Morgan shared an encouraging testimony with New Life Program graduates last December. Looking at him today, you wouldn't realize that just six years ago he was heavily addicted and spiraling out of control. "I didn't have a drug of choice," he says. "I'd use anything to make my mind blank."
And it started early. His mother struggled with alcohol when he was a child, and he fought with his parents often. Before he was 16 years old, he had experimented with cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. When he was 17, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "That threw me off the deep end. I wasn't mentally mature enough to accept it," he says. His already rocky relationship with his parents became increasingly strained, leading him to choose to cope more and more through drug use.
Seeking satisfaction in his life, Morgan became a firefighter after high school and traveled around the country, but his drug habits continued to grow. A year later, his alcohol and marijuana habits developed into heavy substance abuse of anything he could use to get high. When his career ended, he tried going to school but dropped out. "I was mentally unstable at the time," he says, describing a short period of time when he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital because of his drug problem.
His addiction was ruling his life.
After being released from the psychiatric hospital, his substance abuse caused him to lose his apartment. Evicted, angry and depressed, Morgan says he hated God and Christians. Despite his reluctance, he quickly came to the Mission to keep from living on the street.
The Mission's New Life Program helped Morgan get clean and sober, but more importantly, it showed him what he was missing couldn't be satisfied with drugs. "I went from having no concept of God or Jesus and no faith whatsoever to more or less having it in my face every day," he says laughing quietly.
Several months into the program, he asked for a Bible. He started reading in Romans, and his depression began to fade. Shortly after, he decided to step out in faith. He had done nothing but ruin his life so far, so he prayed and asked Jesus to forgive him and take control. "If someone hadn't donated that Bible, there's a good chance I wouldn't have had that experience," he says. "That's the Bible I still use today."
Morgan graduated the New Life Program more than four years ago. Today, he works for Integrity Auto Specialists here in Denver. "They operate under a biblical business model, and all the guys I work with have that sense of faith in God and serving other people. Which is often counter-cultural for the used car industry," he laughs. He says his community at work helped him remain clean and sober.
But that's not the end of the story. Daily life after the Mission can still be hard. "Life's good," he says smiling. "It's hard though, and it's even harder to make the choice to stay clean and sober, but it's worth it." Morgan says it ultimately comes down to a question of what he chooses to do each day. "The Mission didn't change my life," he says, "God did. But the Mission made it possible by being there and offering guidance."
And that guidance helps him make those choices each day. "Recovery doesn't happen by chance. It happens by choice," he says firmly. He visits the Mission regularly to encourage others struggling with drugs and alcohol. And when he needs encouragement, the Mission is still there. "The idea of being a new creation in Christ has been playing out a lot in my life," he says. "It's tempting to think that I'm defined by my addiction. My addiction is part of what made me who I am, but that's not who I am now. The truth of that is really strong and important to me."
Six months after graduating the program, Morgan began going to school for psychology and criminal justice. He wants to use his first-hand experience to help other people struggling with addiction. "When it comes time to do my internship for my degree, I'm probably going to talk to the Mission about taking an internship there. I would love that," he says smiling.
Thank you for helping us make Morgan's life-changing experience possible. Because of your support, he's gone from abusing drugs and alcohol to making better choices every day. And thank you for helping us provide the same opportunity for all our guests and New Life Program participants!
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Morgan's story was featured in the May 2015 issue of Changing Lives titled "Daily Choices."
Also in this issue:
- Letter from the CEO
- Happening Now: Break the Cycle II
- Harvest Farm Natural Beef for sale