Circle of Hope

Last week, I had the honor of attending the Circle of Hope Dinner benefiting Fairbanks Treatment Center in Indianapolis (

Some 400 people celebrated the institution’s 65-year history of providing treatment and recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.  One of Fairbanks’ shining programs is its Hope Academy, (, a tuition-free recovery high school.  Two of its graduates, one an 18-year-old who began using heroin at the age of 14, spoke movingly during the dinner of her gratitude to the academy for providing a curriculum and recovery program that inspired her to get sober.

Can you imagine being a parent or caregiver of an addicted teenager who receives this incredible gift of hope?

Can you imagine being the teenager feeling the hope of a new life?

Earlier that day, during my flight to Indy, a front page USA Today article described a program in Michigan called the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative where released prisoners collaborate with cops and receive help finding jobs so long as they stay out of trouble.  This unusual arrangement assists many career criminals turned ex-con obtain well-paying employment and reengage in a society that may not otherwise want them.

Can you imagine what it must feel like to come out of prison, having served time for a decade or more, and a cop–of all people–believes in you enough to help provide a fresh start?

Can you imagine being that ex-offender feeling like life has begun anew?

Hope is a powerful motivator when you have known so much hopelessness. 

Most of us in recovery have experienced both; for me, it was the hopelessness I felt about a year ago that catapulted me into life circumstances where only two things remained consistent–my employment and my sobriety.   

The thing about hope is it has a way of leaking in around the edges of hopelessness when we least expect it. 

One year ago, I had no way of imagining that my circumstances would be what they are today.

I think God graced me with hope in spite of my best efforts to thwart it.  Like a hibiscus beginning to bloom in summer, each day found hope opening a bit more in my life. 

Like the Hope Academy graduates and the recently released Michigan prisoners, hope is the foundation on which my new life began.  Hope is a circle that reconnected me to my beginning, to the innocence of infancy and the humility of renewal.

Do you have a story of hope to share?

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