Palm 30:3 says, “You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.”
I was introduced to Genesis Recovery. I didn’t know where my faith was…I had none. But some inner voice told me that this was where I belonged. I entered Genesis and my life started to change.
I was greeted by a team of staff that genuinely cared about every aspect of my life, something I had never experienced before. The warm welcome of the residents made me feel like I belonged there. And the property was beautiful…comfortably tucked away in the hills where I was not distracted by anything. I started to discover why I drank, that alcohol was not my problem, it was my solution to not knowing how to process feelings, situations, and life in general. I was guided through the 12 step program where I was able to see where my perception of the world was very skewed. We worked through fears, took accountability for my actions and then took the steps necessary to clean up the wreckage of my past. And I was guided spiritually. God was working in my life through the staff and other residents in the program. The recovery community that I was introduced to is one that I have not seen anywhere, and can honestly say that it is one of the rarest gems anyone in recovery will find. With all this, I had many spiritual experiences during my stay at Genesis. And all these spiritual experiences through step work, the staff, and heart-work lead to a true spiritual awakening.
Everything that I experienced at Genesis lead to me having a change in my perspective, attitude, and actions in the world. I entered Genesis with empty hands and an empty heart. When I left, and even more as each day goes by, my heart is filled with a peace, joy and love that is simply priceless. I have witnessed God in my life. I have witness God working in the lives of the staff and residents of Genesis Recovery. And there is no greater miracle than seeing that with my own eyes. Genesis showed be how to be a righteous man, to love, to forgive, to be accountable…but most of all, they saved me from falling into a pit of darkness that has no return.
The book of Genesis in the bible is the story of the creation of man; Genesis Recovery is my journey to the creation of the man I am today.”
After a few delayed flights I finally made it to San Diego, where I was greeted at the airport by a member of the staff and was driven from there to the property. The staff made sure I was comfortable before showing me to my room. It was pretty hard not to be comfortable in the beautiful and scenic mountains where the property is located. The staff and the community were both very welcoming.
During my stay I put on 30 pounds, worked out and ate better than I have in my entire life. I was in the best shape of my life, physically, mentally and spiritually. The grounds are immense and we have the opportunity to hike up mountains, go for walks, play sports or just take some time away to reflect and pray.
During my stay I was introduced to the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and re-introduced to the Lord through morning devotionals and bible studies done in groups led by staff and later by residents that wanted to dive deeper into the word on their own. Something that I was hesitant about at first but learned to embrace and even look forward to during my 120 day stay.
Genesis also provided me with a camaraderie with the other residents and a good bearing on the sober community located around the Greater San Diego area so that my transition afterward would be as smooth as possible. I made better friends then I’ve had in years and we all look after each other.
My experience at Genesis Recovery has been something I’ll never forget. I went from completely hopeless to loving life. It was a much needed break from the real world where I could learn and work on myself. I also gained a spirituality that I desperately needed which is now my prized possession.”
In those first days, I proceeded to do so, but, through a series of significant events, God revealed himself to me. My first important experience occurred when a resident prayed for God to come into my life, during which prayer I felt chills which I nevertheless dismissed as nothing. I was dismayed when told that church attendance was mandatory, being a huge football fan and having made that my religion – yet another thing I was going to have to fake.
That Sunday I went to my first church service in 12 years. I remember sitting in the aisle and becoming very emotional during worship and throughout the service. At the end of the service, the pastor said something that would be a game-changer: he said, “If you need to recommit your life to Jesus, say this prayer in the privacy of your own heart.” I thought to myself, “I probably need to do that.” So I commenced to say the prayer, and then afterward he asked everyone who had said the prayer to stand up. I was convinced I wasn’t going to do that, but, looking down, I discovered that somehow I was already on my feet. Then he asked everyone standing to come forward to the altar, and I was for sure not going to do that. But, once again, against my own will and intention, my legs just started moving. That day I was saved. Making the decision to recommit my life to Jesus Christ was the start of a new life for me – a literal rebirth of the spirit. This was not forced upon me but was a decision which, in the end, I made myself.
As a result, the recovery work and process self-exploration in which I was immersed at Genesis Recovery flew by. I began to delve into the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous; and, now having God in my life, I made a thorough and honest effort to do recovery right. It was the first time I had ever attempted to overcome my addiction or attended a rehabilitation program, and, I thought to myself, “if I can get this thing right the 1st time, I will never again have to go through the pain and misery that I experienced in my addiction”.
Thanks to the amazing counseling staff and a peer-driven community, I was able to take a look at some of the most important issues that had caused me to use. One of the many things I learned is that drugs and alcohol were only symptoms of a deeper spiritual malady, and that I needed to get down to causes and conditions. By taking suggestions and doing whatever was asked of me, attending outside meetings and completing all the work from my counselors for my individual and group sessions, I was able to complete the 120 day program and have subsequently moved on to sober-living.
Today my life is completely different, having internalized the various tools with which Genesis Recovery provides its residents. I have a job, I attend meetings regularly, I go to 3 bible studies a week and I attend church every Sunday – which, ironically, is still my favorite day of the week, but now for a different and much better reason.
I remember one day Tommy telling a pastor, who had inquired about the success rate at Genesis Recovery, that “if people do their own thing, choose not to pick up the tools that we lay out and give a half-hearted attempt then the success rate is 0%; but if they take the suggestions we give them here and, when they leave, use the tools we’ve laid out, giving this their best effort, then the success rate is 100%”. When I heard this I told myself that I wanted to be in that 100%, and I have done all of the things that he listed.
I came to Genesis Recovery with 8 days sober and an agnostic concept of God. Presently, coming up on 6 months of sobriety and having a stronger connection with God than ever before, I feel that I owe my life to Him and to Genesis Recovery. God saved my life by bringing me to Genesis Recovery and they showed me a new way to live, which brought me back to God.”
Lori M Allen (CDAAC, RAS, CGS, CCC, CPC, CCLC)
Our son had just moved back home with us and went on a near month long binge. We immediately started looking for alcohol treatment programs for him with little success. Believe it or not, we were turned away from immediate help (my son was drunk at the time of the appointment) at one of the allegedly best alcohol treatment centers in San Diego. They recommended that he enter the three night a week alcohol program and I kept saying, “But he’s drunk right now and he can’t seem to stop”. They didn’t want to admit him for inpatient care because he’s a binge drinker if you can believe that. They said that he could detox himself even after I pointed out to them (AGAIN) that he’d been drunk for most of the month.
In any event, fortunately, I’d been previously referred to a sober living home, called the guy, pretty much begging for help for my son. He told me to call Tommy at Genesis Recovery, so, we drove up to Genesis (which is a beautiful environment), met Tommy and Dennis, asked a few questions and then they accepted my son into their program. It’s over a month now that my son has been at Genesis and we are heartily pleased with the program.
There were several things that drew us to Genesis but the most important one was Tommy and who he is and what he and Dennis are trying to accomplish at Genesis. This man cares deeply about his residents. He’s personally invested in their sobriety and that’s tough to find. Not only did he work to ease my son’s adjustment, but he was always readily available to discuss our concerns and soothe our own battered souls. Priceless……especially when your kid is in trouble and you’re desperate.
Genesis is a small, intimate community of roughly a couple dozen addicts and alcoholics. Unlike a lot of other treatment programs where participants are kept constantly busy, at Genesis, the residents are involved in a structured program that also allows them free time: ie; they’re not structured to death. There’s time for exercise, reading, meditating, sports, hiking, just living clean. At Genesis, they also have meetings, movies and events in town weekly to keep the residents in touch with the world. They’ve built a strong, supportive community and here’s a critical aspect: these guys are shooting for the healthiest emotional environment they can create and that’s what they’re passing on to their residents along with the 12-Step AA program. All that’s to say that they’re not just teaching them how to stay sober but they’re teaching them what it takes to live a good, healthy and joyful sober life.
My son came home on his first day pass yesterday and I was stunned. My son, my real, sober son arrived, whom I haven’t seen much of in several years. He was clear, focused and best of all, at peace with himself. He was happy and relaxed. My first thought was, “he’s finally getting what he needs”. There’s no better testimonial I can give than that. I am an extremely grateful mother who wholeheartedly recommends Genesis Recovery. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
We tried everything in our power to help him: Counselor after counselor, a kidnapping to Utah for an outdoor hiking and healing program, outpatient programs, several rehabilitation programs, and many sober living facilities. With each treatment, he gained more knowledge and sober time, but always seemed to be “under the radar”, not truly accepting his addiction or buying into the lifestyle change needed to rid himself of the obsession to use drugs and alcohol.
Each time he returned home from a program, he went back to his old friends and drug using habits within a few short weeks. This vicious cycle repeated for several years, and was tearing our family apart, breaking our hearts. With every relapse, his drug use intensified and the situation worsened. He had no hope for a future and no desire to live.
Through all of these trials and difficult times, Tommy and Dennis have made themselves available as confidants and friends to us as parents, and to our son as mentors and an unwavering and positive example that a life dependent on God and the 12-Step Program together can bring true happiness, joy and a purpose for living! Our son finally grasped onto what they were exemplifying when he was placed at Genesis Recovery and decided to follow their lead. He has found peace and serenity at Genesis, in its quiet and picturesque surroundings. And, he has found fellowship in others who have experienced similar struggles. He has found hope for a happy and fulfilling life!
Thank you, Tommy and Dennis, for sharing your trials and tribulations, your life experience and life recovery to help others. There are not enough or the right words to express how grateful we are to you and to the program you have built at Genesis Recovery!!!”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.”
I called a friend of mine who works in the substance abuse field, Roxy, for direction and she didn’t mince any words about getting my son into treatment immediately. My son had already walked away from two different programs, and I was somewhat skeptical already, but she told me all about Genesis Recovery San Diego being faith-based, clinical and 12-Step all in one. I contacted Sandy and within five days he was welcomed into Genesis Recovery San Diego. My son did not want to go initially, but he stayed and I even had a hard time taking him there although I knew it was the best thing for him. I knew all of the love in the world wasn’t going to fix him, and he needed to be there. The first few weeks he was very depressed and down but finally he began to open up to his counselors, and he was then able to take a pass and visit with us. Every time we come to see him at the program he says, “Isn’t this all so beautiful?”
By the grace of God and the wonderful staff at Genesis Recovery San Diego not only do we have our son back in our lives but he is on his way to getting his life back on track. Thank you so much Genesis Recovery San Diego!”
After leaving that program, it wasn’t long before he returned to his old friends and habits and the cycle continued. From 19-22, his I.V. heroin drug use became more intense and he became more difficult to be around. At 22, he moved to San Francisco in August of 2012 to get a fresh start and pursue his dreams but those plans quickly came to an end.
For the next 6 months we had limited communication with Jesse and were desperate to see the hand of the Lord intervene in his life. During that time, in October, we met Tommy at The Rock Church and shared our concerns about our son and he told us as long as he is alive there is still hope.
In December, Tommy met with Jesse to talk about getting well and the fears connected to that process but he wasn’t quite ready and wanted to give it one more try, so he returned to San Francisco and within 2 weeks was living on the street and in a crack motel.
In January 2013, we drove to San Francisco to try to find Jesse because we wanted to remind him of who he was, who we are and how much we loved him. He didn’t have a telephone or know that we were coming and so we drove to the motel where we were told he stayed. It was rainy and dark as we drove down Minna Street looking for the address. Not knowing we had passed the entrance we pulled up to a stop sign and when we looked up he was standing on the street corner staring back at us. This was God’s hand at work and we were so grateful to have found him.
The next couple of days we spent time together and hoped that he would return with us to get help but he still wasn’t ready. During the next month we fervently prayed that the Lord would soften Jesse’s heart and remind him of God’s grace and love. On February 6th, Jesse was taken by ambulance and found himself in the ICU at San Francisco General Hospital with heart failure, low blood pressure, cotton fever, a couple of blood infections, an enlarged heart and weighed about 95 pounds.
The Lord answered our prayers and intervened by putting Jesse in the hospital having touched his physical heart to change him from the inside out. One week later we brought him home to San Diego and delivered him into the hands of Tommy & Dennis where they lovingly and firmly showed Jesse how to be sober and live the way God intended. They showed him that being sober could be fun. Personal responsibility, honesty, accountability, respect, humility and a greater understanding of God’s love and grace are foundational to the program.
Learning how to communicate openly with the other residents about personal struggles and becoming a mentor to new residents helps to put into practice the new skills being learned. A key component to the program is integrating the residents into the community of others who are also recovering from drug addiction within San Diego. By the time they graduate from the program they have attended regular weekly meetings and are able to see the benefit of meeting with others, hearing their stories, learning from their experiences and helping others who are struggling.
We have witnessed our son’s healing from the inside out and are grateful for the time Tommy and Dennis and others have invested into his life. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9)”
After a lengthy conversation with a staff member, our hope had been renewed and a plan was in place. We waited patiently for our son to become desperate and want help, and at 11:00pm on a Friday night a staff member met my husband and took our son into their care. Each of the staff are wonderful role models, and are dedicated to going above and beyond to impact the lives of those in the program.
The program at Genesis Recovery opened my sons eyes to a life of sobriety that is full of hope and serenity. They modeled a sober life that can be fun and exciting, not just evenings spent at AA meetings. They taught him the tools necessary to get thru life sober, the importance of a strong community around him, and, of course, working the 12 steps of AA is a crucial part of this program. Each day someone spent a significant amount of time working on the steps and making sure that our son could truly understand and appreciate the miracle that exists within the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Lastly we’d like to say that the positive changes in character, and the spiritual awakening that transpired while our son was in this program is nothing short of a miracle! We strongly believe that those two things are critical for successful recovery, and it was only the program at Genesis Recovery that was able to make those changes. We will be forever grateful for these amazing men, and that God led us to them.”