Soft morning light gently wakes Anthony from a restful sleep. “Good morning, God,” he whispers. “Thank you for the chance to live this day.”
It’s been a year since Anthony stepped out of his old life. In the soothing cascade of a hot shower, he remembers the stark contrast of life on the streets. Showers were a rare luxury back then. Instead, freezing rain pelted his face all night long as he huddled in a dirty alley. His clothes soaked through, leaving him chilled and exhausted the next morning. “I was defeated, weak, and numb,” says Anthony.
Worse than the physical toll of being homeless, Anthony carried an agonizing weight of despair over what he’d let his life become. Surely, he wasn’t worthy of being loved. Not after the way he lied to his family and stole from his best friend to feed the monster of his addiction. Not after destroying his relationship with his girlfriend and her two kids. Not after losing his car, his job and everything he owned. Surely, he didn’t deserve a second chance.
Shame wells up with the memories, but Anthony releases it all with a prayer: “Thank you, God. That’s not who I am anymore. Thank you for forgiving me and helping me start over.”
A NEW DAY DAWNS
When Anthony came to The Harbor, our recovery center for men in northeast Portland, he wasn’t sure what to expect. But he was warmly welcomed by the staff and easily connected with other men in the program.
Counseling helped Anthony break down the coping mechanisms of his addiction. Drinking, he realized, numbed him from dealing with conflict, stress and self-loathing. But those problems only grew worse by ignoring them. Pent-up emotions he could never seem to express would burst out uncontrollably when he drank, leaving only more destruction.
“Now I relieve stress and frustrations by praying,” Anthony says. “I talk to God whenever my heart feels like it. I just let it all out. It just lifts off my shoulders.” And instead of running away from conflict, he faces it head on, in healthy ways that he’s learned in recovery.
An essential part of Anthony’s renewal has been supportive relationships. Though his parents wouldn’t enable his addiction, they loved him deeply, helped him find recovery, and still encourage his progress. Friendships he’s made with other men in recovery keep Anthony strong too.
Today, after a year in recovery, Anthony is filled with passion and optimism. “I have worth now. I feel awakened and strong,” he says. “I have something to contribute to the world.”
Thousands of people like Anthony long to break their addiction. Your gift today makes it possible through meals, shelter and recovery care.