On September 1st, 2020 the men of Guiding Light Recovery went on a trip to Bear Lake for five days. It was a welcome opportunity for the men living at Guiding Light to get out of downtown Grand Rapids and into nature. The men were also accompanied by Guiding Light Recovery Case Manager Seth Velderman. This was no vacation however, as they stuck to a strict routine and schedule just as they would downtown, getting up at 6am, attending daily 12-step meetings via video-conferencing platforms, engaging in group exercises, and praying together at night. The experience ended up being quite beneficial for many of the men’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. Afterwards, many of them spoke to how they felt a strengthened sense of comradery with one another, and how they were all able to become closer by preparing meals, gathering firewood, and joining together in prayer.
For Allen, now finishing his third month in the Recovery program, he described the experience as the first time he had been on a true “family vacation.” Being an only child, he talked about how his peers in the Recovery program have become his brothers. Allen described his feeling of finally being a part of a family that he felt he could belong to. “My serenity, when I got there, I felt like I didn’t have a care in the world, I was not thinking of myself as an alcoholic, I realized how I have found a new way of living and seeking opportunity. I was surrounded by love, but most importantly I got to know love, and I got to understand what that means.”
All of the men enrolled in Guiding Light Recovery are united through their common struggle with addiction. The community that men form while going through Recovery together is one of the most powerful and significant aspects of the program. Men form bonds here that last for life and, more importantly, they form an inter-connected understanding and commitment of accountability with one another. Many of the clients that come through here did not know what it is like to have a supportive community of peers that is worth staying sober for, or what it means to have others that can help pick you up when you are down. A common saying heard among men and women in recovery is “I drink/use, we stay sober.” The friendships and connections formed at Guiding Light will carry on when these men move out to Iron House, where they will have a remarkably high chance (77%) at achieving long term sobriety.
At Guiding Light we cannot thank you enough for all of your continued support through these uncertain times. Your donations make it possible for men out there struggling to have a chance at a better life and to come out of the darkness and into the light. From all of us, both clients and staff alike, thank you so much for all that you do for us.
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