Ryan is 33 years old. Despite a difficult childhood, he lays no blame on his family, knowing that they did their best raising him. However, when he was just 16 his life shattered: Ryan suffered a serious snowboarding accident, injuring his brain and leaving him in a coma for weeks. He still suffers episodes as a result of the head trauma.
Trying to cope with this major life change and its new limitations, Ryan began to self-medicate… He dropped out of high school, lost contact with his family and quickly found himself living on the streets. Once there he continued to run from his problems, spiralling deeper into addiction.
“I was angry and confused and my life was a mess,” he said. “I slept under a tree near downtown and ate at the Gospel Mission…”
“I never thought I would see a day where I wasn’t drinking and wasn’t doing drugs. It was absolutely foreign to me.”
Then one night, while he slept by a creek, he was awakened by a group of men. They began to beat him and said they were going to drown him in the creek. Terrified, Ryan escaped and broke into a run. He didn’t stop running until he reached the hospital.
Afraid to spend another night on the street, he made the decision that would change his life. “I knew I had to change so I signed up for the men’s program at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission,” he said.
After signing up for the men’s program and quitting drugs, Ryan’s aggressive, reactionary demeanor began to change. He was accountable for his behaviour, and began to volunteer at the shelter, at first grudgingly and then graciously.
“My life has a foundation … The only thing I can control is my relationship with Christ.” —Ryan
After a clean period of 8 weeks, Ryan entered a recovery program at Freedom’s Door, one of our service partners. He has now been clean and sober for a year, works full time and goes to Metro church every Sunday. He has reunited with his family, who he hadn’t spoken to in five years, and his faith grows stronger every day.
“My life has a foundation,” said Ryan. “I realize that I’m not in control and the only thing I can control is my relationship with Christ. Between the police officers, the staff at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and Freedom’s Door, you guys have put me in a spot where I see that faith in God actually works.”
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