping as my work therapy
assignment. One day while signing thank
you notes in the Philanthropy department,
I asked Philanthropy Specialist Mike
Cannon if there were any opportunities
to help. The atmosphere was relaxed,
and I was brought over to be an
associate, answering calls, giving tours,
and cataloging gift-in-kind donations.
Thanks to my hard work, I soon became
the Philanthropy Intern. With increased
responsibility, I continued to attend my
wellness appointments, but I wanted
something more. I enrolled in online
classes at Southern New Hampshire
University to pursue my degree in
psychology with a minor in addiction
counseling. Even though I have graduated
from the program, I have decided to
stay at HUM for a couple of years while
finishing school and finding work.”
“It is a new year and I have been able to
reinvent myself! Thanks to you I have been
able to address mental health, obtain my
driver’s license, and get my teeth fixed in
the Dental Program. HUM has completely
changed my life by offering me much
needed help with compassion. After all
the times I spent in and out of 30-day
programs, I wish I had found this place
earlier! Because of you and HUM, I have
become a stronger person who can help
other people!”

“HUM is not just concerned about my addiction; they are concerned about the whole man.”

Jason, age 49, was born in Lodi, California. “I was born into a cult,” states Jason. ” One night, to escape, my parents grabbed me and my brother, loaded up the car, and headed out of town. From there we joined a church. I was in first or second grade at the time when my babysitter began to sexually abuse me. My dad was an alcoholic with a traumatic past. My parents had a traumatic marriage which was fraught with violence and anger. So I did not have a safe place where I could share about the abuse that was occurring.”
“The abuse lasted 5 years and only ended because of my older brother getting involved with drugs. And the only solution that my parents could produce was to pack us all up and move all the way across the country to New Hampshire. I would like to say that my trauma and abuse were dealt with, but that is not the case. It was simply a geography change.”
“In middle school, there were a couple of kids that spoke openly about their traumatic backgrounds, and they were ostracized for their courageous confessions. I wanted nothing to do with that and the seed of deception was sowed within me. I started to tell lies about my past. The lies worked so well that I lied increasingly until every part of my life was either hidden, manipulation, or deception. Growing up, being someone else was all that I wanted”
“I got married right out of college. With the pressure of being an adult, my first job, and being married my alcoholism really began. But my alcoholism really took off when I joined corporate America. I would entertain clients who loved to drink. So we drank a lot and often. When I was entering my forties, my father passed, and my childhood abuse came raging back. I slipped into depression and used alcohol to self-medicate. From the time that I was 40 until age 49 I drank around the clock. I was a 12-year-old boy functioning in a 49-year old’s body. My decision making, my relationships with loved ones and God, and dealing with my addiction were being managed by a 12-year-old boy. It was time to grow up!”
“I eventually checked into a 28-day program in Northern Maryland. We would have nightly meetings where folks would share that they have been coming to this place 28, 18, and 12 times. It was disturbing to me that this culture of relapse had invaded this sector of society. I met with my counselor and said, listen, I really love you, but I do not ever want to see you again. What do I do? And they said, ‘if you are serious about getting sober and addressing your story behind your story, you need to go to Helping Up Mission (HUM).’ I was sober for 5 weeks, severely overweight, battling the onset of diabetes, and terrified.”
“I showed up here with all those physical factors and wondered what I was getting myself into. My marriage was in a state of limbo. You are just looking at the scorched earth landscape of your life. There was nothing left to hold me back from today’s incredible level of freedom that my wife and I have. But my wife dove into our relationship. She dove deep into the Be A Loving Mirror (BALM) method of family recovery. Through BALM she was moved to deep compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Today, we are rediscovering one another and reexperiencing our marriage. We have experienced Christ in some extraordinary ways this year. Also, my daughters were able to come into themselves during this process. If they are angry or happy with me, we can have an honest conversation. Our relationships have an authentic, open dynamic that has allowed for healing. A highlight being when they both came to my graduation and cheered me on.”
“HUM is not just concerned about my addiction; they are concerned about the whole man. They connected me with a nutritionist and a primary care physician who quickly put me on a strict diet. They plugged me into a group of guys who were exercising daily. I was introduced to a partnering organization Back on My Feet (BoMF) that uses running to help people get back on their feet. When I came to HUM, I could not run one hundred yards. But two weeks ago, I ran a 10-miler! I have lost 154 pounds. My blood pressure is good, and my diabetes is gone. I have had a return to optimum health!”
“Salvation is a gift. We did nothing to earn it. We are completely in need of it, but the price tag is immense. In our walks with Christ, we must accept Him for who He really is. Just as I must accept myself for whom I really am. If I am brave enough, accept enough, and humble enough, what is next is going to be the pursuit of that in my relationships with my children, my wife, and God.”
“There are very few missions that are helping severely marginalized and broken people. HUM is a place where the Holy Spirit and Christ penetrate, change, and save lives. Thank you for supporting HUM. We see miracles here. The problems are immense, and the need is great. Thank you for being part of the solution!”

“I stopped hiding from God and started turning toward Him.”

Terri, age 58, was born in Montgomery County and then in and out of multiple foster homes. “I was in three foster homes. I was never in one place for too long,” she recalls. “I left my third foster home when I was 18 and lived in Mount Ranier, Maryland for a year before spending the next seven years in Oregon. I came back to Maryland and got a place of my own. I worked different jobs. I worked hard, played hard, and partied hard. I drank alcohol since I was 10. At 15, I started smoking marijuana which led to harder drugs. Using drugs was social to me. I enjoyed it.”
“15 years ago, my mom was dying, and I got deeper into drugs. My relationship fell apart. I lost my job due to a failing economy. A lot of things were happening at once. Instead of drinking at 5pm, I started drinking earlier in the day which turned into drinking all day, every day.”
“Eventually, I got a little clean time under my belt, was going to meetings and staying connected but I was working at Giant Foods and living in a recovery house where I was assistant manager. I was tired and working too much, so, I stopped going to meetings, and quit taking care of myself. After a while I was going through physical and emotional pain and there was a liquor store right there. Instead of telling people what I was going through and reaching out for help, I made the decision to take that one drink. My drinking snowballed and I drank more and more. My house manager finally called me out.”
“One day, I heard a friend of mine Tina speaking to her counselor about Helping Up Mission (HUM) being a spiritual program. I asked her what she meant, and she explained that it had to do with God. I have been hiding from Him due to my shame and guilt and I needed to turn back to HIM. I was crying for help!”
“The hardest part about coming to HUM was opening up about the scared little girl in me. I had so much shame, guilt, and a lack of trust. I did not open up right away, but when I did, I jumped in with two feet. I started to relax and want what was being offered. I found a sponsor and took advantage of the therapy that was being offered. My faith is getting a lot stronger every day. I stopped hiding from God and started turning toward Him.”
“Recovery is a process. It is slow healing, but I have tapped into the things that I have learned about myself. Where in the past I would not feel pain and stuff my feelings down, today I feel what I am feeling, understand what I am feeling, and share my feelings with people I trust. I am happier. I came in with a lot of guilt and shame, but today I am smiling! I am laughing! I am proud of myself today, because I have a relationship with the Lord, and I live with a family instead of in an institution.”
“I mean, I will never get used to getting up at six in the morning, but I am grateful to be here. It is not easy, but it is doable. And when you put in the work, before you know it, you are feeling better spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. And that is important because HUM is a safety net. They give you the tools, give you hope, and give you excitement for what you can do. I am surrounded by beautiful people here.”
Today, Terri is the first security peacekeeper in our Women’s Spiritual Recovery Program, and as far as her future goes, “I do not try to look too far ahead, because all my life I have had instability. As I trust in the Lord, my faith grows stronger, people have my back, and I try to do the next right thing. I just want to stay at HUM because I am welcome to do so, and I am so grateful for that. I want to stay focused on my recovery and work on Terri. I have a healthy better life and that is all that I want right now. I trust what I am doing because I want this”
“I encourage people like me to give themselves a chance. Come in through HUM’s door and you will be all right. There are people here who care, there is help, and there is love. There is so much for you to do at HUM that you can have a better life. Give yourselves a chance to live instead of existing!”
“To the people that make everything possible at HUM. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are kind, caring, and amazing! I would love to meet all of you in person and thank you, because you have changed so many people’s lives – the ones that have come before, the ones that are here, and the ones that are coming. We NEED this! Thank you!”

“I was tired of not knowing what HUM was about”

Allen, age 53, was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. “I grew up in East Baltimore, but at the age of 14, I was moved to one of the worst neighborhoods in West Baltimore and placed in foster care,” recalls Allen. “I understood what the “system” was trying to do. The move seemed great at the time. There were porch front homes. Kids had mothers and fathers. It was a healthier family setting. But, outside of those homes, the neighborhood had a “gang bang” type of mentality.”
“From age 12 to 16, I was just smoking marijuana. But, when I moved to East Baltimore, I started seeing guys shooting up heroin. The same guys were like ‘bosses’ of the neighborhood and you did not mess with them. I hung out with a gang of guys, and we made a pact. As long as we did not buy drugs to use, using was okay, because we equated addiction with guys that spent money on drugs. So, we took what we needed. Eventually, some guys figured out what we were doing. They said, ‘we know what you are doing. We think that you are a cool dude but keep taking from us and there will be consequences.’ I ended up forging friendships with a lot of them.”
“I began to navigate through my drug usage, through my addiction. Using was like a circuit, just repeating the cycle. Man, I was on that cycle until I was 46 years old! I always had a way out. I went through a lot of abuse as a child. I was ‘damaged goods.’ But I began to doubt my life. I love change and I started to wonder what it would take for me to change the way I was living. What would it take for me to find a way out of this wheel? I clearly said I need to find a way out!”
“The first time that I came to Helping Up Mission (HUM) in 2014, I got turned down at the door. One day, I decided that I was tired of not knowing what HUM was about. I entered the building and started looking around and ran into Kevin Healey, Director of Program Accountability. Kevin said, ‘I know you from somewhere!’ I told him that I had not been allowed into the program so many times that he recognized me from not letting me in. Without delay Kevin asked if I was ready. I did not intend to enter the program that day. But I felt that it was meant for me to be there.”
“I came in December 2014 and graduated Christmas Day 2015. I remember my first Christmas here. I was in Overnight Guest Services (OGS), and I had feelings about not having a home to go to for the holidays. But, this volunteer, a little girl, asked if I could use a. She was an angel and I still have it.”
“In 2016, I got into a relationship, and even though I was not ready to leave due to unfinished business, I left HUM. I had a job, a relationship, and a nice house with a peaceful front porch. Everything was so quiet. I felt like I was on probation, and I relapsed. I remember thinking of what might happen, what I would have to go through, and I decided to seek my recovery. I reentered HUM through the Johns Hopkins 9-1-1 program, but I did not surrender. I was trying to chase my old recovery.”
“One day, Pastor Gary Byers saw me and said,’ I knew that you would be back. Allen, you needed to be sold on the real joy of recovery.’ He nailed it! I surrendered, and today I love learning about myself. Pushing myself beyond what is dangerous or comfortable and being honest makes me free. Freedom today means not being prisoner to my old thinking, feelings, and emotions.”
“HUM has given me determination, better mental health, and better mental awareness. I earned certifications in computer fundamentals, Microsoft Word, and Excel. I have addressed my child support. I have also received my certification to become a Peer Recovery Support Specialist.”
“It has become obvious to me that there is a Higher Power. I have been in enough situations where it was not me, but Him who got me through it. When I first came back to HUM, I worked in housekeeping, but I felt like I wanted to do something more. I felt Him say ‘please be still. What I have for you will be for you.’ Shortly after I was asked to work with the Treatment Coordinator (TC) team. I get to help men in the program navigate and communicate with their TC’s. I had a lot of apprehension during my recovery, so I can help the guys coming in.”
“I have four kids and my relationship with them is wonderful. I came from a broken home, and it is important for me to help my kids break the chain of not having their fathers in the family. We are going to get through this together. “
“Thanks to the donors for their compassion. The guys around here are living, walking miracles. You are changing the world. I never thought that I could lead a happy life. At my age, when you come into recovery, you are masked up and uncomfortable. At HUM you can experience freedom and real Spiritual Recovery. Thank you!

Today Carla’s Room is Beautiful Again 

“I always had pretty walls and beautiful surroundings. Today my walls are beautiful again.” 

Carla, age 49, was born and raised in Cecil County, Maryland. “It was good being me as a little kid,” Carla recalls. “I did not like Barbie dolls and stuff like that. I was a tomboy, but my bedroom was really pretty. I had pictures of horses, puppy dogs, kitty cats, and arranged my closet in a rainbow. I was the oldest of three sisters and we were always together wherever we went. I was taught to protect my sisters. But when I was 8, I was sexually abused. I felt responsible for my sisters, and I thought that I was going to get in trouble. So, we did not tell anyone. I went into my room, and I remember ripping down all my pretty pictures. It became dark black and hard to understand. I had resentments and I did not understand why.” 

“I grew up as a rebellious little girl and when I was 12, I smoked marijuana. I told my family at the dinner table that I smoked ‘weed’ and what were they going to do about it? I was emotional, angry, and hurt. I did not know what to feel. I did not feel like I fit in, and as I grew older smoking ‘weed’ made me feel good. I started dabbling in other substances as I grew older. At age 18, I got pregnant before I graduated high school. I started drinking heavily and gained a lot of weight. I turned to drugs to lose the weight and when I was 24, I started using heroin. I quit drinking completely. The heroin made me feel okay, and it was controlling my weight.” 

“Heroin and incarceration eventually took me away from my family and my kids. When I was locked up, I was okay, but when I came home, I would continue to use drugs. I spent years back and forth like that. I overdosed on heroin 21 times and had to be revived with Narcan 21 times. Once again, I was in a real dark place.”  

One night, while waiting for drugs Carla was attacked by kids with baseball bats. “They beat me up really bad and I had to get rushed to a trauma center. The girl giving me my CAT scan recognized my name, but not my face. We went to high school together. She asked me if I wanted to get treatment and I said yes. I went to a treatment center, to a detox center, and back to a 28-day recovery program.” 

“When I was getting discharged from the 28-day program, I told the lady that I needed something more. I was homeless and destined to return to the methamphetamine lab that I was living in if I did not seek more treatment. I could not go to another month long, or even a six-month program. I needed something to transform my life and that is when she told me about Helping Up Mission (HUM).  

HUM puts together the spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of recovery. I never put those three things together. I enrolled, did my black-out period, and went back home to Cecil County to see my grandson. But when I got back home the same life pattern began and soon, I was isolating and not returning phone calls.” 

“Finally, Women’s Program graduate Cindy got a hold of me and asked me where I was. I told her that I was in Cecil County at my meth dealer’s house and that I wanted to come back. Please come get me! Cindy said, ‘I am on my way!’ When I came back, I had to go into another 28-day program which really helped me.  

“Most of the time my fear comes out in anger. So, if I am angry, it is because I am fearful, and I become protective. It leads me back to being a little girl and not knowing how to deal with that feeling. I do not want to be hurt again. Now, it is important for me to tell others how I feel. God has done a lot in my life, and He has surrounded me with people that love me and accept me. He loves me no matter what with His Grace and mercy. I call out to Him when I am troubled knowing the consequences could be death.” 

“I have hope now. I want to go to school for art. God did not give me this talent to just do nothing with it. I have a creative side and I like to express myself with color. I think creatively. Now I have a clear mind and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I can do art therapy to help little kids through traumatic experiences.” 

“HUM provides real friendships, real relationships, and real love. I am in a safe and healthy environment where all my needs are being met. It is life-transforming not having to want for anything. Without the donors’ love and concern this would not be possible. My sponsor Kelly is my beacon for teaching me the way she learned recovery.” 

At the end of the day the most amazing thing in Carla’s journey brings us back to childhood. “I always had pretty walls and beautiful surroundings. Today my walls are beautiful again. They are filled with things that I drew. It is serenity.” 

Mike, age 49, was born in the United States territory of Guam and moved to the U.S. at age 3.  Raised in a military family, his father a military doctor, Mike, often moved from place to place. The youngest of four children, he had a great childhood. “I was surrounded by all of my family’s good love. Everything was provided for us and then some. I grew up in a Christian home and believed in God whole-heartedly,” Mike remembers.

Regardless of his upbringing, Mike was never comfortable in his own skin. “I could be in a crowded room and feel all alone. I was popular, played sports, and had a good sense of humor, but none of that mattered. At the age of 13, I experimented with drinking. I discovered ‘liquid courage’, talked to the prettiest girl, and even kissed her. Because of the alcohol, I started throwing up, but I could not wait to do it again! I had so much fun.”

In school, I often heard ‘If you only applied yourself.’ In tenth grade I made the decision to ‘apply myself,’ and they were right my grades improved! The only problem was my drinking. I spent each summer after tenth grade in rehab. My mother would wait outside of church while I attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. My family recognized my problems drinking before I did. And when I finally did realize I would drink more to escape my reality.”

“I graduated high school and received a full scholarship to play soccer at the University of Delaware. After heavy partying during my sophomore year with other drugs, including hallucinogens, I was asked to leave. I was confused, lost, and scared with no direction. I knew that I could not return home. My father told me, ‘I cannot control you, but I can control my environment.’ So, I packed my bags and moved to Southern California which led me to crystal methamphetamines and better marijuana.”

“After ten years in California, I was facing serious charges related to my drug use. The crystal meth had me do things that I would never do. I had lost contact with my family due to shame and guilt, but I called my mother. She told me that ‘God had told her something bad was going to happen to me.’ She flew out for my court date and the judge acknowledged her for being there. He said, ‘I am going to drop all of the charges, but you have to leave California and check yourself into a long-term treatment program.’ I did just that and managed to piece together ten years of sobriety through 2015.”

“I was living in the Little Italy section of Baltimore in a long-term relationship with my girlfriend who was also an addict. She relapsed and I threw her out. After three weeks, I was so lonely that I found her, brought her back, and tried to help her. But I lost sight of my own recovery and started using again. One Wednesday night, I was walking my dog and noticed a large group of men entering St. Leo’s church and asked what they were doing. They were men from Helping Up Mission (HUM) going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting! I knew where I needed to go for my recovery and enrolled in the Spiritual Recovery Program for the first time in 2017.”

“I left after the 45-day (limited communication) blackout period. I soon lost my house which led me to being homeless on the streets. I came back to HUM in 2018 to detox and face new charges. Three weeks into the program, all my charges were dropped again! I knew that the hand of God came down in that courthouse and I believed that HUM was the place to provide me a safe, clean, and healthy environment.”

“HUM taught me patience. Through looking at other men in the programs and seeing what they could achieve gave me hope. If they could do it, then I could do it. I just needed to sit back and get out of my own way. I learned to try different things that the mission had to offer. Which resulted in me doing everything that I could sign up for like retreats at Camp Wabanna and equine therapy. I even was chosen to attend a retreat with Grace Fellowship at the Rockbridge Young Life property. We went hiking, horseback riding, and I met some good Christian men. It was a ‘gamechanger.’ Fellowship was what I was missing!”

“At HUM, I have gained self-love, self-acceptance, and healthy relationships. I have redeveloped relationships with my family. I spend as much time with them as I can. I have had cavities filled, tooth extractions, and even have had my hepatitis-c cured.  When I became work eligible I got and outside job. I was making money, but I felt that God had a different plan. I stared working in the Treatment Coordinator internship plan working with the new guys in the program. I could literally see the light go on in their eyes and watch HUM’s life-transformation begin. I showed up every day doing the next right thing which led to me being hired as the Philanthropy Coordinator.”

“I am going to continue to let God’s plan guide me and I invite you to come take a tour of HUM, with me, to see the Lord’s good work!