The power that addiction can have over a person is immense, but some choose the narrow road to recovery. In July 2020, Albert, a former Denver Rescue Mission volunteer, found himself in desperate need of the New Life Program. It is because of your faithful giving that Albert has been clean from drugs for a year and is filled with hope for the road ahead.
The Start of the Road
Despite a turbulent upbringing in East Los Angeles with a family immersed in gangs and drugs, two things have been constant joys on Albert’s road: baseball and fishing.
“I can talk baseball all day and fishing all night,” he said. “I grew up in a drug house. Growing up in the lifestyle that I did, we didn’t do much, but we went fishing and we went to baseball games.”
At 22, he moved to Colorado in hopes for a clean slate. For many years, he maintained the stable life he hoped for. He worked as a construction estimator, loved going to Rockies games, frequently served meals at the Mission, and was passionate about serving the homeless community with his church.
About five years ago, he got into a romantic relationship that led to a major setback. “She was an addict, and when things started going bad, I thought the way to fix the problem would be to do drugs with her,” he said.
“I never thought I’d be there…being homeless is not me.”
His addiction to meth started taking away every aspect of stability that he worked so hard to achieve, until he was left with nothing.
In January 2020, he spent time sleeping on the streets—memories that are clouded from constant drug use. “I never thought I’d be there…being homeless is not me,” he said.
With nowhere to go and no resources, he remembered his volunteer days. “I thought, well, I know one place I can go, and that was Denver Rescue Mission.”
A Fork in the Road
In April 2020, Albert made a life-changing decision. He had been staying at the National Western Complex (NWC), the Mission’s temporary shelter that opened in response to COVID-19, and he was away partying for more than a week. When he returned to NWC, a sign on the door presented his options.
NWC had closed, and he had a choice to go to another shelter or apply for the New Life Program, a year-long rehabilitation program for men.
“Seeing that sign really woke me up,” he said. “I realized it’s either going to be now or never. I’d rather spend this [year here] now than lose five or 10 more years of my life, or maybe even lose my life.”
The Healing Power of Counseling
Rachel Lopez, director of support services for the Mission, said that failure to talk about the past is often what holds participants back.
“The past can be so intrusive that it blocks their ability to have healthy relationships or meet responsibilities. To have a counselor validate that they were given a tough beginning can help them stop being stuck on how unfair it was. They then become ready for the next step of acceptance for where they are today.”
The Narrow Road
During the past year, Albert has benefited immensely from the program, with the weekly counseling being the most valuable aspect for him. It’s the first time he’s ever received counseling and opened up about his struggles.
“It has helped me understand myself and deal with things from the past,” he said. “[It’s] a big part of what helped me grow [and see] the issues I didn’t want to face.”
Albert’s counselor at the Mission, Brooke Bruxvoort, said Albert has grown in his patience and positive outlook on life.
“The client must be in a space where they are ready to make the changes necessary to grow and heal,” she said. “Albert was and is readily making those changes. It takes a great deal of courage to seek help and face pain. However, when people do, that is when true growth and healing can occur.”
Through the encouragement of his counselor and other Mission staff, Albert started going to church again and has rededicated his life to following Jesus. “It’s been good getting that relationship back with all the Bible studies and devotions,” he said. “God was in my life before, but He wasn’t number one, and now I realize that God needs to be number one.”
The Road Ahead
Albert recently got a job as a traffic controller and is working on getting his driver’s license reinstated. He plans to graduate the program in August and hopes to join the construction industry again. He may not know all the details of the road ahead, but one thing he is sure of: the road will include the simple joys in life, like baseball games and fishing trips.
“Denver Rescue Mission saved my life,” he said. “My goal is to get my life back to where it was, because I gave up a good life. I came [here] with one mission, and that was to complete this program and graduate. I won’t take anything less than that.”
New Life Program Continues in New Location After Flooding at The Crossing
Denver Rescue Mission continues to spark lasting change for men overcoming addiction and homelessness. But, for now, this change is happening a few blocks away.
After a cold snap hit Denver in February, the main fire suppression sprinkler in part of The Crossing burst and flooded all four stories, which was home to men in our New Life Program (NLP), classrooms, computer labs, laundry facilities, and offices. NLP participants were immediately
relocated to a nearby hotel where Bible studies, classes, counseling, and other programming have continued to keep our
men on track to graduate.
“The Mission has done everything to make sure we’ve been taken care of,” said Albert, a NLP participant. “I don’t think there’s been a beat missed.”