Seven years ago, Spencer Nee was homeless and battling alcohol addiction in Denver, Colorado. Today he's sober after finding Jesus and now leads a national cause designed to help others facing similar ordeals.
In 2007, an estimated 3.5 million people (1.3 million of them being children) were likely to experience homelessness in a given year, according to a study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Many of these people were just like Nee, ordinary Americans who somehow lost their way — although for Nee it was a battle with drugs and alcoholism that led to his struggles.
"I was in a really terrifying place seven years ago," Nee told The Christian Post. "I was homeless and drinking about half a gallon of vodka a day. I had lost my relationships with my friends and family and was pretty much completely alone. I had lost all hope. I couldn't keep a job … my day was centered around not getting sick. I would start getting sick if I didn't have enough alcohol."
Nee, who was not a Christian at the time, said that his wake-up call came when he realized he had hit rock bottom. The Denver activist woke up one day covered in trash residue while camped behind an enclosure for a dumpster in Denver, and although he was not much of a believer, he turned to prayer in that desperate moment.
"It was one of those prayers where I didn't quite know what to say, it went something like 'God, if you're out there, I need some help. I have nowhere else to turn,'" he recalled.
His prayer eventually led him to reach out to his estranged parents, who were relieved to receive the call they had been waiting for.
"At this point we weren't really communicating a whole lot, the addictions had torn our relationships apart as they do for many families," he said. "So they got the call that they had been praying for for many years and they helped connect me to a pastor who connected me to Providence Network."
The Denver-based Christian organization is an urban transformational housing entity that helps men, women and families heal from addictions, abuse and homelessness to become self-sufficient, productive members of the community. Nee believes that it was no coincidence that he ended up at the Providence Network and that God led him there so that he could not only get sober but find Jesus.
"It's interesting how He did this because there's a lot of programs out there and many of them are not faith-based and He closed some doors to open other doors so that I could end up at Providence Network," said Nee.
He credits the Holy Spirit for his remarkable recovery and genuinely believes that without Providence Network he might not have survived.
"Ultimately, it was my relationship with Jesus Christ … and the Holy Spirit's guidance is really what changed me and made me go on to live seven years and counting sober," he shared.
Today, Nee is happy and healthy and works as an ER nurse, and he's raising money for an initiative he launched in May for Providence Network. As part of his Bridge to Bridge campaign, Nee rode 4,000 miles on his bicycle from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to New York's Brooklyn Bridge to raise $100,000 and to raise awareness about homelessness in America.
"The Department of Justice estimates that 1.7 million kids deal with homelessness each year in the U.S. and 80 percent are afflicted with drug and alcohol addiction," he said.
Providence Network is in the process of building a recovery home for Denver's homeless population of youth and young adults, and all the money raised by Nee will be donated to this cause.
On Aug. 22, Nee completed his journey and at the time he had raised over $55,000. The campaign is ongoign and will remain active until Oct. 1.
"The goal was to help raise money for the organization Providence Network that saved my life," said Nee. "But also I wanted to go out into various communities — I've passed through hundreds of cities now — and talk to people about sobriety and about recovery and about the restoration that can happen through a relationship with Jesus Christ."
To donate to Spencer's Bridge to Bridge campaign CLICK HERE.