Posts tagged ‘recovery’

December 9, 2013

Encouragement from a Recovering Client


One of our recovering clients has one of the the best wits I know. I love following his observations of life on his Facebook page. He has such a great ability to see the comedy in everyday life.

He recently was sharing how disturbed he was about terrible things a self-proclaimed Christian was doing in this world. This resulted in a flame contest with one of his followers as Facebook conversations that involve guns, politics, or religion are apt to go.

I was very proud to see him explain that people of faith, and of no faith, have all done terrible things. And that many people of faith do wonderful things. And many people of no faith do wonderful things, too. It’s common sense, but it’s not a common sense that you find all that commonly today; in this extreme and polarized world.

He also said, “One of my good friends, Terry Cole, runs a youth ministry that helps homeless youth, and he was a great help to me.”

We are proud of this recovery client. 

He works, pays rent, pays taxes and gives to organizations that help others. He got: clean, stable, and married. He’s an asset to the city he lives in. He may have little, but he follows his empathy and compassion to give of himself, and part of what he works hard to earn to help others.

We pray for many more recovery clients. 
We’re very proud of you all. 
You’re so strong and 
so amazing
We pray the world sees how much 
you have to offer 
and that you 
become a blessing 
for many people.



via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/12/encouragement-from-recovering-client.html

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August 27, 2013

A thank you note from a client


I received a wonderful thank you from a client first thing in the morning via Facebook. It was beautifully composed, just as you see it. I was able to do some follow-up work via Facebook with the client. She is employed, housed, and going to school. She studies the Bible and prays everyday. She can’t find a local church in her town that suits but after some discussion, may start a house church with her Christian friends! How exciting is that!
Terry,
I just wanted to say thank you for everything that you did for me while I was homeless. Now days I am a culinary student at [a college.] I own my own home now. You were always one I could talk to about anything and always knew the right advise to give for every situation. I can’t thank you enough for your guidance and support during my darkest days.
Sincerely,
[A recovery client!]
We love to hear from recovering clients. It’s great inspiration for us and for current clients, too! What’s your encouraging story?

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”

Become a fan on Facebook!Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-thank-you-note-from-client.html

August 17, 2013

What a difference!


I was walking on our Friday mini-mission trip with a volunteer talking. I saw someone I thought I recognized about a half-block up. I suggested that the volunteer allow me to approach the person alone because the person I thought I recognized is sometimes very angry.
I couldn’t have been more mistaken about who I saw. The musical 6 foot 8 young man grinned ear to ear and shouted, “Well hello, Terry! I was hoping to see you! You probably don’t remember me, but I’m Jason.” I could hardly believe what I was seeing. 
For you see, it was the same man outwardly, but there was nothing the same about him. He was peaceful, happy, and full of joy. He told me where he had been for the past year or so and why he was traveling and street-dependent again. He gratefully took a few things and bragged about how he tells everyone what great work we do, wherever he goes. And then he said goodbye.
I stopped him and asked about his faith, because I had a hunch. Sure enough, he told me he had hit rock bottom about a year ago and have found a new life in Christ! I asked if I could give him a hug and he grinned ear to ear and dropped his pack to the ground. I once again feared for my safety as he bear-hugged me. Thankfully no ribs were cracked. What a wonderful difference faith makes.
We cannot fix anyone, but faith can cure anything through God. We are so happy to see someone find their way home to Christ’s loving arms.

Supporting our work.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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Become a fan on Facebook!Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-difference.html

July 27, 2013

Advice to a Client Fighting With Relapse


I am contacted by clients who are recovering but fighting with urges to relapse from time to time. They come to me wanting a Christian viewpoint. Here are some of the things I give them to meditate, think and pray over. We’d love to know what you think or would add…
There is no sin in considering a relapse. Only the doing would be a sin.
Christian sobriety occurs by being weak in yourself, humbling and submitting yourself to God, and allowing Jesus or the Holy Spirit to be strong in you. Strength comes from allowing yourself to be weak and leaning on Him.
Jesus has already done everything it takes for you to be forgiven, fully healed, and make you into more than you could ever imagine. You have to accept that GIFT from Jesus and allow it to happen. It won’t happen over night. And it’s not without struggle (for anyone). And it’s not always “up” and “happy.” But the life God has planned for your, dreams for you, wants for you, is better than any drug or high or drunk you could ever attain.
Jesus is with you. So if you were to relapse, he’s right there with you. Don’t try to hide or shrink away. Sometimes knowing that is enough to stop people. He can be the ultimate accountability buddy.
Staying sober is for you. It’s a choice you have to make. But relapsing hurts more than just you. And staying sober will benefit more than just you. Following God’s plan for your life will allow you to be a blessing for many, many people in future situations you can barely imagine. So don’t forget those reasons outside of yourself not to mess that up. It’s for you and for all of them, too.
Stay sober for you. You’re a beautiful and wonderful person, created in God’s image and for many great purposes. The devil tells you many lies about drugs and highs and drunks. They are just that… lies.

There are many ways to become involved with SYM.  

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up

Become a fan on Facebook!Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole
Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/07/advice-to-client-fighting-with-relapse.html

May 29, 2013

Big Things in Clients Lives


I get a lot of messages by text, email and Facebook from clients no longer on the Drag. Some are simply traveling but quite a few are no longer on the street.
I had a wonderful conversation with one young man who’s living in a smaller Central Texas town. He has a job. He has a girlfriend and a place to stay. He is in a band and pursuing his music. He is clean from heroin for more than a year. He no longer drinks in excess. What a great big accomplishment for him!
We got another report within days of a young man living in quite a remote part of Texas now. He’s going to school. He’s taking meds and getting counseling for an emotional issue that has long plagued him. He goes to church and regularly reads the Bible. He called me to apologize for not listening more while under our care in Austin. What a great thing to be able to do! 
We love hearing from clients doing well! Keep it up, folks! You’re in inspiration to us and to those clients still working to get there.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up

Become a fan on Facebook!Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole
Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/05/big-things-in-clients-lives.html

May 10, 2013

An Uplift from an Unexpected Source


I was having a challenging day. There is a resurgence of drug use (tweaking) in a group of our clients. There is a certain amount of complacency in an even larger group of our clients. In fact, today, I was having a hard time finding any of our street-bound clients who were ready to work on getting anywhere.
Now… ministry is not about me feeling good about what we do. And we do celebrate tons of clients who have gotten up off the street and gone places with their lives. What’s going on right now is that we have a lot of people who aren’t ready to make change. Maybe it’s Spring fever! But it was a hard day to get through. Clients came for food and left. “What’s in it for me NOW” sort of ruled the day. Clients said “hi”, but otherwise avoided conversations about change. They were more interested this day in partying than planning. 
I came across a client I haven’t seen in a while. He was viewed by man as “hopeless.” He was certainly hard to manage back in the day! He was a big drug user, practiced sex as a means of entertainment, and was quite violent. His mental health challenges were huge, as well. 
Today, he was sitting on the ground waiting. I asked him how things were. “I’ve been sober for months. I’ve been taking my meds and they really help. I’ve gotten my social security reinstated. I’m getting ready to move into a place and figure out how to get some kind of job.” Wow! That’s a big contrast to the rest of my day. I shared that with him and thanked him.
He had more to say. He goes to church regularly. He loves it. And he’s involved in worship, study and fellowship activities three times a week. He’s not dating anyone right now, although he admits he’s like to be. He still struggles with sex but he led a conversation with me about the virtues of wanting to be with one person and about taking the physical stuff slow. Awesome! That really made my day and I told him so. 
But he still had more! He has been helping another client. The second client is challenged with a severe but treatable mental health issue. The client was mistreated by “Christians” in the past and is very hot/cold on having a relationship with Jesus. But the first client is helping the second client, taking him to church, helping him to keep up with things and plan, and encouraging him to be open to mental health treatment. The first client talked in terms of his leadership skills and wanting to help others! Wow!
I’ll go through all the bad days ahead in exchange for seeing street-dependent clients get up and help themselves and then start to help others who struggle in ways that they can understand first hand. It’s just awesome to see! 
What a great day it is today. I better get going and find out why! Volunteer with our ministry.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up

Become a fan on Facebook!Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I’m a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole
Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus

via Blogger http://streetyouth.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-uplift-from-unexpected-source.html

April 18, 2010

Three faces on addiction


Last week I saw three street kids who are addicted to heroine. Each has a unique story.

A young woman, beautiful and smart, sat all alone on a curb in the alleyway. She uses heroin every day; her life revolves around finding out how to get the next hit. Her boyfriend is also addicted. Taking good care of her dog seems to be all she has of a normal life. When I spoke to her, she looked terribly tired and sad. She knows she has only three options. One, continue with heroin; this would end very badly. Two, kick the habit cold turkey. She knows how to stop the addiction, but “I know if I quit, I’ll just start again. I can’t seem to stay away.”  Withdrawal is terrible. Imagine seven days of the worst flu you’ve ever had.  For most, that is the closest encounter we’ll have to withdrawal from heroin. Her third option is a methadone treatment center. Methadone has side effects and is addictive, too.  She thought through her choices. “All are hard. All are difficult. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” She is resistant to the gospel. Faith is not a resource for her. As I left, I prayed for her to find the strength to stop. I prayed she would find room for faith because it would help her stop.

I also spoke with a tall and elegant man who was addicted to heroin just a year ago. He was suicidal and hated himself. He decided to stop, and he rediscovered his relationship with Jesus. Now he lives in an apartment. He goes to church every Sunday. He has a girlfriend “just because we like each other. It’s the first time I’ve had a girlfriend for that reason. It seems kind of weird.” However, last week, he began to use heroin again. “I don’t know why. I just did. But you know… it wasn’t good. I didn’t like it. I guess I’m changing. I guess I’m finally growing up. I won’t do it again. I’m even thinking about going to a Christian rehabilitation center. I want to learn to truly live.” We talked about how the Holy Spirit will ask for changes in his life, but will not ask for more than he and Jesus can bear together.

Finally, I met with a former heroin addict and his wife; he stopped several years ago. He has two jobs now. They live in an apartment. “It feels really good to pay bills. You know…to be able to live like normal people. My wife doesn’t have to dance anymore. She’s out of the strip clubs.” I asked, “And church? Do you see yourself in church someday?” “Yeah, but I don’t know where to start. ” I smiled and made an appointment to talk about finding a church home for the two of them.

Only forty percent of street youth are addicted to substances. The most common substance abuse issues in Austin are with alcohol and heroin. Though several options exist, not all will accept help. The key is helping them is to gain their trust. They alone hold the keys to their change, but some of us get the privilege to walk alongside them. I rejoice for the changes going on in each of their lives. I hurt for them as they each struggle with past and present pain. I especially pray today for the woman on the curb, sitting alone, and wondering which of the difficult paths to take. May she know that Jesus is sitting beside her, waiting patiently and lovingly, to bear her burdens with her.

September 19, 2009

Venting to God


I met one of my dear friends on the street this week. “Joe” has remarkably changed his life the last three week. Joe has become sober from multiple substances that he was abusing. He has gotten a job. He has moved into a stable housing situation. He has begun attending sober meetings and working the 12 steps. Everything Joe told me was great, but it suddenly, but as I listened to him I realized that his words were saying one thing and his voice was saying another.

I interrupted Joe, “Can I stop you and just ask you a question?” He said, “Sure. Anything.” I continued, “You are telling me all these wonderful things, but your voice sounds frustrated and stressed. What is up?”
Joe looked at me for a while and then began venting. He was frustrated because the stable living situation that he could find was a boarding house that is also a sober house. “They expect me to do 20 hours of community service every week. They expect me to give them 48 hours notice if I’m going to be out after 9. I can’t do that stuff. If I’m not working, I’m at a meeting or with my sponsor working the steps. They just don’t understand!” His voice got more and more angry. I let him vent.
Joe suddenly stopped, looked conflicted, and said, “I know I need to be grateful. I should be grateful. Really I am grateful, but I didn’t sign up for this sober house. I thought I was just getting into a boarding house. I feel like just taking my next check and running away and saying ‘Screw this!’
“I’m sorry. I need to be grateful. I’m sorry.”
I thought about what to say and what to do next. I asked, “Do you have a Bible? Are you reading scripture through all of this?” He said, “Yes and no. I’m reading the Bible but I don’t have one of my own. I’m using my sponsor’s.” I knew this was something that I could fix, but I continued with more questions.
“What are you reading” I asked. Joe opened his diary and showed me passages that he had written down. Psalm 25. (To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me….) Matthew 4:1-11 (…Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.). Joe told me why he loved these passages and then added, “And I love reading Job.”
I responded and asked him, “I love reading Psalms. Did you know that a lot of the Psalms start out with intense anger and frustration being directed at God! Some of the psalmists really let God have it: ‘Why have you forsaken me? Where the heck are you? Why are you letting the bad guys beat me up like this? I hate this! And I’m pissed at you!’ And then they end with things like: ‘But… you are my God. I will trust in you even now. I will put myself into your care. I have no other hope, so I will count on you.’
“I am noticing that you are angry but that you feel like you have to be ‘sweet’ with God. I suggest that you approach God on your knees but with all your emotions intact. Let him know how hard it is. Let him know how betrayed you feel. Let him know how scared you are. Don’t just share the grateful side of you with him–although it’s wonderful that you can be humble and grateful. Dare to share your whole self with God.
“My favorite character from all the Bible is in Job. Elihu is his name. He’s a young man your age. He sits and listens to Job. He sits and listens to the old men who are supposed to be wise. Job cries out from the pity pot of life. The three men offer him sharp rebuke in the disguise of friendship. When Elihu has heard them out, he tells them, ‘I have waited because you are old. I have listened because you are supposed to be wise. But you have totally missed the point!’ And then he tells them the truth. I love that! And I can’t imagine how God must have smiled during his speech to Job and his three ‘friends.’
“And while we’re talking about Job. Remember that Job totally loses his temper and self control in the last chapters. He cries out, ‘You have forsaken me… I want to see my God and my accuser and my judge right here… right now… right before me.’ These are angry and frustrated words. And God listens… and God shows up. It’s horrifying and humbling. Job immediately falls to his knees and says, ‘I am nothing. You are everything. I’m sorry, and I was wrong. Forgive me.’ God does. And God restores him fully… better than ever, in fact. But notice that Job didn’t get there by being sweet or even by being grateful. He got there by being real with God. And I think it’s OK… I think it’s necessary… for you to be real with God, too.”
We prayed together. Joe also needed to tell someone here on earth (a case worker) that he is frustrated with the current living solution. We practiced doing that until he could do it authentically but not hurtfully. When he was ready, Joe used my cell phone to call the human he was angry with to be real with him as well. It was frightening to Joe, but he did it.
We walked together back to my truck, and I gave him a Bible. I wrote these words in it and presented it to him in the parking lot:
“I believe in you. You are a beloved child of God. In you, He is well pleased. Be blessed by this Word and become a blessing to others. In love… Terry.”
He read the words, looked at me, and said, “Thank you. This really means a lot.” We hugged. And he went to his job and to his meetings and to the next hour of his new life.
May God bless Joe today and every day. May Joe grow in his authentic relationship with God. May we all grow in authentic relationship with God, so that we can fulfill God’s purpose for us: enjoying God today and tomorrow and forever and becoming a blessing to all nations.