Trever began finding that peace one Sunday afternoon at the Lawrence Street Shelter. "They'd crank up this gospel music.... I sat there thinking about things and meditating," he remembers.
His struggle with alcohol began when he was a child. "My mother and father were both alcoholics," he continues, shaking his head. "It was prevalent in my home. I didn't realize there was a problem with drinking all the time. That's what I knew as normal." Trever started a steady habit of drinking when he was thirteen years old.
"It didn't register as an issue until I started my family," he admits. It wasn't just his life he was affecting; it was the lives of his wife and two boys. When he was thirty-five years old, he finally admitted that he was an alcoholic.
In 2011, he was involved in a domestic violence incident resulting in a court-ordered separation from his family. "They wanted me to prove that I could take care of my issues and be a good father and husband before I could live with my family again," he says.
But that left Trever homeless, without a job and still struggling with alcoholism.
The first time he came to Denver Rescue Mission he declined the invitation to enter the New Life Program. "I told them I couldn't be away from my family that long." He stayed at the Lawrence Street Shelter until he found a more suitable program, but he soon relapsed. Eventually, Trever found a program where he remained sober for fifteen months.
While he struggled to remain sober, his wife, Cathy, was advised to divorce him. People told her Trever would never change, and for a time she agreed. "That was really a turning point in my recovery," he says. "I quit worrying about the relationship and focused on me." Cathy saw the changes and could tell something was different. She decided against the divorce and took some counseling on marriage and communication, discovering ways she could help rebuild their relationship. "She's still very supportive. She's awesome," he says smiling.
But just being sober wasn't enough.
Trever was afraid of replacing alcohol with other bad habits, a bad attitude, or worse relapsing. "It was hard to stay sober," he says strongly. "I knew that I was going to relapse again if I didn't get help."
That's when he remembered the New Life Program at Denver Rescue Mission. "It was a paradigm shift," he says. "I went from saying, 'I can't be away from my family that long' to 'I need to be away from my family that long.' I needed to take the time to be successful in recovery."
He joined the New Life Program to get his GED and better employment, assuming those things would help him stay sober, but he soon realized the real reason he needed help. "I need to quit this inner battle," he says pointing to his head. "It's like there's two different people in me. There's the me that wants to drink—he's a tough son of a gun," he said laughing. "And there's the sober me… I realized inner peace was what I was missing."
Trever began finding that peace one Sunday afternoon at the Lawrence Street Shelter. "They'd crank up this gospel music… I sat there thinking about things and meditating," he remembers. Something came over him in that moment and he began to cry. "It wasn't because I was sad or anything—it was a good cry. It was uncontrollable." He tried to hide it, but a Mission staff member saw him and later told him, "You know, crying isn't always bad." Trever responded smiling, "Yeah, I know. That was a good cry."
Since that moment, Trever feels he's been divinely guided in the steps he's taking. "I definitely had a feeling of guidance when I made the decision to come back and do the Program."
As he joyfully accepts his GED at the Mission graduation ceremony, the crowd cheers him on like Broncos fans watching a winning touchdown. He says the accomplishment is encouraging. "All those years of drinking, I spent a lot of time beating myself down. I didn't feel like I could do anything. Now I have more confidence. That drinking side of me is losing ground. The other guy—the sober me—is stronger," he says with a satisfied sigh. "I feel good about life rather than 'iffy at best'."
Entering his final phase of the New Life Program, Trever is looking forward to the future and being with his family again. "Life is just easier.
I realize now, I've taken the right steps to be successful in recovery and in the end still be the same guy that everybody liked—not some jerk that just quit drinking," he laughed.
While his GED accomplishment takes center stage at graduation, it's only part of Trever's story. His journey to find true peace is just beginning.
Trever opened his heart to his need for a spiritual change that Sunday at the Lawrence Street Shelter. As he interacts with Mission staff and continues Bible studies and other spiritual development goals in the program, we pray he will experience the kind of true inner peace that can only come from a relationship with Jesus. And he's not alone. There are more than 100 other guys like him in the New Life Program, each with their own story and spiritual needs.
Thank you for making Trever's graduation and journey to find true peace possible. Because of your support, we're able to reach out to people like Trever, give them the tools and confidence to build a better life and help them discover their real need for spiritual renewal through a life-changing encounter with Jesus.
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Trever's story was featured in the February 2015 issue of Changing Lives titled "Seeking Success, Finding Peace."
Also in this issue:
- Letter from the CEO
- Graduation at the Mission
- Christmas at the Mission
- 2015 Best Chsitian Workplaces Award