Recovery Hero Matthew (Mike) Michael

My name is Matthew (Mike) Michael, I have been in long term recovery and wellness as a lifestyle since September 14th, 2020, when I was arrested in Loveland, CO for my last DUI.  I believe God sent the police to arrest me to save my life because I was very suicidal and on a drunken stupor. Once I was admitted into Larimer County Jail for DUI and several other charges I broke down and just cried because I knew that my drinking days were over, and I would have to find another force or power outside myself to get through life. I cried out to God to see if He was still out there and willing to help me again even though I had taken Him out of the driver’s seat of my life once again and threw Him in the trunk. I slept for the first few days except for getting up for meals and to shower. I could not find a bible in intake but was moved to a cell in one of the living units and finally found one on a bookshelf in the unit and took it to my cell.  I opened it up and it fell open to Mark 5:36 where Jesus tells a man, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”  I was taken back and felt He was really talking to me, and it stirred in me a little bit of hope that I had not had in quite a while. I did not waste any time between intake to being sentenced to DOC (92 Days) since I knew that it was inevitable for my 8th DUI since 1988. I was sent to Arrowhead Correctional Center in Canon City, CO to do the Therapeutic Community (TC) Program because DOC thought I would get the help I needed even though I had been through two residential Addiction Programs prior to this in my life. 

Since TC in prison is not usually voluntary it is 90 percent BS and 10 percent helpful and life changing information but only if a person chooses to use it. I grudgingly got through it over a period of 11 months but during those months I grew mostly through the facility Chaplain Marcus Baird and the Stepping Up Program- A Call to a Courageous Manhood and his bible studies and one on one meetings.  He inspired me spiritually and challenged me emotionally and mentally to help me understand that my past does not have to define who I am or be my identity and I do have a bright future and a hope in Christ and surrendering my life to Him daily rather than self-caused chaos.  I took this new growth with me as I left Arrowhead and went to the Take Two Program or Transitional Work Program at the Buena Vista Correctional Center. I was in the Buena Vista community working as a civilian and saving money for my release until an inmate at Delta Correctional Center, so the program was shut down after I was there only five months and sent to Rifle Correctional Center. Here is where I felt it was Divine Intervention when I met the facility Chaplain Gabe Cohen.  He was a seven-time felon in DOC and had been a hopeless addict for most of his adult life and turned his life around by becoming a Recovery Coach and starting his own non-profit Discovery Café to help men in and out of prison and King and Priest Ministries to become a Chaplain in the facilities. He inspired me and proved to me that I could overcome my hurts, failures and shortcomings and use the dark and desolate times in my life to help others and become the man I was created to be.  Gabe was gracious enough to bring in Rachel Fowler, Director of Training for SRC, to Rifle Correctional Center to train 15 of us the Peer Recovery Coach Training over a two-week period and my life was changed forever.

After the training I started leading the Celebrate Recovery program at the facility as well as continuing to attend Discovery Café and doing one-on-one peer support meetings with inmates to improve my coaching style and help the men help themselves in many ways. I kept in touch with Rachel through the next several months and once I progressed to community Corrections at CAE in Colorado Springs, I got in touch with her and was able to interview for the Justice Services department at SRC within two weeks. By the grace of God, I was offered the position and I am so grateful the position, the ability to use my past as an asset and for the first time in my life I felt where I belong. Being a Peer Recovery Coach at Serenity Recovery Connection has allowed me to move on from my past and freed me to just be me and live my best life imaginable.  I still do keep in touch with Chaplain Baird and Gabe as valuable mentors.  I also attend Celebrate Recovery and a Men’s Bible Study at Pikes Peak Christian Church to continue to grow spiritually and to give back to the community. I still have lots of work to do in my personal recovery as well as many years of personal living amends to my friends and family, but I could not ask for a better or more supportive group of people around me and the foundation of my relationship with Jesus Christ.