Inspiration: Stories of Recovery
How the light of recovery at Welcome House broke through a lifetime of chaos, addiction and pain.
For more than two decades, the story of Chris Dover’s life unfolded in one tragic chapter after another. Drugs and alcohol tainted everything in his world: his family, his friendships, his work, and his ability to sustain even basic needs such as shelter and food.
“For as long as I can remember, my life has been in shambles,” he said. After living in a shelter for five months and on the streets for four months, he found the resolve to get clean and sober.
Chris’ transformation began at Welcome House, where recovery is steeped in accountability. He credits Welcome House for saving his life and, for the first time, helping him find joy and purpose in life.
“Before, I could never help myself, but Welcome House taught me that in helping others, I can have change in my own life,” says Chris.
With steely determination, he fulfilled the requirements of a court-ordered recovery program, graduated from Welcome House, and has maintained his job. He has goals, one of which is saving funds for a car.
“I had to change my people, places and playgrounds. Everything I knew, I had to give up,” Chris says. “Today I have goals and plans. I have learned to cope and overcome.”
That’s how John Hungerford’s recovery story begins.
“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.”
Today he gets immense joy and satisfaction in sharing the message of “Christ is the Key.” In fact, he turned it into a ministry (ChristIsTheKey.org) – not just for people in recovery – but anyone in need of encouragement and support.
In John’s professional life, he enjoys a rewarding career in banking, helping individuals and families reach their financial and life goals. He also serves as a board member and treasurer at Welcome House.
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 M. 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.”
It’s just circumstance that Chris is the Inventory Manager at a local auto dealership where he’s worked for three years. And while his days are immersed in cars and trucks, his evenings and weekends find him attending meetings and supporting other men on the journey of recovery.
“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,” says Chris.
“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.”
As a resident at Welcome House, Chris was honored to serve as the third-floor program assistant. “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.”
Though Chris has plans to move to his own house soon, he intends to keep in touch with his support system at Welcome House, attending meetings and just spending time with others in recovery.
“My life has meaning today only because of my Higher Power, meetings, and the support of others in recovery.”
“I’m learning how to hold on in life; to live clean, be grateful, and be of service,” says John.
As a Welcome House resident, he spends his days working as an auto detailer, and his evenings participating in recovery meeting and classes. John affirms that the 12-step program in my daily life is making him a better, stronger person each day.
“The Welcome House has provided the direction and support that I needed to get on a positive path in my life. Along the way, I have learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible,” he says.
“I believe that if I apply what I’ve learned, the possibilities are endless.”
“It is an understatement to say that Welcome House saved my life,” says Chris.
“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.
He was broken, truly at rock 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,” says Chris.
The journey through recovery has led him to the realization that his perception of the world and reality are often different. “Recovery has allowed me the chance at a life and a future that I never imagined. Now I can set priorities and goals, and manage expectations 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 Chris knows he has choices: to keep moving forward, to keep seeking solutions. Today, he can accept life on life’s terms.