Scott C., age 61, was born in San Bernadino,
California. “My father was a civil servant in the
United States Marine Corps,” recalls Scott. “I was
raised in California but moved to Maryland in
grade school. My family was a normal, churchgoing, and two-parent household. My father
started to drink more when I was in my early
teens. Suddenly, he was distant and extra strict.”
“In high school, I was one of the ‘cool kids.’
I excelled in sports and played football,
basketball, and ran track. In track, I ran the
100-yard dash and still hold the Maryland state
class C record, which I set in 1979, to this day. I
loved running and knowing that I was the best.
I was not the best at basketball or football, but
I was the best at running. It was a natural high.
I graduated from high school and received
scholarships to run in college, but I did not
want to run anymore. There was no future in
running track, and I could not make a living.”
“During my second year at college, I attended
a job fair, and they offered me a job working
with individuals with disabilities. I took the
job, and they would pay me to go to school. I
worked so hard that I was too tired to attend
class and eventually dropped out. This is where
my drinking and drugging began. I started
drinking heavily, smoking marijuana daily, and
being introduced to cocaine. I had everything,
a job, a girlfriend, and a drug habit.”
“The crack cocaine epidemic hit in the late
eighties. The desire for more cocaine was
uncontrollable. I would stay up all night, start
to miss work, and along with my roommate,
we struggled to maintain the lifestyle. In 1989,
I recognized that this lifestyle was unattainable.
I still was not an addict, just a guy that had a
crack cocaine problem. In a moment of clarity,
I understood that change was necessary. I
needed to find a woman and settle down. I
met my wife, got married, and started a family.
We had four children.”
“I was still getting high but paying the bills. I
was functioning, and in my eyes, I was still not
an addict. I stopped smoking crack and started
snorting powdered cocaine. The cravings were
not as strong. I could run out of cocaine and
not be affected. In 2000, I started snorting
heroin to come down from the rush of cocaine.
Heroin helped me sleep at first but then grew
into a dependency. I thought I was still not an
addict. I was eventually turned onto fentanyl
when it hit the streets in 2018.”

In 2019, my son was in a bad car accident,
and the doctors prescribed opiates to
help him recover. He started to become
addicted to these pills. I warned him that
he comes from a family of addiction. My
father had seven brothers, and five of them
died from alcoholism. I tried to help him,
but he kept getting high. We were close,
and his addiction separated us. One day
in 2022, his girlfriend woke up and found
him dead from an overdose.”
“To deal with his death, I went crazy
drinking and drugging. One month later,
I had lost everything and was sleeping
in my car. I was an addict. At my lowest
point, I checked into a detox facility in
Chestertown, Maryland. I graduated from
the 30-day program, and a Peer Recovery
Specialist told me he knew of a perfect
place for me to go next, Helping Up
Mission (HUM) in Baltimore. I told him
that I was not going to anyplace called a
‘mission!’ He told me that it was more
than just a mission, and to prove it, he
was a graduate.”
“When I arrived at HUM, it was better than
I had thought. During my ‘blackout’ (45
days of limited communications), some
of the guys told me about the running
club Back on my Feet, and I joined as soon
as I came from the blackout. I had only
ever run sprints in the past, and I thought
running distances would be a mess. At
first, I would walk a mile, but now I can
do three miles without a problem. I lost
weight and lowered my cholesterol. Every
time a 5k race comes up, I am there and
will be running the 5k at the Baltimore
Running Festival on October 14th. When I
am out there running, I think of the past,
and I am just as happy finishing a race in
the middle of the pack as I was winning in
high school.”
“Today, having graduated from the
Spiritual Recovery Program, I am looking
forward to getting a job, my own place,
and everything I lost – except the drugs
and alcohol!”
“To the donors, thank you for helping me
and those like me. It is only through your
unwavering support that HUM is possible. I
feel like I am back on the starter’s line like I
was 18, but today I am starting LIFE!


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!”

Mike awoke in a state of confusion. He was lying in a hospital bed with wires attached to his chest and a tube down his throat. In time, he learned he’d been on life support for three days, the result of a heroin overdose.

This was not Mike’s first overdose. He’d struggled with addiction since the age of 19 and was used to surviving out on the streets. But this near-death experience grabbed his attention in a big way, and he began crying out to God for help and guidance. One week later, he was released to Helping Up Mission and joined our year-long Spiritual Recovery Program.

“At first, the length of the program scared me, you know?” Mike says. “But I was broken and spiritually bankrupt. And I felt like if I don’t trust God this time, I’m gonna die. Now, I am trusting in God’s will and I’m extremely hopeful.”

Mike has been at Helping Up Mission since January and is making tremendous strides in his recovery. Part of that is learning to see himself in a whole new light — to see what God sees.

“I don’t see myself as a castaway anymore,” he says. “That’s because the Mission sees me as a human being, not a number. And they’re teaching me to be a better man.”


Help more people like Mike today…

Mike’s moving story of hope and healing is made possible because YOU care. And he’s not alone. Through our Spiritual Recovery Program, hundreds of men and women are receiving the guidance and love to change their lives forever. Please give today to help more people like Mike experience a brand-new life in Christ! 

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.”

“I felt like I was just a waste of a life,” Billie-Jean recalls. For years, the mother of two had struggled with a drug addiction she couldn’t shake. And while she’d tried different rehab programs, deep down she knew something was missing.

Billie-Jean realized what that “something” was when she saw the change in her boyfriend, who had recently graduated from Helping Up Mission’s Spiritual Recovery Program. “I saw the transformation firsthand,” she says. “And realized that what was missing from my life was the spiritual aspect of recovery. I needed more than just rehab.”

From her very first day at HUM, Billie-Jean felt at home because she “could tell the staff genuinely care.” She entered our Spiritual Recovery Program comprised of expert counseling, Bible studies, life-skills classes, recovery classes, work therapy, health and wellness, and much more. And today she feels like a brand-new woman.

“God has totally lifted the desire for drugs from me, just took it away.”

Billie-Jean is forever grateful for the new life she’s been given and for caring people like you who support our Center for Women & Children.

“Before I came to Helping Up Mission, I was empty,” Billie-Jean says. “At HUM, not only did I find help with my addiction, but they’ve made me feel like a woman with a purpose in life. Now I know when God’s number one in my life, nothing is impossible.”


Help more people like Billie-Jean today…

Billie-Jean’s story of hope and healing at HUM is incredible… and made possible by you. Our Spiritual Recovery Program offers men and women (including mothers with babies) the guidance and love to change their lives forever. Give a gift now to help more people like Billie-Jean experience a second chance and a new way forward in life! 


Josh, age 38, was born and raised in
the Westchester, Pennsylvania suburb of
Philadelphia. “My family was not the best,
but not the worst,” Josh reflected. “As a child,
I never wanted anything. As an only child, I
often experienced loneliness, sadness, and
selfishness. Looking back on my childhood,
I realize that these were characteristics of
an addict. Seventh grade was rough, kids
started picking on my fashion. At the time, my
mother was on drugs and my stepfather was
a functioning alcoholic. We could not afford
nice clothes. Out of frustration, I started to
act up in school which might have been a cry
for help. Around this time, I began smoking
cigarettes and had my first drink. My friends
and I poured a bunch of different alcohol to
make a “screwdriver.” It was 100 degrees that
day and at first, drinking felt good, but soon I
was throwing up.”
“Shortly after, I started smoking marijuana.
When I was in high school, I would smoke
every day before, after, but sometimes during
class. I started experimenting with more drugs
including PCP and Ecstasy. Using drugs was
fun. I got behind in my studies and eventually
graduated from high school. At the time, I
was living with my grandma and began going
to trade school to learn about computers.
But I was living another life, selling drugs and
running with the wrong crowd. Trade school
started off well, but I was lost, and my head
was in a cloud. I ended up dropping out.”
“In 2006, I had a daughter, and soon my life
was spiraling out of control. I had a child while
I was a child myself. On Father’s Day, I smoked
crack cocaine for the first time, and I loved it.
In 2007, on the day after the fourth of July, I
experienced a Divine intervention. While in the
shower feeling terrible, something told me to
call my mom. At the time she was sober, and
she told me to come back home. I ended up
going to my first rehab and things were going
well, but I was not ready to quit my lifestyle.
Crack had a hold of me. The things that I
learned at that rehab stuck with me and for
the first time in my life, I felt guilt and shame
for using.”
“In 2015, my daughter was diagnosed with
cancer. No matter what the excuse, good
or bad, I would turn to drugs. This is when
alcohol got its grip on me – the only drug
that I could never put down. In 2016, I was in
another rehab in Philadelphia – The Salvation
Army. For eight and a half months, I managed

to get through the program while my
drinking continued. When they finally
caught me drinking, I was kicked out.”
“My real father was born and raised in
Baltimore and was running a recovery
program on the west side of the city. New
place but the same story. Alcohol still had
a hold on me, but I was doing so well that
I applied to go back to school. To celebrate
my acceptance, I had one drink, and that
one drink would turn into the roughest 3
years of my life.”
“Cheap vodka would become drugs and
other programs. In December 2019, I was
sitting on a couch in a room that smelled
and was full of cockroaches. How did my
life get to this point? I was “dope sick,”
homeless, and had nowhere left to go.
‘God, please take away this feeling!’ God
answered my prayers, and I woke up the
next morning. It was cold and I had $17 in
my pocket. I knew that rehabs worked, but I
needed to go to detox. I ended up at Mercy
Hospital and slept well for the first time in
a while. The next day, they asked me what
I wanted to do. I exhausted all my options
and called Helping Up Mission (HUM).”
“The next morning, I took a brisk, cold walk
to HUM. When I arrived, I had nothing,
and the mission was packed with people. I
wondered how I was going to be able to get
through this. I began to struggle and called
my mom and she said, ‘if you don’t do this,
act like I do not exist and lose my number.’
I knew she wanted me to stay. Soon, God
started putting people in my life. Reggie
Harrison, HUM’s Transportation Manager,
started taking me to church and I began to
get rest. The choir director asked me to sing
a solo at Friday’s graduation, which helped
me get over my fear of public speaking.”
“I began noticing people having success.
I began to commit to doing things like
going to spiritual retreats. I joined a group
called Brothers in Prayer and met fellow
like-minded graduates Demetrie, Lavell,
and Steven. I became an intern at HUM’s
barbershop, which helped me get ready for
outside work. I applied for a job and got
it! I worked hard and bought a car. I was
able to pay off my past student loans, so
I applied for college and got accepted at
UMGC! After this past semester, I have been
asked to join the school’s honor society.“
“My cousin ran into my daughter and
her mother and asked them to give me a
chance. This past Christmas, my daughter
asked if she could spend time with me,
and she did. My life was being fulfilled
and when Demetrie moved out of HUM, I
realized that so could I.
Today, I have my own place. It is not the
easiest, but I have peace and serenity. My
family is proud of me. I have gone from
selfish to selfless.

Tim, age 33, was born and raised in
Catonsville, Maryland. “I had a good family,”
recalls Tim. “When I was five years old, my
younger brother was born with Muscular
Dystrophy. I give my family a ton of credit. My
parents attended every concert and sporting
event. But the family dynamics changed
dramatically, and it was hard to watch my
brother struggle. I did well enough in school
to get a full scholarship to UMBC to pursue a
degree in astrophysics.”
“The first time that I used drugs was when I
smoked marijuana for my 18th birthday. My
first drunk happened at age 19 while attending
UMBC. Drinking was an exciting culture to
enter for me. Until then, I would play Risk and
make smoothies with my high school friends
for entertainment. I got a job at Tersiguel’s
French Restaurant in Old Ellicott City during
my first year. The restaurant industry was a
good fit for me. I had the natural charisma
to make personal connections and became a
good waiter. I started smoking marijuana 2-3
times a day. I worked while high.”
“During my junior year in college, I was
suspended for smoking marijuana. I
experienced a general malaise and decided to
switch majors to political science. While my
friends were willing to do anything to be the
best in astrophysics, I was willing to be the
best at work. I gave up real relationships to
work 60 hours a week. In 2014, I was doing so
well at work that I dropped out of college. At
Tersiguel’s my responsibilities started to pick
up, I studied to become a sommelier, and I
loved it. “
“In 2015, I was driving home from Richmond,
Virginia, and got pulled over for a DUI. I was
partying nightly to the point of blacking out.
Recognizing the legal ramifications of my
crime, I knew that I had to get sober fast. I
entered an outpatient facility in Columbia,
Maryland called Kolmac. I attended Alcoholics
Anonymous meetings and for the next 18
months, I was sober. I bought a house, moved
in with my girlfriend, and got a cat.”
“On July 30, 2016, I was working as the
General Manager of Tersiguel’s. It was a
beautiful night, and the restaurant was
bustling. I was in the cellar when the windows
caved in, and water rushed into the building. It
was like a scene from the Titanic. I thought that
if I could save one box of our most expensive
wine that it would not be a total loss. The

2016 historic flood of Ellicott City had just
destroyed the main street. It was traumatic.
The whole community responded well
and in October we were reopening, and a
coworker offered me a beer. My boss asked
me if I was making the right decision and
for the next three months everything went
fine, until it was not. I began hanging out
with an older crowd and was introduced to
cocaine. Soon I lost my job, my girlfriend,
my house, and my cat. It was my first taste
of “rock-bottom.”
“My mental health quickly deteriorated.
I placed the blame on everyone else
but myself. I ended up in psych wards
and hospital beds for self-harm. I still
did not recognize my addiction. At the
age of 29, and full of shame, guilt, and
embarrassment, I moved back home with
my parents. Once again, things started
going well. I got a job in politics knocking
on doors for a candidate. In 2020, the
COVID pandemic hit, and the candidate
I worked for dropped out of the race.
Suddenly, I was collecting unemployment
without a job for the first time since I was
15 years old. “
“I got a new job at a restaurant in
Catonsville. Around this time, some of
my friends died from their addictions. I
stopped using drugs as a result, but I kept
drinking every night. In May 2021, I got
my second DUI. This time I was unable to
stop drinking and my worried friends held
an intervention. The brother of one of my
friends graduated from Helping Up Mission
(HUM) in 2008. My parents gave me an
ultimatum check into HUM or leave the
house. My mom dropped me off the next
day and I entered the lobby with nothing
but a few dollars.”
“At first, I would ask myself what am I
doing here? I started hanging out with a
good group of guys that were done with
the grind of addiction. So, we started
to grind out our recovery by going to
meetings, doing step work, and getting
a sponsor. I completed my training to
become a Certified Peer Recovery Coach.
I joined the HUM Trail Team. I attended
Camp Wabanna. If a life-enrichment
opportunity were made available to me, I
would take advantage of it. Now I work as
an intern for our Workforce Development
Program. I love being able to help people
who are trying to reenter society get the
documents they need for success. Nobody
comes to HUM on a winning streak, but
we can help give them faith to rejoin the
“Thanks to the donors for making HUM a
safe place for me to reflect, rebuild, and
rediscover the things that make me happy
and sober. I have rekindled my love of
playing the steel drum with the HUM Choir
& Band and the music is coming back to
me. I am going to stick around, finish my
IT certification, and save for my future.”

Dashawn never imagined she’d be in a battle with addiction. But when her mother passed away suddenly, she found herself turning to alcohol to ease the pain.

“I was hurting and I was coping with the alcohol,” she says. “It was my solution. I started drinking more and more as a way of grieving, and I went from being a social drinker to an addict.”

In time, Dashawn started missing work because of the drinking. She eventually lost her job, and soon after she was evicted from her home. At her lowest point, she was living out of her car.

“I’d been to detox a couple of times,” Dashawn says. “But I wasn’t getting the help that I needed and things were just getting worse. My brother told me about Helping Up Mission’s women’s center and said I should check it out.”

Because Dashawn had seen the amazing transformation her brother had made through our men’s program, she arrived full of hope.

“Before coming to Helping Up Mission, I felt like I’d lost everything,” Dashawn says. “But here I felt loved – they really cared and treated us with kindness. Now, I’m doing very well and have been sober and clean for over two years.”

Upon graduation from our Spiritual Recovery Program, Dashawn took a part-time job at our Center for Women and Children, and today she holds a full-time position as a transportation coordinator, making sure our residents get to doctors’ appointments, dental check-ups and the like.

“HUM has been a safe haven and a safety net for me,” Dashawn says. “They supported me from my worst to my best.”

Help more people like Dashawn today…

Dashawn’s story of hope and healing at HUM is incredible… and made possible by you. Our Spiritual Recovery Program offers men and women the guidance and love to change their lives forever. Give a gift now to help more people like Dashawn find a second chance and a new way forward in life!

You Gave Dashawn a Safe Haven… and Hope! 1