changing lives newsletter Posts

A Group Effort // Tim’s Story

Six years ago, scared and alone, Tim spent his first night at the Lawrence Street Shelter. It was winter and the city was blanketed with snow. He had just stepped off the bus from Grand Junction, drunk, hoping to find solace in his mother’s home.

“I called my mom from the bus station, and she said, ‘This is the bed you’ve made.’ It was tough love, and it was exactly what I needed,” Tim says. She directed him to Denver Rescue Mission’s Lawrence Street Shelter and instructed him to speak with a chaplain about the New Life Program. He did exactly as she said and found himself packed into the lobby with many other men who needed shelter from the cold weather.

Tim's mother was an advocate for his sobriety from the beginning. They have finally restored their relationship, thanks to Tim's success at Harvest Farm.

After a few nights as a guest, Tim enrolled as a Program Candidate. Three months later, he moved to The Crossing to begin the New Life Program. Phases 1 and 2 went well for him, but Tim says: “I was stubborn. I kept telling myself that I could handle drinking.” He wanted to manage his alcohol intake instead of eliminate it. After breaking the Mission’s no-drinking rule, Tim had to leave.

Once again, Tim’s life spiraled out of control. He spent his nights alone, drinking. He didn’t have a place to live, and he lost his job. The program at Denver Rescue Mission had helped him find a semblance of peace the first time, so he decided to give it a second chance.

He breezed through Phases 1 and 2 just like the first time. But the nagging temptation that he was strong enough to drink moderately got the best of him. “I still wasn’t dealing with my issues. I wasn’t giving myself to God. I still wanted to do things my way, not praying or acknowledging that I had to give up some of the things I wanted in order to get some of the things I needed,” says Tim. One night, he tested positive for alcohol and had to leave…again.

After another year of tumult, Tim prepared to spend his first night on the streets. It was snowing, and as he downed whiskey to keep warm, he had a sudden thought: he didn’t want to be there. He called a friend he made at Denver Rescue Mission who had graduated from the program. “He picked me up and put me to sleep on his couch,” Tim says. The next morning, hungover, Tim tried to put up a fight when his friend drove him to the shelter for the third time.

He didn’t want to go back into the program; he didn’t want to fail again. But this time was different. After
two weeks at the shelter, he was allowed to join the New Life Program at Harvest Farm.

Tim flourished there. “The simplicity and the beauty of nature and animals and farm living provided a setting where I could quiet my mind and start over again. I could relearn what was important in life: the simple things,” says Tim. He learned how to open up for the first time, allowing other people help him heal.

Tim graduated the New Life Program on January 17, 2013. He has worked as a Yard Loader Technician at Insurance Auto Auction since July 2012, and he is already moving up in the ranks. “If I have a loader job for the rest of my life, I’m excited about that. I’m optimistic about that. My goal right now is to be good at whatever job I have. I want my mother to be proud of me and not have to worry. I want to find a way to serve other people,” Tim says.

He has chosen to stay in the post-graduate program at The Crossing for the next nine months, surrounded
by his community: “I desperately don’t want to relapse, and I need accountability. I need godly people around me to solidify my sobriety as part of my normal life.”

Tim’s success is a result of the group effort of many people God placed in his life over the past six years.
It was his mother telling him to make things right, his friend pushing him back into the program, the chaplains giving him three chances to find sobriety, the men he walked alongside at the Farm, and donors like you who believe in the power of community!

(Posted in the Changing Lives Newsletter – April 2013)