Guiding Light Mission uses strict accountability as key to recovery
Caroline MacGregor July 2, 2014 | WGVU
through the doors of the Guiding Light Mission in Grand Rapids’ Heartside
neighborhood leaves one with a distinct impression of an organization that
operates on accountability.
“We are fairly clear that this is your recovery and you have to do the work and clear that if you don't then you have to leave because you are actually putting other men at risk.”
Stuart Ray, who
became the organization’s executive director five years ago. The mission initially serves as a shelter, and
then revolves into a substance recovery program for men like Tom Keller.
"I was able to let my guard down, open myself up, accept what I am and it's okay because God has forgiven me. That's a big motivator for me to have that burden off my chest, the guilt and shame which is really based on pride and ego and fear."
Relapse is a
constant threat. A recovering alcoholic, Keller admits that while he does well
in the rehab setting, he calls himself a chronic relapse. His mentor sponsor holds
him accountable and face the root of the problem head on, a big key to his recovery.
Helping others is considered part the recovery process.
realizes it’s an uphill battle but that the choice is his.
“I have to change everything about me. I have a lot of work to do, I'm still early in my recovery this time around but I do see light at the end of the tunnel.”
substance abuse recovery spend six months at the mission. After that, it’s another
six months at Iron House, Guiding Light’s transitional housing program. Each pays
rent, helps clean and works.
In the last
2 years, Guiding Light has put over 300 men back to work in the community. The
mission’s Back to Work Program provides short term shelter for men who have
work or are seeking full-time employment.
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