Thanksgiving is a time of joyful celebration, yet also a time of reflection on the blessings each of you have received. While making your holiday plans and reflecting on all the things you have to be thankful for, it’s also a time to think about those who are less fortunate. Those who we can assist in their time of need.
Listen to one of our clients’ story who received assistance at a crucial moment in his life:
“Hi, I’m Matthew Skarin, 28 years old, from Van Nuys, CA. I spent some of my childhood years in Portland, OR until the end of second grade. Portland had beautiful lush green landscapes, but it was cold and wet all the time. Things I enjoyed back then were tormenting my sister, playing basketball and building forts in the backyard. When I reached the third grade, our family moved to Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley in California. I loved spending time in the sun, riding my skateboard, going hiking and taking my mountain bike out and exploring the hills around my house.
Growing up, my first addiction was playing video games on the computer. I could spend hours by myself in front of the computer screen. Later, I became interested in bicycles and riding and racing all over the United States. At the age of 17, I became burned-out and wanted to try other things. From an early age, it seemed easy for me to take one hobby or activity and become obsessed with it. I was consumed with obsessive thinking and day dreaming about my obsessions.
At the age of 18, I met a new group of friends who enjoyed drinking on the week ends and that soon became my obsession, ‘Living for the week end’ became the thing for me. After a few years, this activity became all consuming. I had a huge store house of endorphins in the depths of my brain that were released every time I drank. My destructive behavior raised havoc on my system, making it nearly impossible to stop once I started. I didn’t drink because of a crummy childhood or some forgotten trauma. I drank because I was physically addicted to alcohol. The thing about being addicted to alcohol is that alcohol does not discriminate. Your age, your race, your social class, or your sex does not matter. You can be the most disciplined person, but when alcohol gets you, it has you.
Because of alcoholism, I felt constantly depressed and was plagued by anxiety and panic attacks at any time unless heavily sedated. I found I was in need of the perpetual use of alcohol. I couldn’t function normally sober any more. So, I would drink at work and ended up losing jobs. With no income, I couldn’t keep a roof over my head. Finally, alcohol made me so physically and mentally ill, I couldn’t take it any longer. I reached out to my mother to see if she would help me find a program to give me a chance at a new life.
My mom reached out to her friend, Dr. Michael Lee, who told her about Drug Alternative Program. Within two days, I entered the program. When I arrived at DAP, my goal was to learn how to live an alcohol-free life. However, while being here, I have learned about Jesus and how He wants to use people like me to spread His Good News. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed Jesus in my life and I accepted Him into my heart. From spending time in the Bible, I have learned to have joy and happiness in the little things of life. Coming from what I was used to, days full of darkness and anxiety, one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given me is peace of mind. Now I know that I don’t have to go on the voyage of life alone. I am no longer paralyzed by difficulties that I’ll have to overcome but empowered by the possibilities that are available to me through my heavenly Father.
One of my most recent blessings came when I turned myself in at court since I had two active warrants for my arrest and guaranteed jail time. God orchestrated just the right people to handle my case. When the judge spoke to me and saw that I was moving forward and doing the right thing, along with the letter of progress from DAP, he decided to dismiss the violations with no fees and jail time. I am grateful for all the prayers I received from my brothers and sisters in Christ and family members. Now, in return, my great commission is to take God’s love, that I have received in my life, and share it with others.
Last month I was promoted to Phase V (graduate candidate) and I will be graduating in May 2019. Meanwhile, I am living in the Transition Home and working at Burlington Coat Factory. My goal is to attend Trade School and pursue a trade.
I would like to thank my parents for the sacrifice they have made to help me change my life. I realize the greatest way I can repay them is to live a drug-free life; keep Jesus in the center; and witness to other men who are addicted to drugs to help deliver them as Christ delivered me. I am so thankful to have a healthy relationship with family and friends.”
DAP believes ‘every life is worth saving,’ Thank you, DAP family, for helping this ministry save the lives of the men that come through these doors to learn about God and experience His complete healing.
While this year, DAP has needed your gifts more than ever, we are trusting you and our heavenly Father to provide the necessary funds over the next 60 days so we will end 2018 with all our bills paid. We can’t thank you enough for the way you have stood with us in the past and today we are counting on your generosity again.
With much gratitude,