Gabe is 23 years old and has been in the Guiding Light Recovery program for 4 months. When first admitted into the program, clients are not allowed to be employed and instead are required to focus all of their time, energy, and focus on one thing – sobriety. Learning how to get their mind right, giving their bodies time to heal, and becoming spiritually in tune with God again are the first steps in recovering from addiction. However, when they are ready, we encourage our clients to begin looking for employment and begin the process of gradually reintroducing themselves back into society at large. Finding, not just any job, but one that is meaningful, fulfilling, and dignified, is the next big step for clients that have completed Foundations, the first four months of the Recovery program.
Today, Gabe is taking that step and is participating in his first online session with our partners at Goodwill to attend the Achieve program. Achieve is a program designed to “transform lives by preparing individuals for securing and maintaining future employment.” Men work individually with career coaches, attend small group workshops to discuss and develop resumes and job search tools, as well as interview techniques. They also work with large group workshops focused on team building, communication skills, goal setting, raising self-confidence, handling stress, and more. “I spent half an hour the other day working with Eli (Achieve Counselor) on my resume and just in that short amount of time it probably looks twice as good,” Gabe said. “I’ve been learning a lot of new things you don’t really think about, how to format properly, I’ve never even heard of using cover letters before. It’s teaching me a lot of useful, real world skills especially when it comes to job searching.” The purpose of having our Recovery clients attend Achieve is to give them a chance, now that they have had time to get their addiction under control, to prepare for the real world outside of 255 Division Avenue. Being able to find steady employment and being able to hit the ground running after they leave Guiding Light is important to ensure that men achieve real, long-term sobriety. Once Gabe starts working, he will continue to live on-site with his peers at 255 and save enough money to move out to Iron House, Guiding Light’s sober living community in Kentwood.
When it comes to achieving long-term sobriety, Gabe is doing everything right and following in the footsteps of countless other success stories that have come before him. 77% of men who come through Guiding Light Recovery, find employment, and move to Iron House, will stay sober over a year. These statistics are, frankly, remarkable when contrasted with a 2007 study conducted by the social-research journal, Evaluation Review, showing that only 33% of men who attempt to get sober on their own are able to accomplish this.[i]
Guiding Light Recovery really does work, and the numbers show it. The only cost for men to come through our social outreach programs is their willingness to change their lives for the better. We are entirely funded by private donations, and for that we are eternally grateful to our generous donors, volunteers, and supporters for helping us on our mission to make our community a better place, one man at a time. Thank you for helping men like Gabe restore themselves to their God-given potential.
[i] Dennis, M. L., Foss, M. A., & Scott, C. K. (2007). An eight-year perspective on the relationship between the duration of abstinence and other aspects of recovery. Evaluation review, 31(6), 585–612. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193841X07307771
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