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‘Guiding Light Has Given Me the Keys to Life’

Addison spent more than a third of his 37 years behind bars, the result of drug use that started at age 13. The last time he left prison, he still wasn’t free.

“I came home, but I still felt like I was in prison.”

He was trapped by his addiction. Trapped by the life of crime and drugs he was born into. Trapped by panic attacks, memories of violence while jailed, so afraid of crowds he couldn’t attend church. Worst of all, the overdose death of his brother in 2020 sent him into a spiral of relapse back into drug use.

“That was a trauma, but it was also a warning sign for me too. It kind of woke me up and let me know that I needed to get a grip on my life. Because if I didn’t, my mother was going to lose another son.”

None of the other programs he tried worked – until a cousin recommended Guiding Light.

“I really, truly believe that if I wouldn’t have come here, I wouldn’t be free. I wouldn’t be free in my mind, free in my spirit if I would not have found this place.”

What he found at Guiding Light Recovery was a core philosophy centered on seven focus points: willingness, honesty, vulnerability, self-awareness, self-compassion, responsibility, and spiritual formation.

“Something happened to me here at Guiding Light. I’ve had a lot of spiritual awakenings in this place. And it has helped me to become, I guess you could say, free again. Because for a long time, I had just accepted that I was going to be an addict for the rest of my life.”

With his attention to the seven focus points, Addison is letting go of his past. He is learning that willingness to change, even though it is painful, daily, life-long and slow, requires new choices.He is embracing the importance of honesty based on self-reflection. He is learning that love and connection require vulnerability that can be empowering. He has become self-aware so he can move toward freedom and possibility. He is practicing self-compassion by doing what’s best, not easiest, for his well-being. He is emphasizing responsibility, keeping commitments large and small to himself and others. And through prayer, he is recognizing how he is in constant spiritual formation, learning to attune his senses to God’s presence in his daily life.

Instead of surrendering to the effects of his difficult past, Addison has decided to live at cause – taking charge and responsibility for the direction of his life.

“Is it easy? No, it’s not easy. I’m going to be honest with you because I’ve been an addict for all my life, you know. But what helps are the focus points and the teaching that it can be done. It can be accomplished. God has been a big, big part of this for me.”

Addison (2nd from right) at a Guiding Light Recovery house meeting.

When he reflects on the spiritual direction he has received at Guiding Light, Addison said he has learned how to control his actions, his emotions and his life.

“That’s what’s really been a big help for me, being able to take accountability for my actions and realizing when I’m doing something wrong and realizing when I’m making mistakes. And they give you the tools here to help you change those things. Guiding Light has given me hope that I can be somebody different and not be the same person I always was.”

The freedom Addison has found at Guiding Light has opened a new life for him. He no longer feels trapped by the prison he created for himself.

“I’m going to live drug free and I’m going to honor my brother’s name and I’m going to live and do things to the best of my ability, because I’ve been given too many tools here. I’ve been given too much to take for granted. Guiding Light has given me the keys to life. You know, it’s giving me hope. It’s giving me faith. It’s giving me a foundation to build from. There’s no other rehab in the world like this place.”


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