This Thanksgiving, many of us will be sitting down with friends and family, celebrating the many blessings, provisions and good fortunes we're so thankful to have in our lives.
For Trevor Goodman, Phoenix Rescue Mission resident and graduate of our Men's Recovery Program, Thanksgiving will be a time to serve others - helping the homeless and hurting find hope, healing and comfort.
Perhaps it's not everyone's ideal way to spend his or her Thanksgiving, but for Trevor there's no better way to "give thanks" - than to give back.
“I grew up in the right direction. I never got into drugs or alcohol or anything,” says Trevor. “I never really got into the party scene until after high school.” After graduation, Trevor’s friends changed, and partying and drug use became a standard part of his activities. By the end of summer, he had fully immersed himself. Drug debts stacked up, and so did a sense of depression, anxiety and low self esteem
– all of which pushed him further into addiction. To try and make a clean break, he moved from Utah to Phoenix looking for a chance to start over. But instead of building a new life, he found a new high that he couldn’t handle. Out here, Trevor was introduced to heroin – a growing epidemic in Phoenix. He was hooked instantly. What little money and possessions he had were sacrificed to keep the heroin coming.
"Suddenly I didn't care about anything other than getting high. I started living in motels, then out of my truck. Eventually the truck broke down and I lost it to the impound." In short order, Trevor found himself homeless and living out or a canal by 32nd Street and Shea Boulevard.
For many of us, this would be rock bottom - a clear signal that we needed to find help. But not for Trevor. On the streets he found a way to "make a living" through something that paid him better than an honest days' work ever had - panhandling.
Panhandling was instant money. It enables me. I could stay out there, keep the heroin coming and even stay in a motel room every once in a while," Trevor remembers. "While I had the cash, I had no motivation to do anything different. Why go looking for a $10 per hour job when I could make a couple hundred dollars a day just standing on the curb with a sign?"
What he didn't realize at the time was how heavy the hidden costs were that come with this lifestyle. He was picked up again and again by police, racking up fines and building a record that would hinder him from future housing and employment. By the time he realized what homelessness was doing to his futuee, it was too late. He was trapped.
"I basically lost all hope .. I was stuck. I didn't know what I was going to do, " admits Trevor. "There didn't seen to be any way back from where I was. But I really wanted to change."
When Trevor poured our his heart to his parole officer, she directed him to the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Here he was able to finally break free from the prison he had made for himself by finding the godly support he needed. "When I got here, I gave my lie to Christ. Believing in God, and knowing Christ, gave me purpose for living, something that I had been missing for a long time."
With a newfound purpose, Trevor was ready to begin the journey back to self-sufficiency. "All the legal issues and fines that I never thought I would be able to get past, Phoenix Rescue Mission helped me sort out through homeless court. There's no way I could have done any of it if I wasn't here. The mess of it all would have driven me back to my addiction in an instant. Without their help, I know I'd either be in prison ... or dead."
Today, thanks to the support of friends like you, Trevor is not only sober, he's a new creation in Christ! The legal issues that kept him from moving forward have been satisfied and he's just about to finish paying his debts to the city. On top of it all, he's almost completed our rigorous Ministry Training Program and ready to begin a new life. But for all the blessings he has received, what does Trevor have to be thankful for the most at the Phoenix Rescue Mission?"I'm most thankful that they introduced me to Christ. He gave me purpose .. a reason to live. I feel completely free for the first time in my life."
Once he has completed our Ministry Training Program, Trevor plans to return to school to study audio engineering. For now, you will find him serving meals this Thanksgiving, and helping provide to those who truly need a helping hand, much like the once did.