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2 min read

Lose the Label: Druggie

By Merrily Brast, UGM Staff Writer

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There was a time when Chris Turner had his life together. He kept out of trouble and was confident in his career.

Then he got laid off. And a chain reaction was set in motion. “I just kind of gave up hope. I spiraled completely out of control.” Chris started using drugs, then selling them, and got in trouble with the law.

Facing charges in Boise and Spokane for grand theft and possession of a stolen vehicle, Chris' lifestyle caught up with him.

 

Need for Change

“Right before I got arrested, I found out I was having a son. And while in jail, I knew something needed to change. I had a kid on the way, and I just couldn’t continue down that path.”

In jail, Chris gave his life to Christ and changed his trajectory.

Upon his release, he knew he couldn’t simply go back to the same people and lifestyle of the past. He was told to go to UGM during his probationary period.

“My thought was Oh great, a homeless shelter.

But when he got to the Men’s Shelter, someone told him about the recovery program.

“I was like, okay, maybe I need something like that, but I have a kid on the way. I need to just get a job and start providing for this kid.”

It took relapsing to convince Chris that he needed recovery first. He came back to the Mission and joined UGM LIFE Recovery.

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An Obstacle to Overcome

Chris was settling into UGM and felt like he was where he needed to be.

But several months into the program, his past mistakes resurfaced.

“I had five years of probation in Idaho…But [Idaho and Washington] have an interstate compact where you can transfer your probation from one state to another. The year I was on probation [in Spokane], my probation officer was telling me, ‘It’s not going to be a problem, they’ll transfer it.’”

Chris was also told, however, that, with regard to the interstate compact, Washington denies 100% of pleas from individuals staying at a homeless shelter.

Chris still sent in his request.

“It was scary. I was pretty much packing my bags ‘cause I thought I had to go back…Go back to a place I’ve never lived before…start all over.”

After several pleas, Olympia finally approved the transfer. But that was only the first step. Next, Chris had to gain approval in Spokane.

“I went down [to talk to the probation officer]. She said, ‘Usually we don’t approve transfers to homeless shelters.’ She didn’t understand why it was even on her desk.”

The possibility of approval seemed doubtful. Until the probation officer visited Chris.

“She came down here and I showed her around…she was just in complete awe. She saw the support. She saw the VocEd Center…that everything was really structured and professional. And she saw my attitude, too. I was just really positive. I was confident.

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“She told me right then, ‘I don’t need to see anymore, I will sign off on this. You’ll be the first one that we accept into a homeless shelter from out of state.’”

Now, Chris is in phase 4 of LIFE Recovery, working on his business practicum. The time away from his son, who is now two, has been difficult, but Chris believes he’s creating a better life for both of them.

“This is a small price to pay for a lifetime of me being a good dad and being there for him.”

 

 

 See what  Chris' probation officer saw. Get an insider's look of UGM's shelters.

Schedule a tour at one of our locations. Click here >>

 

 

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