Two weeks ago, something spectacular happened! But…. I can’t tell you exactly what it is, yet. You’ll have to read on. So go for it, jump right in to this Q&A with HIA Graduate Tyler Barnes.
When did you enter the Hope is Alive Program? Why?
I started my journey with Hope is Alive in September of 2014. I had been sober for over a year, but was still missing something- an authentic Christian community that pushed individuals to find their passion and excel at it. I didn’t realize that was what I needed at the time but that is exactly what I found at HIA. The people that became my brothers did life at a different level than anywhere else I had experienced. When I discovered my passion, I found hope for my future.
What are some of your favorite memories from your time in the HIA Program?
All of my favorite memories involve the lasting friendships that I forged over the two years I lived in the homes. Ski trips, Sunday night meetings, Night of Hope, sharing my story, and opening new homes for future men and women. The stories are endless but those moments that really stand out to me.
Looking back on your time living in our homes, what would you say was the biggest lesson you learned?
The most significant change for me was overcoming the debilitating fear of inadequacy that had chased me my whole life. It had overshadowed any accomplishment, pushed me towards perfectionism, robbed me of lasting joy, and caused me to question every decision I would make. To be FREE from that altered the trajectory of my life. I learned to run my own race, out work everyone else, and leave the final result in God’s hands. He made me perfect and predestined me for a future that is going to blow me away.
Since you graduated our program, what have you been up to?
Since graduating I have married my best friend. A woman that loves the Lord, encourages me daily, supports me always, and does this crazy sober life with me. I also work as a student pastor at Canadian Valley Baptist Church teaching students about how to follow Christ daily. I recently started my own website: www.tylerwbarnes.com with a blog and video teaching.
Recently, you just achieved a HUGE milestone. Tell us about it?
A year and a half ago I decided it was time to go back to school and finish my degree. Twice before I had gone back to school only to relapse the first week and quite literally fail. Saying I was nervous would be an understatement, but I am called to ministry and needed my degree in order to take my step. So, I trusted God and big things happened. I graduated with my chemical engineering degree, from the University of Oklahoma!
What did it feel like when you heard your name announced at the graduation ceremony?
It was surreal. I still don’t think it has completely set in yet. But I’m not done yet either. I am pumped to say that, this fall, I will start working on my Masters degree at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary!!
You are such a tremendous example to all of our current residents, what would you tell them to encourage them to keep fighting?
Stick it out. The people that succeed give recovery and life everything they’ve got and then some. Because as Lance always says, “the best is yet to come.”
Lastly, is there anyone you would like to thank?!
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people that surround me. I want to give a big thank you to my wife, my mom and dad, Lance, and all the people that believed in me when I didn’t. Also, none of this was possible without Jesus.
What a story huh?!? All of us at Hope is Alive are so incredibly proud of Tyler! He is a shining example to our 90+ residents of what can happen when you surrender and give your life away to help others. He is also a beacon of HOPE to all of the moms & dads out there who are still praying for their sons or daughters to take that first step to freedom.
Tyler embodies hope for so many of us today and his story proves to us all, that Hope is Alive!