From the Union Gospel Mission

I often say I’ve got enough crimes and wrongs that I’ve done to her - stacks of paper this high - that she could pick any one page, and it’d be enough to never look back at me again. The fact that she embraces and walks this walk with me is an absolute miracle.” - Eddie Collins The Prologue: Kim and Eddie met at a bar in Salt Lake City. Eddie was 19, carefree, handsome and charming. Kim was 24, divorced, the mother of two young children, but still young and beautiful, anxious to believe in happily ever after. They quickly married. “The party never really stopped with Eddie. There was always so much energy around him. He was likable, extroverted” - Kim. And that party usually included a drug of choice: alcohol, marijuana, meth. The Plot: In addition to the two children Kim brought to the marriage, Kim and Eddie had two more. Eddie continued to party but wasn’t having quite as much fun. He’d be gone for days and lie about where he’d been. There was never any money for groceries or bills because Eddie had spent it on drugs. He lost jobs, stole from his family. The fighting escalated, and the atmosphere at home became chaotic. Eventually, Kim gave Eddie an ultimatum - “the drugs or me” - and Eddie chose the drugs. They divorced. “I tried yelling and screaming. That didn’t work. I tried to be tender and loving. That didn’t work. I wasn’t helping him.” - Kim. The Climax: Years later, after many splits and reconciliations, Eddie stood at the door of Kim’s house on Christmas Eve. The temperature outside was 14 degrees. Eddie was hungry, cold, homeless. He wanted Kim to let him in, give him a warm meal and a spot on the couch. Though she felt the wrenching pain of it, Kim handed Eddie a blanket and closed the door. Eddie spent Christmas in his car. Kim’s refusal, however, was not a rejection. She cared deeply about Eddie and was instrumental in getting him into the Union Gospel Mission. “I got to the day room, looked around and thought, ‘I’m not like these guys.’ That’s the lie that the drug tells you - that you have it goin’, and I thought I did.” Once when Kim was really livid, she told Eddie, “You’re just a waste of good oxygen,” and when he started to dry up, he remembers thinking, “That’s exactly what I was - as a parent, as a husband, as a provider, all these things God called me to do.” But, he wanted to be so much more. “This is the person I always knew was inside there” -Kim. The Resolution: Eddie has been to rehab twice before and stayed clean for 98 days, but both Kim and Eddie agree this time is different. This time Eddie’s focus is not just on recovery but on getting right with God. The Mission is giving Eddie the skills he needs to do both. Eddie has been at the Mission for a little over a year. In addition to being drug free, he has been in counseling to face the false beliefs and behaviors behind his addiction; he has listened to Kim and his children talk about the pain he has caused them; and he has wept over that pain. He has sought their forgiveness, as well as God’s, and he has worked to become the husband and father God has called him to be. “First and foremost, I want to finish the program” - Eddie. The Sequel: Eddie and Kim know they have a long road ahead of them. Eddie has been living in the Mission’s protective environment, while Kim has struggled on her own - working to provide for herself and their children - but they have big plans. First, Eddie will complete the program, “because I’ve never finished anything.” Part of that includes leaving the Mission to live in transitional housing for two months. Then, in August, after his graduation, Kim and Eddie plan to remarry - nineteen years to the month after they first met - and start afresh with Christ as their new foundation.