“I was a negative, angry, violent, depressed individual.”
Dean Lynch, 45, came to the UGM Men’s Shelter on December 27, 2011 after losing his job, his truck, his apartment, his girlfriend…and his mind.
“I was having what I call violent episodes…I would snap, and I really wouldn’t know what I was doing at the time. Eventually, I would come out of it, like a tunnel vision where I would look around and see the devastation I had caused…I was scared I was going to kill somebody.”
I was ashamed, and you lifted my head.
Christian James was once interviewed for an article in Salon Magazine entitled, “Nazi Family Values: Chewing the fat with a white-supremacist mom and her 6-year-old daughter at an Idaho barbecue.” Christian was married to leader Richard Butler’s right-hand man and lived on the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden, Idaho. She helped organize swastika-waving rallies through downtown Coeur d’Alene and taught her young daughter the Nazi salute. When a lawsuit bankrupted the Aryan Nations, Christian and her family moved into a homeless shelter in Bonners Ferry. Later, the buildings on the compound, including the home where they had lived, were burned and bulldozed to create a peace park.
Eight local business leaders recently participated in UGM’s Engage! work seminar on how to keep a job and earn a promotion. They spoke to... Read More >
Recovery is impossible...
- if you don’t believe you have a problem
- if you refuse to look at the problem
- if you blame someone else for the problem or
- if you minimize the extent and effects of the problem.
All of these scenarios are forms of denial.
See notes of thanks and amazement from UGM's Life Recovery program. God moved the mountains. God spoke to the heart of the people. God opened the door...
As part of her recovery, Dionne Varney needed to find a new career. Before coming to Anna Ogden Hall, she spent 14 years in the adult entertainment industry
“My exterior has nothing to do with my heart.”
Zachariah’s story is written in ink all over his body. His mom died when he was 12. The tear drop under his eye is for her. He never knew his dad. At 13, the gang became Zachariah’s family. The 1 and the 8 scrawled on top of his head mark him as a member of the 18th Street gang, a distinction he cannot easily escape. He’s been to prison three times for drugs, guns and stealing cars. “Sinful nature” is inscribed in fancy script on the left side of his head, and on his forearm, a little blue devil stands on a bed of skulls.
In the waiting room of the law office where she now works, Gigi Leger described her old approach to life: “What I struggled with and what sent me into a downward spiral is feeling I had to be me-dependent, that I owed my daughters a certain standard of living that I had to provide, and I had to own anything that could go wrong. What that ended up meaning was me living beyond my means, trying to control everything, trying to be the sole-provider, operating in crisis mode because I was making a lot of bad judgment calls and then failing dismally and really beating myself up about it…I felt like I had to do it all on my own.”
Gigi graduated in June from the Union Gospel Mission’s recovery program at Anna Ogden Hall. During her program, she completed a business practicum at Casey Law Offices and was subsequently hired as a legal assistant. A single mom for most of her adult life, Gigi was used to managing on her own. The most difficult part of recovery, she said, has been admitting that she needs help.
Barely over 5 feet tall with red hair, Gigi has a lot of spunk and is quick to laugh at herself. Even when she was at her lowest, she said, she wouldn’t admit she needed help. “Of course, I was like, I don’t need an 18-month program. I just need to get a job. I just need to get back on my feet.” During the orientation for Women’s Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall, however, she realized that while she could probably do that, “I can guarantee that inside of six months, I’d be right back where I started because something was fundamentally broken in me.”
Gigi decided to seek healing for what was broken and joined the recovery program. “I had ah-ha moments all the time. One of the biggest ones . . . and these things when they happen are like earth shattering almost, but they’re kind of no-brainers, too. Another resident was talking about how far they had come and how long they had been clean, and I remember thinking, I can’t do it. There’s no way that I will ever be strong enough to live the life that I’m supposed to lead. And then, just out of the blue, it came to me . . . I don’t want to say it was God talking, but clear as a bell, it was like, ‘Bingo! You’re right. You can’t, and you don’t have to.’ That’s the whole point.”
Gigi’s move from me-dependence to God-dependence centered on a favorite Bible verse – Jeremiah 29:11. “It was like a mantra,” she said: “God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. He knows what He’s doing. I’ve opened myself up to His guidance, and I need to trust that He does have plans to prosper me.”
While many pieces of Gigi’s life are falling into place – she has her own apartment, a job with a company she loves, and she’s reunited with her daughters – she also emphasized that God-dependence is a daily choice: “I’m the same person I was going in. I have the same human frailties. I have the same temptations. You know, that broken world is not going to go anywhere. It’s still there, but I know I have the tools to handle it now. I know what my frailties are. It’s sort of like being God-dependent has put a beacon on those pot holes. I know where they are, but I also know where to find the answers. I know where to find my strength. It’s in the Lord.”
"But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself." – Psalm 49:15
Editor's Note: This blog post is from 2012, the year after Candice finished UGM LIFE Recovery. Today, she is working as the UGM Resource Coordinator. If you call for a pick-up of donated items, chances are pretty good you'll be talking to Candice.