Using drugs was all that mattered.
Gareth’s childhood was not an easy one. “I witnessed and experienced a lot of physical and emotional abuse that changed me,” he says. The abuse led to depression, stress, and anxiety, which Gareth was unable to control. “It led to a point where heroin and meth made me feel like a human and made me feel complete.”
At first, Gareth only used drugs on weekends. Eventually, he says, “it turned into an everyday occurrence and then I needed it and I wanted it.” Gareth says that using drugs was all that mattered. It made him feel whole. And yet, at the same time, he says, “It was scary, and it sucked.”
“Prison Ministry has changed my life.”
“Towards the last few years of my addiction, I knew I needed help,” Gareth says. “But I never really wanted help.” Gareth knew his continued drug use would lead him to an early death, or prison. Looking back, he is grateful that it led to his arrest. “I am grateful in a way that I ended up going to jail. That really got my life back together.”
While in jail, Gareth got involved with the Mission’s Prison Ministry. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today,” he says, adding, “Prison Ministry has changed my life.”
When Gareth got out of jail, he had two options – to live with a family member and work, or to enter the Mission’s one-year men’s recovery program. With the support of Prison Ministries, and his family, including his brother, who works at the Mission, Gareth chose to enter the Mission. “They know as well as I do that this is the best place for me,” he says.
Support from the Mission
Gareth credits his time at the Mission with introducing him to Jesus. He says God is “amazing and will do anything for His children.” Gareth says he is grateful he’s had the opportunity to graduate “because there was a long part of my life where I quit and gave up on myself time and time again … I didn’t want to quit or give up on myself this time and I’m happy to have the support from the Mission and all the staff here.”
Looking forward, Gareth says he wants to remain with the Mission in some capacity because of “what they’ve done for me and how they have helped change my life. And if I can just help and give back to someone that’s in the program, that’s struggling, that’s wanting to give up on themselves. If I can be that person that helps encourage them to stay for one more day or finish out what they’ve started, because you never know what God has in store for you.”
Gareth wants to be known as someone who cares, and takes time to listen to others. “We all have had our own struggles and dealt with our own personal demons in one way or another,” he says, adding he just wants “to be there for someone to help them out.”
Reposted courtesy of United Gospel Mission
Gareth stayed at the Riverton Place, UGM”S Men’s Recovery Program in Burien.