March 2021 Newsletter

The Truth About Addiction

“You will know the Truth and the truth will set you free…” [John 8:32]

The lies surrounding addiction are pernicious. Contrary to popular belief, as explained by Jillian Hardee, Ph.D., “Addiction does not occur because of moral weakness, a lack of willpower or an unwillingness to stop.”
The truth is that addiction is complex and insidiously creates a stranglehold on both brains and souls in several ways.


  • Creates an intense craving for pleasure.
  • Creates an intense craving for relief (from pain,
    stress, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms).
  • Confuses pleasure with need.
  • Automates unwanted behavior.
  • Impairs rational thinking processes.
  • Produces unbearable shame and hopelessness.

Probably the greatest lie to overcome is the mistaken belief that addiction provides no hope of lasting recovery. At the Eugene Mission, we know the Truth.

We have witnessed God’s miraculous transformation in the lives of those enrolled in our Life Change Program. Our core curriculum, the Genesis Process, provides participants a Biblical and neurochemical understanding of what is “broken” and causes self-destruction. Combined with supportive Mission staff, a sober community, ample time to learn and practice recovery tools, and often a new-found faith in Christ, we see beautiful, hope-filled lives restored for our Life Change graduates!

The Eugene Mission Life Change Program provides one of the few local, long-term residential options available for folks seeking a way out of addiction and, in many cases, a way off the street. And it is free of charge to participants thanks to the kind generosity of Mission supporters.

We are so grateful to you for partnering with the Life Change Program to help bring Truth, a future and hope to those struggling with substance abuse.

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:36]

Sheryl Balthrop
Executive Director

Life Change Graduation

The Eugene Mission invites you to attend the 2021 Life Change Program graduation.

6:00pm May 14, 2021

@Eugene First (formerly First Church of the Nazarene)
730 W 8th Eugene, OR 97402

Limited capacity for reservations email:

Join us via livestream, details to follow on

Life Change Graduates Embrace the Future

Baby Leah gazes at her father with her big, hazel eyes. She breaks into a giggle and stretches her arms around his neck. Both are happy to see one another. Leah, now eight months old, was born into the foster care system as her father Kyle enrolled in the Eugene Mission’s Life Change Program to break his cycle of alcoholism, methamphetamine addiction and relapse. Kyle was blessed by a couple who were willing to foster and nurture Leah while keeping Kyle involved through coordination with DHS. Leah is thriving and so is Kyle, who will graduate from the Life Change Program on May 14, 2021.

Life Change, now in its ninth year at the Eugene Mission, is a structured relapse prevention program that operates in its own residential building on the Eugene Mission campus.

“It is incredible to see these people come in who are so broken and so lost,” says Life Change Program Manager Denver Harris. “It is incredible to see these people walk out of here after an intensive year to 18 months of working on themselves, with their shoulders high, employment, savings and a new future.”

Kyle had his own experience with the foster care system, entering at the age of four with his younger brother. Kyle’s mother was an addict with her own history of pain and struggle. After a night of partying, she drove intoxicated with the boys unbuckled in the back seat. There was a terrible accident and Kyle went straight from the emergency room into a series of 13 foster homes by the time he was six years old. Kyle’s testimony is heavy with early trauma, loss, neglect and abuse, a common theme with our guests at the Eugene Mission.

As Kyle approaches graduation from Life Change, he is in Phase 5, which are the final months of the program.

“The final phase is independent living with accountability,” says Kyle’s Program Counselor Joe Beal. “It’s a phase likened to training wheels. You live independently and go to work, go to meetings and are accountable to check in for appointments.”

During Phase 5, the Life Change Program offers on-campus studio apartments free of charge to simulate independent living and help participants save money for future expenses.

Kyle moved into his on-campus apartment in late January and began work to set up a baby-friendly living space. Kyle is spending prolonged visits with his daughter and working hard to save money. During the six- to nine-month (Phase 4) period of the Life Change program, participants begin to work on identifying job skills and resume writing. Kyle immediately found a job at Aloha of Oregon, a local manufacturer of gourmet jellies and chutneys. Kyle has been working full-time and loving his job, time spent with his daughter and sober living.

When asked to describe his experience in the Life Change Program, Kyle shares: “I am currently on track with a job, a place to live and becoming a good dad to my daughter. I am over a year sober and tobacco-free. Thank you, Lord, for believing in me and loving me in times when I couldn’t trust or love myself.”


Kyle is one of eight graduates we will be celebrating at our annual Life Change Graduation scheduled for May 14, 2021.

Life Change Program Saves Lives

Anthony Hardy, Life Change graduate.

Anthony started drinking with friends in his teenage years and found his experimentation had become an everyday habit he couldn’t stop. After completing a program in Portland, Anthony maintained a period of sobriety and then started drinking again. After losing his job and alienating family and roommates he lived in his car and received a DUII and legal trouble. Anthony came to the Eugene Mission to enroll in the Life Change Program just as the COVID-19 crisis escalated and court proceedings were disrupted and difficult to navigate.

“The Life Change staff were a team effort,” shares Anthony. “They helped me meet the requirements of my diversion program, and they walked me through the entire process, which was tricky with COVID. The steps and protections they went through for the entire Mission during this pandemic have been incredible. They really have their hearts in this work.”

Anthony shares that the Life Change Program provided the structure that he needed to re-organize his thoughts, meet benchmarks and take himself and his future seriously.

“It’s an accomplishment for me to commit to this program and complete it,” he says. “It has been huge for my self-confidence.”

Anthony will be moving out of the Life Change Gideon House this spring to live in an Oxford House, which is a sober-living community.

“I’d like to stay in an Oxford House for a year to prove to myself I can stay sober outside of the Mission,” he says.

“After that, I’d like to explore a career path and settle down.”

Anthony is working full-time as an assembler at Real Wood Products and saving money for future expenses and tuition to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Grant Cox in his new apartment.

Grant Cox’s path to rock bottom started when his brother’s death by suicide left behind tremendous regret.

“I was the last person to talk to him and we argued,” shares Grant. “I started drinking more and more and I lost everything: my house, my culinary business, my truck and my relationship.”

Grant describes the years following his brother’s death as a time of hard drinking and jail time.

“I spent time wandering around Portland with a sleeping bag around my neck and a bottle in my hand,” he says. “I woke up in some dark places. I hated myself.”

After a significant overdose and suicide attempt, Grant ended up hospitalized in Portland where a similar program exists but had a waiting list. With collaboration, Eugene Mission’s Life Change Program Manger Denver Harris was contacted and Grant was released from the hospital and into the program at the Eugene Mission.

Grant is now fifteen months clean and sober, in the final phase of the Life Change Program and getting ready to move into his own apartment. Grant is working full-time at So Delicious, a local manufacturer of dairy-free desserts, and saving money for school and living expenses. Grant would like to finish his degree in culinary arts, a career path interrupted by addiction, and rebuild his once-successful catering business.

“There were a few times I wanted to leave the program,” shares Grant. “But I stuck with it. I am truly grateful for this place. It saved my life.”

Grant Cox and Anthony Hardy will be two of eight graduating the Life Change Program on May 14, 2021.

Life Change Program’s Intensive Approach Pays Off For Participants

Jackson Conrad arrived at the Eugene Mission just days before the COVID crisis necessitated a pause on new guest check-ins and a suspension of volunteer shifts. Without the industry of hundreds of weekly volunteers, the Life Change Program altered its format to step into campus operations. Jackson could be seen cheerfully leaning into the hard work of a complete campus reconfiguration to de-densify all sleeping and common areas, along with extensive cleaning and laundry.

“This program is awesome,” said Jackson a little over a year ago. “You can quote me on that!”

One year later, Jackson is clean and sober from intractable alcoholism.

“I would drink until the wheels fell off,” shares Jackson. “I was drinking in my car the day after I left a 30-day rehab program. I knew I would end up in prison if I didn’t get help. I already had two DUIIs.”

The Life Change Program is a 12-to-18-month structured addiction relapse prevention program.

“Seeing hundreds of addicts go through this program over the years, it takes thirty days just to stabilize a hardcore addict,” says Life Change Program Manager Denver Harris. “It takes 30 days just to get them stable enough to begin recovery and a path to being not just abstinent, but ‘sober-minded.’”

“I had already been to rehab four times,” recalls Jackson, who is now in the final phase of Life Change. “It’s a tough deal. A tough deal. I needed a chance to put some time between me and that last drink. A 30-day program just wasn’t long enough to set me up to live sober.”

As Jackson approaches his 27th birthday, he is bright, energetic and optimistic about his future. Jackson is working full-time at Monaco West Coast and loves his job and co-workers.

“I have been in this amazing God-orchestrated program,” says Jackson gratefully. “My relationship with my family has been restored and I have been released from addiction through my faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve learned so much.”

Jackson will be one of eight graduating the Life Change Program on May 14, 2021.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
[2 Corinthians 5:17]

Prayer Requests

Please pray for our Life Change graduates as they transition into housing and independent living. We pray for continued financial support of the Eugene Mission and the formation of an endowment to support programs, including a Women’s Life Change Program with childcare.

Wish List

  • #10 cans of tomato product
  • Baby wipes
  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Garlic powder
  • Onions
  • Salad greens
  • Sugar packets

We thank God for you.

We are so blessed that you are part of the Eugene Mission family. We look forward to continuing to serve the least and lost together.

If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you.