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Prison might have been the best thing that happened to Don. “One day I was sound asleep and next thing I knew I was on my knees asking Christ into my life,” he relates. “I’ve been a believer since then.”

Don kept on his walk of faith for six years after his release. Then he found himself imprisoned by an addiction to morphine, alcohol and marijuana. “I started concentrating more on my drugs and my drinking and less on God,” he admits. For five years, Don put on a façade of sobriety. Finally, however, “It got to the point where I didn’t care whether I lived or died.”

One night while drinking alone, Don decided to end his pain by taking his life. He was just about to pick up the gun by his side when his sister walked in. “She said, ‘Not on my watch,’ and we headed down here to the Mission,” Don recalls. Don left behind everything he owned when he came to UGM, but he gained much more than he gave up. Just two days after he arrived, Don joined the New Life Fellowship program and took his first steps toward sobriety.

Don, New Life Fellowship

“My life has changed incredibly!” Don enthuses. “First and foremost, I’ve got a closer walk with God. I used to think that God turned His back on me and I came to the realization that I turned my back on Him. But since I’ve been here He’s opened up many doors.”

After Don graduates from the program this month, he will stay at UGM for six months to save money, finish his degree and find work as a drug and alcohol counselor. “I see a future for myself.” In the meantime, Don says, “God has brought family that I’ve been estranged from for 30 years back into my life.” The father of eight and grandfather of 14, Don tells us, “For the first time in a lot of years, they’re proud of me.”

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