By Ronnie Davis
When you meet LT, it’s immediately obvious that he is the kind of guy that can hold your attention. He has a presence about him that is simultaneously welcoming and strong and he speaks from the heart. Which is why it might be surprising to some to hear how far he’s come since joining Recovery Café.
LT was generous enough to open up to me about his life and his journey in recovery. LT’s past is colored with violence, hardships, and fear. When he first moved to Seattle looking for a new start, he found himself bouncing from service to service without true stability or community. While he was able to find help, transformation eluded him. Completely by chance, he struck up a conversation with one of our staff members who invited him to the Café. Hoping to get to know the staff member better, LT paid his first visit to the Café and met with one of our Radical Hospitality Coordinators. LT had an instant connection with our community and felt so welcomed and wanted from that first interaction that he knew he needed to engage more with our organization. ”I was instantly taken in by his hospitality and warmth. I said to myself, this place is different”.
During our conversation, I was surprised by the number of times that LT told me one of the best things about Recovery Café is the absence of violence. For most of us, violence is unacceptable and extraordinary; but because of LT’s past and the harsh realities of living unsheltered with addiction, finding a community with an absence of violence seemed rare to him and truly special. He wanted me to know the value of physical security. The safety of Recovery Café allowed him to start on a path of transformation.
“I realized that I was changing and all the fear and the anger dissipated in me. I begin to stop being afraid all the time and that let me start to accept others because of this place. Recovery Café not only showed me how to accept others, but how to love myself”.
The promise of a forgiving and loving community gave LT a new way to view his environment and led him to personal growth and healing in ways he hadn’t anticipated. He realized that he was internalizing some of the toxic and negative attributes of his past. LT confided in me that before Recovery Café, he had trouble extending acceptance or tolerance for LGTBQ people. But being embraced by love in our community, he realized that he also needed to extend love beyond himself. He told me that he doesn’t think he would have been capable of this transformation without the clean slate that Recovery Café provided for him. “I couldn’t have done that without getting past my own fear and torment”.
Close to the end of our conversation LT asked me to be sure that I noted that our Founder Killian is an excellent person. Then he thought for a second and named a second staff member as an excellent person. Then another, and another, and as many as he could. LT settled on asking me to write how excellent the whole staff had been to him since he started coming. After I closed my notebook, LT asked me if I believed in destiny. Unsure, I asked him what he thought his destiny was. He told me that his ultimate destiny was to love God and treat his neighbors and his self with that same level of love and respect.
Members like LT are the reason why miracles are happening every day at the Café . Thank you to all of the people who make Recovery Café a safe place for transformation and healing. LT is celebrating 13 years in recovery from narcotics.