Guiding LIght yellow 95th anniversary logo

‘This is a Gift that God has Given Me’

’This is a Gift that God has Given Me’

After a lifelong struggle with alcohol, Tim had managed to stay clean and sober for just over a year. Then everything fell apart.

When he discovered information that ruined his marriage, he used that as an excuse to relapse into old habits. He was drinking again, isolated, struggling with his faith. He was depressed, out of shape and out of work.

He had fallen asleep to the life God had given him.

“I ended up in the cheapest, lousiest hotel you can find. And that’s where I stayed,” Tim said. “I had my booze delivered to me and food delivered to me — which I didn’t eat because I just drank the booze instead. I ended up trying to commit ‘suicide by cop,’ brandishing a knife. They got the knife from me and brought me to the hospital.”

He ended up at another treatment program but continued to struggle there. The more he heard about Guiding Light Recovery, the more it sounded like it would be a good option for him.

“So, I decided to come here. And it’s the best choice I’ve made in a long time.”

Today, Tim has awakened to a new life and the possibilities it holds. To a restored dedication to Christ. To upholding responsibilities, including by managing the kitchen at Guiding Light Recovery. Along with a healthier mind and spirit, he is giving his body a workout — and has lost 35 pounds.

“This is a gift that God has given me. He’s given me gifts in the past and I squandered him. I’m not going to give this gift back. I’m not going to let him down again. This carries over to everything that I do, from the way I talk to people to the way I carry myself.”

For someone who has lived in isolation and hasn’t had friends in a long time, Tim says, Guiding Light provides a community. He looks forward to extending that experience by moving to Iron House, Guiding Light’s community of two-bedroom apartments in Kentwood. Men who complete the recovery program are eligible to move into one of these apartments. Residents work full-time, pay rent, participate in support groups, community meetings, and help with yard work and property maintenance as the build a new life.

“I was just a solitary drinker before and now I have good friends here. We have fun together. It’s just amazing the camaraderie that we have, how we’re here for each other. We actually care for each other, and that’s awesome.”

Tim sees that sense of fellowship in his role as kitchen manager. Even though he is “in charge” of daily meal preparation, he sees it more as an opportunity to provide service to other men in the program.

“It’s awesome to see that brightens their days when they get a good meal. It’s just a been a humbling experience how much gratitude I’m getting from these guys for the work I’ve been doing.”

Tim knows all about that sense of gratitude. It’s how he feels about the staff at Guiding Light, knowing so many have gone through the program themselves.

“It just makes such a big difference. The staff here actually cares for you and wants you to succeed. You’re not just another number, you’re a person. They can say that they’ve had to go through the program, and they know it’s all about actually changing and, as we say every day, living a different way in this world to actually be a positive influence on society and to others.”

In a similar way, Tim wants to use his own experience to someday help others who face struggles like his, whether that’s fighting addiction or overcoming weight problems. He also looks forward to strengthening connections with family, including his daughters.

And he is committed to remaining awake to the life he has been given.

“I believe that Guiding Light has given me the opportunity to be the man that I was made to be, the man that my higher power, God, wanted me to be. I can now start being the father that my daughters need and deserve. I believe now I have the opportunity and the willpower, the knowledge and the motivation to be the man that God wants me to be.”


Receive a quarterly newsletter by U.S. Mail

Newsletter Mail Signup


Receive our e-mailed bi-monthly stories and updates

Email Signup