Christian Downs

Christian Downs
Nate Lanting

How it all began…

It all started with trying to fit in with a crowd that I “thought” were “friends”. I was raised better, I knew better, I can’t believe I ever used drugs; it went from cocaine, to crack, to pain pills, to heroin. With each change it got worse, until the people that were always around me were gone. I was making good money and stayed employed while addicted to opiates; but the double lifestyle could only be hid and functional for so long. I found myself alone and enslaved to the next session of getting high. I was using non-stop just to maintain, feel normal, and not be sick. It was just a matter of time before I would end up homeless, in prison, or dead.

Luckily, it didn’t get that far, I was never homeless. A work intervention sent me to a program (28-day) that I completed to appease others and keep my job, but I wasn’t ready to get clean. After losing my job and getting desperate, I entered the Climbing Out of Homelessness (COH) program and the UGM recovery program together. It was a big part of my success. I have been clean off of all drugs for 5 years now.

It gave me something positive to look forward to. It gave me people that were there for me in good times and difficult ones. I finally had real friends that were doing positive things and not just getting high. It helped me turn into a person that does the right thing for the right reasons, and not just when someone is looking or for recognition. It helped me to put others ahead of myself and to trust people. I then also became worthy of being trusted. Most of all, it motivated me to get outdoors and see more of the beauty of God’s creation with healthy community. I believe the COH program will help others, like it helped me to find the life I was meant to live.

I still love to hike, and do so often with climb team alumni as well as my wife Kari of two years. My climbing experience helps me often relate to people from many backgrounds while working with Alpha USA as the Regional Director of Washington State. I will continue to Climb trails, but more importantly the mountains of life. Thanks COH.