GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Guiding Light Works, a Christian-based, Grand Rapids nonprofit, celebrated seven men Tuesday evening on their one-year sobriety from drugs and alcohol.
The nonprofit, located on Division Avenue downtown, offers a four-to-six-month inpatient rehab program to help men and women become sober from drugs and alcohol. Its vision is to “awaken the person with addictions to the possibility of becoming physically, emotionally, and spiritually transformed,” according to the Guiding Light website. “Our goal for men and women is lifelong recovery and a new way of being in relationship with the world.”
Walking into the auditorium at Guiding Light Works, people will see a wall filled with pictures of the faces of men who have completed a year of sober living. Executive Director at Guiding Light Works, Brian Elve, said it’s a step towards a new life.
“This is my favorite event that we do,” he said. “What we like to say is they’re waking up to a new way of life. This is a chance for us to celebrate with them and acknowledge them for the hard work they’ve done.”
Even though the journey to sobriety may look different for everyone, it’s a journey Elve said they do as a team.
“I was a part of this program myself, so what an honor to be in this position as executive director and walk alongside these men, as they kind of do this journey,” he said. “I don’t call it change, we call it miraculous because if you knew how some of these men were living before this, and where they end up in life, and what they do with their life, who they are, in life, it’s definitely transformational.”
Chaz Watford Senior was one of the men who was honored Tuesday evening. He said before he got sober, he had a problem with drugs and alcohol, and that his kids were his main motivation for staying strong during the program.
“I was getting to a point, I’ve had joint custody of my sons, and my kids’ mother was like, ‘Look, this is it. You need to check into rehab or I am taking your kids from you.’ And that woke me up,” he explained. “I was abrasive at first toward the idea, but I was like look, I’m not losing my children.”
Guiding Light Works has also started working with women. Before, they only took in men, but that has since changed.