Alvin knew he needed help. He found it at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. “They opened their arms and embraced me, gave me another opportunity,” he says. “Spoke the truth to me.”
Lost all hope
Memories from Alvin’s season of homelessness in the Pacific Northwest are enough to send shivers down his spine. “I was sleeping in an abandoned garage by a trash can. It was infested with rats,” Alvin reveals. “The days were hot and the nights were muggy.”
On the streets amongst the filth and heat, misery seemed to envelop him . . . and there was no escape. “It wasn’t even safe. It was a bad time for me. And I didn’t have strength to change,” Alvin remembers.
After a 40-year battle with addiction, Alvin had lost all hope that his life could look any different. “I stopped brushing my teeth, changing my clothes, and taking any showers,” Alvin explains. “I lost all self-care.” It was alarming for Alvin to realize how low he had slipped. “I was disappointed in myself. I was stealing and scamming, and that wasn’t how I was raised,” Alvin says.
Growing up, Alvin’s father was a professional musician who was never around, and his mother left the family early on. He was raised by his strict grandmother who tried to instill good morals. “But my grandmother would chastise me with a belt, stick, chair, whatever she could get her hands on,” Alvin painfully explains. “And everyone in my family were alcoholics.”
From the time Alvin had his first drink — around 13 years old — he was hooked. Then drinking or getting high became the norm in his life as he sought to bury the pain from his past.
The lowest point
Somehow, Alvin still found success in his tech career. “I had houses and cars. I had a good job working with computers, but I lost it all,” he shares.
Looking for a fresh start, Alvin moved to a new city. He found a job with a utility company in Portland and even went through recovery at a local rescue mission. Still, Alvin’s addiction had a firm foothold. “I took my eye off the prize and fell. This time, it was worse than when I originally got sober. It started out with drinking again. Before I knew it, I went back to cocaine.”
It didn’t take long for Alvin to hit rock bottom. “I burned through all my credit cards, my savings account, lost the car, and lost my apartment.” That’s when Alvin found himself homeless and contemplating suicide. “Thoughts crossed my mind that maybe I should end it all . . . and I knew I needed to get help.”
Shortly after that dark moment, Alvin stumbled across Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. As Alvin entered recovery at the Mission, he felt as if everyone there had their arms open — ready to embrace him.
“It was the best decision I ever made. I eventually realized that what was missing in my life were people who cared about me and loved me,” Alvin shares. Through the power of Jesus, Alvin began to experience change and inner healing like never before.
“In my quiet time, tears would roll down my cheeks because God reached down to a guy like me and pulled me up out of
Today, Alvin’s found a new calling. “I’m the Support Services Administrator at the Mission. I have a couple of guys working underneath me, and I’m loving on them. From here on out, I’m only doing what God wants me to do,” Alvin declares.
Alvin’s confident he would never be where he’s at without your support of the Mission. Thank you for giving him the priceless gift of freedom from homelessness and addiction and the chance to turn his life around.
Through the Mission’s recovery program, Alvin found hope and a start to a new life!
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