Stories of HopeLife-changing stories of hope, healing and wholeness
In 2014, I was standing on a street corner in Kent, WA, just released from prison for the 5th time. My wife had died from a drug overdose, and I also had lost a daughter, nephew, and brother in drug-related incidents. At the time I realized that I was all alone… a survivor with nothing to show for my life. I wanted to be done, but I had no idea how or where to turn away from the life I knew and start healing. “OK God,” I said. “I surrender. Let’s try to do this your way.” An hour later I was in a Catholic Community Shelter in Seattle.
After a year, I secured permanent housing, and it was around this time I was invited on an ISP retreat. I did not know the ISP team members or where they were taking me and the four other people from my building – I just had to trust. At the time I had no self-esteem or confidence. I still felt unworthy of this step forward.
But I went, and I told my story. The moment I got there, I felt like I belonged. I found that I had a lot in common with the other guys there. All of us were addicts and homeless, suffering from traumas of all kinds, going through the process of recovery.
The retreat gave me hope and inspired me to move forward in my life. I realized this was God taking me— “worth nothing”, “poor”, “outcast from society”—and preparing me to help others. Now, as an ISP – Seattle team member for the past 2 years, I love seeing the difference God is making to the guys who come on our retreats.
On July 26th, 2019, I celebrated 3 years clean and sober. I have permanent housing and a full-time job at The Bridge, a shelter in Seattle that provides a safe place for people who are homeless and in transition to stable housing. I have been where these guys are, and now I’m in a place where I can help.
—DENNIS | ISP-Seattle alumni, team member, and Ambassador of Hope