Home Hope vs. Homelessness Josh’s Story: Redeemed with the Help of UGM in Burien

Josh’s Story: Redeemed with the Help of UGM in Burien

Below is a story of Josh’s recovery from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission at Riverton Place in Burien. The story can also be found here:

Josh was just a year old when his parents divorced and 8 when his mom attempted suicide. Growing up with a severely depressed and alcoholic mother, Josh had already seen more of the dark side of human nature than any child should.

Going to live with his dad wasn’t any better. “He was just learning how to be a dad and he was a full-time drug addict,” Josh says. To escape his traumatic memories, Josh tried to block out the chaotic moments from his mind. At the age of 12, he discovered that drugs helped. For the next several years of his life, Josh continued to use drugs. His friends seemed only to want money or drugs from him, so he cut them out of his life.

At his lowest point, Josh was friendless, alone, and depressed enough to be suicidal. Worse, he was homeless, though he tried to get clean. “I’d go to inpatient treatment,” he says. But when he got out, there was never anywhere to go but the streets.

Homeless and alone

On the streets, Josh says, “It’s hard to stay sober and clean.” Josh walked for days on end, living in his head, not wanting to be around or talk to anybody. He remembers times when he was miserable, hungry, and cold. “That’s when my depression would kick in and I’d start thinking about taking my life,” he says.

“But by the grace of God, I’m still here.”

One day, Josh learned about the Mission from a couple of men and liked what he heard about the program. So he decided to come in.

Finding the help he needed

In his first month, Josh remembers seeing a whole other side of sobriety he had never seen before. “That really hooked me in when I saw all the people happy and excited,” he recalls.

By going out with Search + Rescue and sharing his story with people on the streets, Josh found healing and a passion for helping others escape the streets. Today, Josh is graduated and works on staff to serve those in need.

“I see people out on the streets that were doing exactly what I was doing. They’re miserable, they’re homeless, they’re hungry, they’re cold, but really, they’re just lost,” he shares. “That’s why I want to explain to them that I was there in their shoes, and that there is a place for them to go, and they’re welcome at the Mission.”

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