Road 2 Recovery: Part 2 - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Road 2 Recovery: Part 2

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 "We ask these things in your son's gracious name, Jesus Christ, amen. Amen."

The men in The Salvation Army's rehab program start every day with devotionals before heading to work therapy where they sort, price and get donations ready for re-sale.

However, Pat Nelson's day starts long before he clocks in. Pat gets up by 5 a.m. to workout. "I get up, say my prayers, brush my teeth and I go to the gym." The 46-year-old father is not only training to live sober, but also to fight - as a boxer - once he graduates from this program. These are goals he didn't have a year ago. “I didn't do nothing. I wanted to just sit around the house and get high and drink." Pat took his first drink at about 10 years old. He grew into a star athlete and then, he says, alcohol became even easier to get. Plus, his best friend was an alcoholic, too - his mother. “My mom got killed in 1993 in a robbery attempt in Stockton. She got shot in the head." Pat blamed her murder for his drug abuse, which landed him in prison four times! When a judge ordered him to The Salvation Army's program, he was gifted with the counseling, classes, support groups and the tools he needs to stay clean. It has been nearly five months. During one of our last visits with Pat, he had written a private message to his mom and tied it to a balloon – symbolizing his readiness to let go of the pain his mother's murder caused him. Program Director, Steve Charter was there for the release. “Look how high up it is. It's going up to the clouds. It's going up to Heaven, man. Were you ready to let go of it?” Steve asked? “Yeah, I was,” answered Pat. “I've been ready to let go of it for a long time. I just didn't know how."

That seems to be the case for a lot of these men, who have come to rely on spiritual guidance. They walk to church together twice a week, which is where we met 23-year-old Mike Trumpower, who is new to the program and recovering from meth. As a teen, he told us he binged, crashed and sold meth on Fourth Street. “I knew a lot of people down there who does it. So I got rid of it quick.”

“It didn't take long to make a lot of money?” I question.

“No."

If he didn't have money, “I had my food stamps. Sometimes I'd sell it and get a room and sometimes I'd just sleep on the river." However, after wasting away, not sleeping and hungry, Mike was arrested, jailed and given one last chance through The Salvation Army, where he shared intermittently with others, saying his parents' divorce triggered his bad behavior. Overall though, Mike was pretty quiet through the program.

Sadly, the last time we saw him, he was standing quietly during worship. Steve says Mike was kicked out for stealing a cell phone and last he heard he was living back out on the streets.

Living on the streets is also nothing new to Chris Hart, who says drinking is killing him.

Growing up in a well-to-do family with two professional parents, Chris says he had little discipline. He started drinking heavily at 15 years old. His first sip was much earlier than that. “Six years old when I had my first drink. A 24-ounce can of Budweiser." As a teenager, Chris was the life of the party. Over time, his weekend drinking became an everyday craving. “Some people can take one or two drinks and be done with it. Me? I can't do that." He says he would black out, do angry things, and then he lost jobs, family, friends and his home. He panhandled for money, slept near the river and learned to watch his back. “You gotta learn not to trust anybody, that's for sure. Anybody will steal from you in a minute."

After living scared on the streets, Chris caught wind of The Salvation Army program where he thrived, studied and embraced the support. It is also where he admitted he wants to be sober. “You gotta want it."

To which I ask, “And do you want it?”

“Yes, I do want it. Very bad so."

Is that enough? Not long after our interview, while working his shift at the warehouse, a bottle of rubbing alcohol surfaced in a donated dresser drawer. And seconds later -- everything changed.

To learn what happened, tune in for the final story in our Road 2 Recovery series Thursday night at 5.



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