Hank was accepted into the Guiding Light Recovery program in May of 2020. He spent his first four months here devoting his time and energy to his sobriety, and learning how and where he would go from here. It was then that Hank began looking for a job and enrolled in Goodwill’s Achieve program and went through two weeks of intensive job training, resume building, interview techniques, and professional development. After this he began his search for potential employers and quickly lined up several interviews, one of which was for a local manufacturing firm where he now works full-time.
Upon his employment, Hank stayed at the Guiding Light building on 255 Division Avenue, commuted by bus, and began saving up money. His next step was to save enough to pay for a security deposit and rent for a room at Iron House, Guiding Light’s sober living community in Kentwood. Iron House consists of four buildings of two-bedroom apartment units and is reserved exclusively for men that come through the Guiding Light Recovery program. It is a place for newly sober men recovering from addiction to find stability, a positive environment, and a supportive community of their peers. Since all the men living at Iron House are in recovery themselves, it is relatively easy, or at least easier, to learn how to live a normal and fulfilling life in sobriety. “I think the accountability I have out here is huge because, you know, I’m not afraid to call people out and they’re not afraid to call me out, it’s important for us to keep each other accountable, that’s how it works out here.” Iron House offers safe transitional housing and is a great stepping-stone for men to get back on their feet after so many years of living in the unmanageability and chaos of active addiction.
Like many others, Hank did not initially consider moving to Iron House upon his acceptance into the program. However, seeing the success of his peers that moved on made him begin to ponder his long-term prospects in sobriety. “I think what changed my mind was that I went through the program with people at their very tail end, and they came to Iron House. When they did, I saw that they were still connected and I liked that, I wanted what they had. They were enjoying their lives while still staying sober which I had no clue how to do.” Hank considers the opportunity to move to Iron House to be “the best part of the program. It’s better than a graduation or something like that. It’s a place where you can live and be surrounded by people that care about you and love you, and that’s essential for my recovery, I know that.” Today, Hank is proud to be a part of the Guiding Light community. He considers his decision to stay connected with his brothers in recovery at Iron House to be one of the biggest reasons he is sober today. He is pessimistic about his prospects and where his life would be today had he ultimately not decided to stay in Grand Rapids with his new family. “If I was left to my own devices when I left Guiding Light, I don’t think I would make it. In fact, I know I wouldn’t. It’s a big deal having these guys around me. I didn’t how I was going to have fun while living in sobriety. It’s a different kind of fun now though, it really is, it’s fun without the chaos…life is good.”
Hank, like so many others that come through our doors, was hopeless and in a state of spiritual, mental, and physical exhaustion. Coming to Guiding Light was his last resort, his last chance to see if, maybe, it was possible to live a life in sobriety. At his young age, he had already overdosed multiple times, and his prospects for living to see 30, let alone 40 or 50 years of age were becoming increasingly dire. Today, he is able to live a fulfilling, responsible, sensible, healthy, and joyful life, and the future is bright. “Wake up, go to work, do my part, do my chore, pay my rent, and stay sober, that’s how we do it out here.” Hank’s transformation at Guiding Light is an amazing example of the miracles that can happen here when men are given the time, space, and grace to heal and experience God’s love. Today, Hank is on track and in the best possible position he could be in to find a long-term solution to his addiction. The primary reason that the Guiding Light Recovery program works is that we don’t just help men get sober, we give them the tools to build a life for themselves that is worth staying sober for. You don’t need to look any further than Hank to see this is true. It has been a long journey for Hank, but he is in a place now where he is finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
None of this would be possible without you. Men like Hank don’t have the means or resources to come to a rehabilitation program that offers care and services on-par with what is offered at Guiding Light. The only reason you are reading a happy ending to his story now is because of the enormous generosity, empathy, and kind-heartedness afforded to us from our donors, advocates, and volunteers. It is because of you that this is possible, you made this story come true. Men like Hank, and all of us here at Guiding Light, cannot even begin to express to you how much we appreciate those that give to our cause here. Without you, none of this would be possible. Believe it or not, you can look at Hank today and know that you just saved a young man’s life. Thank you so much for all that you do, from all of us, clients and staff alike. God bless and have a happy new year.
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