Inspiration: Stories of Recovery

Mike's story

He’s the son of a doctor.  A father of two.  A former college dean. With a Ph. D. and a job he enjoys, Dr. Mike McKinne has little resemblance to the man he was just a year-and-a-half ago. It’s hard to believe that the Mike then was hopelessly drunk, homeless, and completely broken.  Taken to a detox facility on a blustery February day, Mike was so ill, he had to be transported to a hospital.  “My drinking got to a point that I didn’t care about anything,” he said, “not about others, not about myself.” Upon discharge, a taxi delivered Mike directly to Welcome House. “From that point on, I was an open vessel. I went to every meeting available, read every book I could. I was willing to do anything and everything to get my life back,” said Mike. “We learn in recovery that we’re only as sick as our secrets,” said Mike, who willingly shares about his recovery at Welcome House. “If we don’t bring our addiction into the light, it has complete power over us.” One ray of light was Mike’s job as a custodian at Welcome House.” At that point in my life I was completely unemployable,” he said. “I did not blame anyone for my situation, but instead immersed myself in work and recovery. Everything that Welcome House taught me – it has all been a Godsend.  I have learned to look at everything as a gift: a bed, a hot shower, a warm meal,” said Mike, who now lives on his own and works at a church in the community. Mike says today he’s as healthy as he’s ever been, and feels good about his life.  “I don’t take my life or those I love for granted.”

3 Questions with Chris

1. How has Welcome House influenced your life and your recovery?

It is an understatement to say that the WH saved my life. My marriage had ended, I was evicted from my residence, and I had to give up my animals that had been by my side through it all. I was broken, truly at my bottom. I remember crying myself to sleep on a filthy floor. I visited with Mitchell at the Welcome House the day prior. I was extremely apprehensive about anything recovery. It was in that moment of my deepest despair that the light illuminated. Welcome House accepted me with open arms, without a moment’s hesitation.

2. What have you learned about yourself during recovery?

The journey through recovery has shown me that my perception of the world and reality are often different. It is this discord that is a constant source of conflict in my life. My perception has shifted immensely. The use of drugs and alcohol were an attempt to fix a far deeper problem, a problem with Chris.

3. How is your journey in recovery making you a better person?

Being in recovery has allowed me the chance at a life and a future that I never imagined. Recovery has helped me set priorities and goals, and manage expectations – aligning all the aforementioned aspects to set myself up for success.

I thought I was destined to be a degenerate addict, and the drugs numbed me to the point that I was okay with that. Though I have always had choices, I was unaware of this. Today I know I have choices: to keep moving forward, to keep seeking solutions. Today, I can accept life on life’s terms.

3 Questions with Chris

By day, Chris is the Inventory Manager at a local auto dealership where he’s worked for three years. Evenings and weekends find him attending meetings and supporting other men on the journey of recovery.

1. What was life like before the Welcome House?

My life was very lonely and empty. I did not like myself nor could I seem to find anything to fill the void I felt.

2. How has living at the Welcome House influenced your life?

The Welcome House has brought purpose and direction to my life. I have gained some self-worth which I believe is directly related to what I do for other people.

It has been a great privilege to serve as the third-floor program assistant at Welcome House. All I can do is share my experiences with the other men and hope that it helps them. I know that I am sober because of my own commitment as well as the role I have in helping others.

3. Where do you see yourself after graduating from the Welcome House Program?

I see myself continuing to give back to Welcome House in any way that I can. I have a home group and strong support system. Soon, I will be moving into my own house, but I intend to keep in touch with my friends at Welcome House when I come back for meetings, or just spend time with them.

My life has meaning today only because of my Higher Power, meetings, and the support of others in recovery. The Welcome House is the vehicle through which all this was made possible.

3 Questions with John

John spends his days working as an auto detailer, and his evenings participating in recovery meeting and classes. John has this to say about his journey in recovery:

1. How has the Welcome House influenced your life and your recovery?

The Welcome House has provided the direction and support that I needed to get on a positive path in my life.

2. What have you learned about yourself during recovery?

I have learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible. I believe that if I apply what I’ve learned, the possibilities are endless.

3. How is your journey in recovery making you a better person?

I’m learning how to hold on in life; to live clean, be grateful, and be of service. The 12-step program in my daily life is making me a better, stronger person each day.

John's story

This loyal supporter of Welcome House shares his philosophy, passion, and “key” to recovery.

What sustains you in your personal journey in recovery? There was a broken time in my life that truly served as an epiphany: a moment of surreal clarity as I went to grab for a key on the front seat of my car. What I picked up instead was a crucifix that was intended to be strung on a rosary. I knew right then, “Christ is the key.” It was a powerful sign that my faith could provide me strength in recovery and in life.

You’re passionate about your faith and helping others. How does that play out in your everyday life? Aside from a rewarding career helping individuals and families reach their financial and life goals, I get immense joy and satisfaction in sharing the message of “Christ is the Key.” In fact, I turned it into a ministry ( – not just for people in recovery – but anyone in need of encouragement and support.

You’re a longtime monthly giver to Welcome House. How did that come to be and why is it important to you? As one who appreciates the mission, I contribute foremost to ensure Welcome House can continue serving men in recovery. Because this support was invaluable to me, I started giving about 17 years ago and have continued ever since. As a board member and current treasurer at Welcome House, I can attest to the positive impact monthly giving has on an organization’s year-round sustainability. It’s a way to show my support year-round.