This time of year, Christians around the world will be celebrating advent, a time of expectant waiting for Christmas. Come with us as we journey through advent together, sharing stories from those in our programs as they explore Hope, Faith, Love and Peace.
Mike connected with OIM 11 years ago. When we met Mike, he was homeless and in an addictions treatment program.
“I was dealt a very bad set of cards early on in my life. My childhood wasn’t happy. I started drinking heavily at the age of 16. I didn’t know joy back then. All I was doing was drinking. At that age, I got myself into a lot of trouble and ended up in jail.
Before I knew it, years had gone by. And in that time, I lost my job, my family – everything.
When I met OIM I was in a strange city, homeless and with a serious problem. I would get my monthly money and I would blow it in 4 hours. I was very hopeless back then.
I came to OIM because I heard you could get food there but I got something more than food. I remember talking to Jelica at the Drop In and started to feel a bit different. I started to feel hope. I also came to the OIM office. There, the staff helped me get to my AA meetings.
I am 10 years and 8 month sober now. I don’t go to meetings anymore. Now, I come to OIM for my recovery. It reminds me of what I’ve overcome. One of my favorite words is the Bible is ‘steadfast.’ To me OIM is that – it’s like a rock in my life because they are always here.
My life is getting better all the time because I have hope. When I got here 11 years ago that wasn’t always the story – I was very hopeless. But then I found OIM and I ‘turned the corner’ as they say. Y’see, what you guys do is give me hope.
When I came to Ottawa I was pretty sick, but I’m not sick today. I don’t feel my age most days. I feel young again because my hope was restored. If you don’t restore your hope somehow it will take over the hopelessness. Now, it’s the other way around. Hope has taken over. Even though I’m still poor and I don’t have everything I need it doesn’t matter – those are the small things. I have faith that things are going to come along.
If you still have a little bit of faith left in society, in the world or in the good people, come to OIM and get it reinforced by 10.”
Listen to Mike’s Story: