Derek is 27 years old and a recent client of Guiding Light’s Recovery program. He works full-time and lives at our sober-living apartments called Iron house. Thispast year and a half, Derekhas been in recovery afteryears ofsevere alcoholism and drug addiction.“About 18 months ago I was a broken person in pretty much all aspects of my life,” he said. “I was financially broken, my self-image was broken, I was spiritually broken. I didn’t have love for myself or anyone else.” Derek recently had a chance to put his name on the wall of sobriety at Guiding Light, which signifies that he has successfully made it through the Recovery program, has achieved a year of sobriety, and is well on his way to long-term recovery.
You could describe Derek’s journey in sobriety over the past yearas a processoftransformation. It has been an arduous undertakingto have the will anddetermination to pick up the pieces of his past and to foster the willingness to make a new life for himself. Derek recently shared, “The Japanese have an art form called Kintsugi. What they do is they take broken pottery and they mend it with gold epoxy. I feel like that’s what this program has really done, and still is continuing to do for me. I’m not completely mended, but I’m putting those pieces back together with the help of Guiding Light. It’s really been a wonderful journey for me, going through this process.”
Derek’s outgoing personality left a strong impression on his peers and the staff he worked with. Case Manager, Seth Velderman recalled how Derek’s positive energy and penchant for lightheartedness sharplycontrasted with how serious he was in regards to his recovery. “When I think of Derek, what comes to mind is someone who really wanted to work the program,” Seth said.“When I think about his recovery, I think of someone who took it very seriously, but didn’t lose the good parts of their personality.Derek kept the best of both worlds. He was able to work and to be very honest, blunt, and transparent aboutcharacter defects. But also, he was still able to make sobriety fun and make it his own. I admire DerekandI think he has awonderful life ahead of him and I know that he’ll enjoy it.”
Today, Derek hasgrown into a man with a strong sense ofpersonal responsibility and accountability. He is a man of firm moral convictions, he is working a solid program,he has a new-found relationship with God, and has an honest and fulfilling life to look forward to. While at Guiding Light, Derek found well-paying employment at a local cabinet production firm and was recently promoted to a supervisory position. His relationshipwith others, his physical well-being, and his spiritual conditionare healthier than ever. Everything is going in the right direction for him, and at such a young age, he has a lot to look forward to. It is a blessing that men like Derek, who come into Guiding Light at such a low point, are given the opportunity to turn things around with so much life left to live.
It is not hyperbole to say that addictionis a struggle laden with the weight of life or death consequences. While we believe that every man that comes through our doors is worthy of God’s grace, it truly is heartening to see young men like Derek come to Guiding Light when they do, before it is too late.
It is crucial that men struggling with addiction in our community have an accessible place to go when they need help. The only cost for men to stay at Guiding Light is their honesty and willingness to change. This could not be possible without the help of people like you. Without the tireless devotion and generosity of our donors, volunteers, and advocates, stories like Derek’s would not be possible. From all of us at Guiding Light, clients and staff alike, God bless you and thank you so much for all of your support.
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