It’s 3:00 a.m. and he’s wide awake. The cold, misty light of a street lamp casts a long shadow over a lonely park bench and Brian’s slumped silhouette. The city is sleeping, but there’s no way he can rest. Fear pierces his heart like the icy winter wind chilling his tense body. Regrets echo endlessly in his head. Maybe this is what Brian deserved, to be homeless and alone. (Watch Brian’s video above).
“How did I get here?” Brian thinks. His tired eyes peer out from the scarf wrapped around his face, longing for the first light of dawn to break his misery. “How am I ever going to get my life together?”
Sobriety was a fleeting achievement for Brian. The fun of drinking and partying in his 20’s had long worn off. Like a prisoner with the cell door thrown open, he was ready to move forward in life, but the chains of his addiction still held him down. After getting sober for several months, Brian joined our 3-month Connect program to help him transition to independent housing and employment. But he wasn’t ready for it.
“I had hopes of getting back to work,” says Brian. “but I just couldn’t stay off alcohol. I wasn’t strong enough in my recovery.” In desperation, Brian called out for help. “I got on my knees and prayed to God deeper than I’ve prayed in my whole life. In tears, I said, ‘God, if you’re out there, help me. I can’t stay sober without you. I certainly can’t do it without other people in my life. I’m done with me. I need to seek You, because without You, I don’t have a chance.’”
Portland Rescue Mission’s programs are thoughtfully integrated to help people just like Brian. If short-term recovery isn’t enough, our New Life Ministries for men and women provide in-depth, year-long recovery in peaceful residential settings. The thought of spending an entire year in recovery was daunting for Brian, but he decided to join our program for men at The Harbor in northeast Portland.
“The moment I walked through the door here, I was home,” says Brian. “I felt like I had gotten off this nightmare roller coaster and suddenly it’s quiet and calm.”
More than just sobriety, Brian’s recovery has been about surrender and selflessness. He finds himself waking up every morning with a humble prayer of yielding, “God, I need Your help. I can’t do this without You.”
The awareness of his own frailty brings him to a sense of centeredness he’d longed for. “I was chasing after peace, serenity, calmness and comfort in alcohol,” says Brian. “I was looking for God in that bottle. God provides me all of those things. My parents and friends tried to tell me, but I was just too self-absorbed to listen.”
As Brian has let go of his selfishness, he’s found freedom. “A year ago, I was angry, lonely, sad, hopeless, helpless, arrogant, prideful and ashamed,” he says. “I still have a lot of work to do, but I want to stay in a place of humility. I believe God wants to do work in everyone’s life. We just have to let Him in. I’ve seen it happen multiple times here. The miraculous happens when we let God work on us.”
This story appeared in our recent Winter Newsletter. Click HERE To view the rest of the Newsletter.
Recovery is hard, but people like Brian are finding help through your support. Please give a generous gift today.