Five years ago, Terry was about to move into a home. But, it suddenly burnt down. With nowhere else to go on such short notice, Terry felt his only real option was to hide out in his storage locker. The two years and 14 days he spent here were agonizing.
Terry Lived in a Storage Locker for Two Claustrophobic Years
Terry was sexually abused as a child, resulting in shame and severe social anxiety. At 18, he discovered he could ease the harrowing pain by drinking, which spiralled into a 40-year addiction.
While Terry was secretly living in his locker, this anxiety and addiction only intensified. Freed from the cost of monthly rent, Terry spent his money on alcohol, numbing his guilt, shame, and fear.
After Trying to Detox on his Own, Terry Hit Rock Bottom
When a security guard finally confronted him, Terry had to find another living situation. Since it was early summer, he decided to sleep in city parks.
After trying to taper off drinking on his own one night, Terry suffered from multiple seizures. When he regained consciousness, every single one of his belongings had been stolen.
Desperate for safety and sobriety, Terry spent a night in the hospital. In this moment, Terry knew his life had hit rock bottom, and that he couldn’t pull himself up out of it alone.
Terry Came to UGM, Where Ken Invited Him to Stay for a Meal
The next day, Terry made his way to Union Gospel Mission. Nervously, Terry told Ken, UGM’s Front Desk Worker, that he needed a place to sleep. “Ken looked at me and said, ‘What do you really need?’ I said, ‘I want to get sober.’”
Ken invited Terry to stay for a meal, but the crowded dining room triggered his anxiety. The Outreach staff took notice, and sat down with him at a comfortable seat. “Suddenly, I wasn’t afraid,” Terry remembers.
In Recovery, Terry Overcame Shame
Terry’s social anxiety caused him to keep up his guard when he first entered recovery. But everything at UGM is designed with a supportive community in mind. “What ended up drawing me in was gathering for meals every day,” Terry explains. “I needed that, to learn to build a family again.”
Building trust with his recovery community, Terry began bravely working to overcome addiction from its root. Here, he finally opened up about his childhood trauma. This loosened the lifelong bondage of shame, and for the first time, Terry found peace.
Today, Terry has Found Freedom and Family
Since, Terry has rebuilt his life with grit and determination. An internship on UGM’s Maintenance team has since become both a full-time job, and a family where he belongs.
Today, he is no longer clouded by shame and a secret addiction. Instead, Terry has a freedom he’s never had. “I don’t have to bury stuff anymore,” he shares. “I have a safe community, and a feeling of family.”