“I could never shake the feeling that I was different.” A sentiment shared by all addicts and alcoholics.
Chris Everett grew up in a respectable family in Northwest Ohio. Despite best efforts, he was defiant and got into many fights, usually defending someone weaker. This led to issues in school and he actually had about two year period in middle school where he did not even attend.
By high school, he had started hard drugs and the trouble, as well as the consequences, got more severe. By the end of high school, he had started to pull armed robberies which continued for a number of years.
At 19 years old heroin became all-consuming and for the next 15 or so years took him down a path of continuous chaos, incarceration, violence, and death. Street life was all he knew.
At around 35 years old, Chris broke his neck (a second time) jumping off a roof amidst a cloud of narcotics; he ended up at a Salvation Army. With no intention of finishing the program, he resentfully admitted myself and my true journey to recovery started. It was painful. It was uncomfortable. And it was also incredibly rewarding.
In that time, God revealed Himself to Chris through others and he saw how dark his sin was. Chris gave my life to Jesus and then God ultimately revealed his character, integrity, and heart — characteristics that he thought were long since gone. Life had become worth living, even beautiful.
Before he knew it, Chris had finished and finished well. He got a job as “house man” there and embarked on what he had no idea then, would become a mission to attempt to restore a community that he once helped destroy. Chris worked at several different treatment centers, the city mission, and came back as a head counselor to the same Salvation Army he showed up to homeless and hopeless years earlier.
Working in these different facilities, Chris noticed an often overlooked chasm in recovery services. This was a void after someone is discharged from a facility whether it be a treatment center, sober living, hospital, jail, any in between spot. Chris coined this void as the gap. The gap is the space where the most damage is done, the most life is lost and he sought to bridge it however necessary.
From Chris’ experience on both sides of the system, he was able to bridge the divide through my intimate knowledge of the streets, facilities and in between.
“The goal is that there is never a period, between discharge from a facility and the next step in recovery, that the feet of the addict should touch the street. It is our responsibility and my mission that no one, addict or loved one of an addict, have to go it alone. We stand in the gap with you. Whether that’s finding you proper continuing treatment or locating you on the street, taking you to emergency shelter or keeping you safe until the bed opens up, then that is what we will do.”
After years of this work, Chris has developed the necessary skills and relationships to guide addicts, families, and the community at large down a once cumbersome and lonely road. It’s not an easy road, but no one needs to do it alone.