Recently, five men completed the UGM LIFE Recovery program. Each came to the Mission broken and found healing. These men shared about their journeys at a celebration for their completion; the following are excerpts from their speeches.
“Addiction did not bring me to the Mission. What brought me to the Mission was my brokenness in life. The addiction was only a way to cope with much bigger issues of fear, incompetence, and false beliefs.
“I can’t express enough how much this program has meant to me. The fact that I have finally received the unconditional love and acceptance I have sought, even though I never believed I deserved it, is by far the thing that means the most to me.
“The most important thing this program has taught me is I do have what it takes. I also have learned how to show up with integrity, and what the Lord defines a man should be and how to act on this definition, not society’s definition.” –Jake Moorhead
“Multiple times in my young adult life, I attempted to chase this allusive phantom, also known as the “American Dream.” Craftily manipulating myself and everyone I came into contact with as I would begin my ascent up the corporate ladder. I’d start families, relish in my status and success of trivial accomplishments in a perverted effort to gain a sense of control over my life…just to watch everything come crumbling down in the blink of an eye… Like clockwork, every 2-3 years for well over a decade, self-destruction would be in order, the detonator was likely the use of drugs or alcohol…
“In program, I needed to walk through some key wounds...the pain of rejection and abandonment from my childhood. The little boy inside had a huge father wound. I also had to acknowledge the truth about myself and how I was living my life...I acquired the tools necessary to do life in a healthy way. I learned that life isn’t meant to be done alone and that I don’t have to be the best when there is plenty of opportunity to make others around me better. Today, I can confidently say that I’m not proud of the choices I’ve made in the past, but I’m humbled by the man I am becoming. Today, I experience freedom. Today, I have hope for the future…” –Eric Samuels
“Atop my alcohol addiction, what ultimately brought me through the East Door of the Union Gospel Mission was God and His infinite wisdom to teach me that I am not meant to go through life alone.
“With that said, my people skills have greatly improved. With some fine tuning, I have learned to connect and what connectedness does for healthy recovery.
“Building a relationship with God the Father and rebuilding a relationship with my daughter, Lilyanna, has meant the most to me…
“Stepping out of my comfort zone and taking risks, with risk there is growth and growth there is change – that is a lesson I will continue to work on.” –Tim Whipple
“I was always trying to people please to gain acceptance. When I didn’t get accepted, I didn’t feel acknowledged, that led me further into my addiction to drugs and alcohol. I really didn’t know how to set healthy boundaries. When I didn’t set healthy boundaries, I would get taken advantage of and would feel resentful. This also drove me further into my addiction. As a result of feeling disrespected and taken advantage of, I would get angry and critical. I will work on not being so critical and being open-minded and having a teachable attitude and spirit, the rest of my life.
“This program has really opened my eyes, and now I have the tools to live a healthy life and to always evaluate myself and address issues in life that come up.
“I have learned through God’s eyes that I can do anything through Him and I am good enough. Also, to take risks and to be honest and ask for help and not be ashamed when I fail.” –Jeff Taylor
“From Renton, Washington, Mom and Dad divorced at three, and the impact that had on my life wasn’t really understood until recently, I constantly felt alone. I was the person who felt alone in a large group of people. I never understood why. Sports, primarily baseball, helped me escape that feeling. I played baseball until my freshman year of high school. I absolutely loved it. It was what I talked about and dreamed about. It was my life. Summer break before sophomore year, I started smoking pot. By the time school started, I was already using cocaine, smoking crack, taking ecstasy, mushrooms, Adderall and anything else that was in front of me. All of this temporarily made the feeling of being alone go away. Just a couple months into sophomore year, I dropped out of school and never played baseball again.
“By 19 years old, I was primarily using the prescription pain medication, OxyContin, and by the time I was 21, I was a convicted felon.
“This is the place I decided to stop running and get real with who I am and change the trajectory of who I will become. I’ve learned it’s okay to fail because it will happen. It’s what you do with that failure that matters. I’ve learned that broken relationships can be healed… I’ve learned I’m not alone. I have people in my life that are in this fight with me. Most of all, I have Jesus.” –Kevin Schmieder
The men, women, and children coming to UGM have incredible stories! Read more of them in our newsletter.