Paul Bashore grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Along with his 3 siblings, he was raised by both parents.
“I had a good childhood,” says Paul. “In high school, my friends were older than me. When I reached 11th grade, they all graduated so I dropped out of school.
“When I quit going to school, my parents gave me the choice of getting a job and paying rent or moving out. I chose to move out. That same year I started drinking with my friends. After my first drink, I said, ‘More, more, more!!’
“Over the next few decades, I drank heavily and moved around the country. I had a job selling basketball hoops to schools and recreation centers all over the western states. After 10 years of that job, I got tired of travelling and living in hotels.
“I settled down with a job and starting dating a girl who was big into cocaine. For the next 3 and a half years, I did cocaine and alcohol every day. I got my first DUI when I was 35 years old. I broke up with my girlfriend and moved back in with my parents. For three years in a row, I got a DUI each year.
“After my third DUI, I went to a rehab program for the first time and was introduced to AA. I stayed in the rehab program for 5 months but relapsed a month after leaving the program.
“I spent the next few years working at a motorcycle shop and drinking every evening and weekend. When the motorcycle shop closed in 2011, I started hitchhiking around the country and eventually ended up in a men’s shelter in New Orleans. I was in their program for a year and a half before I decided to start a journey.
“I scrounged up money for a train ticket to Atlanta and started hiking on the Appalachian trail with the intention of hiking to Maine. I started my hike on April 13, 2013. I soon discovered that all of the hikers would drink around their bonfires in the evenings. I started with just a drink or two but I soon realized that this lifestyle wouldn’t work well for me.
“I called my Dad from Bristol, TN and told him that I wanted to work on my sobriety. He gave me money for a bus fare to Baltimore so I could look for help. When I got to Baltimore, I needed a shelter to stay for the night so I came to Helping Up Mission.
“When I first arrived at the Mission, I was confused by what I saw. HUM looks nothing like what I was used to after seeing shelters all over the country. I had been expecting to see guys lined up with liquor bottles outside of a run-down building.
“My first night at the Mission, I stayed as an overnight guest. I noticed that HUM had a Spiritual Recovery Program and had an admissions interview. The more I saw, I thought that this seemed like the place for me.
“I quickly grew to love the program. I liked the structure and spirituality of it. I started attending AA meetings and that was very helpful to me.
“I heard that HUM offered a program to help men get their High School Diploma. I set to work immediately and got my diploma as soon as I was able to.
“After that, I heard about the opportunity to go to college. I knew that I’d deeply regret it if I didn’t take that opportunity. I’m currently studying at CCBC and eventually want to be an art therapist. Art has always been a big part of my life. Art therapy will allow me to combine art with my love of teaching. Being an art therapist requires a Masters Degree but, I decided if I go to school, I might as well shoot for the stars and go the whole way!
“I am an intern at the Mission working in the Innovative Learning Center. I oversee the computer class, supervise the learning center, do all the scheduling and help guys earn their diploma. I’m blessed to not only have earned my diploma but now I get to help other guys achieve the same thing!
“I always lived by myself but living in this therapeutic community helps me. It is an encouragement to be around other people like me. You see what not to do and you also see guys helping each other and moving forward. It’s so good to have a community of people who are in sobriety and helping each other. “
“My life is awesome today. Jesus Christ is number one in my life. After that, I am focused on school, family and helping others. I see blessings all around me and am overwhelmed with them.”