The Book of Matthew Now Includes Recovery and a Job
Matthew was so deep into his heroin addiction that he was sleeping under a bridge in Lansing. He wasn’t alone. His friend of many years had followed the same path to that bridge until death came knocking at his door.
In the black of night, someone alerted Matthew that his friend was not moving. “I went over to him and I found he was dead. He’d overdosed and had been there a few days,” said Matthew. “At that moment it clicked in me to stop and get help, so I said a little prayer to God.”
Matthew took a leap of faith and came to Grand Rapids to get clean. While he was in detox, it was suggested he try Guiding Light’s Recovery Program for men. With his friend’s death, he was looking for a real opportunity to get sober after years of relapsing. “I went down pretty far on the scale with heroin. I was at a point where I was bankrupt spiritually, emotionally, mentally and financially.”
He underwent the probationary period and was fully accepted into the program. A major part of the Guiding Light’s Recovery program is intense self-exploration through daily individual and group therapy sessions. These therapy sessions are designed for meaningful self-reflection that is meant to guide men in their path toward lasting recovery.
Matthew said counselors can sense when you’re not being honest. “They would give me feedback. And sometimes I got feedback I didn’t like at first, but when I took a look at it, it helped me work on changing my behaviors to better myself.”
There are several focus points of Guiding Light’s program that correlate; honesty, willingness to change, spiritual curiosity, vulnerability, and self-compassion. Matthew was asked to give a presentation on self-compassion during group therapy as a way to begin thinking critically about his actions surrounding his addiction.
“That was hard. I gave three presentations. One was about where I am currently in my recovery. The next was on what I think I’ve changed and the last was on what I think I need to work on. This experience was rewarding because I’ve never stood up in front of people and told my life story before.”
Matthew is grateful for having a network of people to support him in his recovery. He said he’s learning to get through difficult emotional times and overcome the fear and anxiety that led him to use in the first place.
“I’ve never heard or seen a program like this; it’s very unique. They don’t make you change but they do try to help you change from within. This program is much more than about just not using. It’s about changing my life, changing my attitudes, my behaviors and the way I think,” said Matthew.
Matthew spent five months at Guiding Light and has since moved on from the Recovery program. He hopes that by telling his story he will open the door for others to get the help they need. “I’m a recovering addict but I’m much more than that. I truly believe God guided me to Guiding Light.”
THIS MEANS THAT ANYONE WHO BELONGS TO CHRIST HAS BECOME A NEW PERSON. THE OLD LIFE IS GONE; A NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17