STP Mission: Bringing authentic Jesus like faith and science together to help people see recovery around addiction, mental health, and suicidal thoughts differently.
STP Vision: To see the world set free by loving our neighbor as ourselves and actually helping one another. Engaging, educating, equipping, and empowering communities to develop a more empathetic and loving society.
We are here to change the message of shame that currently surrounds anyone in recovery, especially those affected by addiction, mental health struggles or suicidal thoughts. The truth is we are all in need of recovery from something, and rather than hiding, let’s bring recovery to the forefront of our lives so that we can all begin to heal.
We aim to make hope and recovery accessible to those in need, and educating communities how to walk alongside those struggling with addiction, mental health and suicidal thoughts. We seek to rebuild the message of recovery, finding the intersection of an authentic faith that looks like Jesus, and science in order to walk in radical freedom. Ultimately, we want to help all those who don't know who they are find their true identity's as beloved sons and daughters.
Why: When you feel moved on a personal level and are emotionally invested in a change, you are more likely to remain committed to that change.
How: We share personal narratives to create a space where acceptance can take the front seat. This way, we are fueled by connection and empathy rather than judgement and misunderstanding.
Why: For a person or community to feel capable of making a change, they must feel confident in their knowledge and ability to make informed decisions. We are committed to spreading accurate information
How: Via our webpage, videos, podcasts, and community speaking events, we provide information about the origins of addiction and the history of the war on drugs, the impacts of addiction, and holistic options for recovery.
Why: For change to be sustained, people must be motivated by their own intentions, grounded by what is meaningful to them, and confident in their own abilities. Science and faith have both shown us that with the right support through empathy and unwavering positive regard, anyone can regain confidence and persevere.
How: Every person carries a purpose but sometimes they need help reconnecting to it. Through engaging in community service and positive interactions, people can find meaning and regain the confidence needed to succeed in recovery.
Why: Once someone is engaged, educated, and empowered, they are now ready to be equipped. Change is hard, so it is important to strategically provide tools and resources for support in ways that feel accessible and feasible.
How: We provide an outlet to raise your voice and seek personal behavior change through community events, service outreach, and improved access to compassionate support.
We have been attempting to solve these problems the wrong way. We have...
Complete healing is possible, but only through a holistic approach:
Founder, Timothy Initiative + Sober Truth Project
I am a lover of Jesus and I owe everything to the one who saved me from death and darkness.
After 14 years of involvement in recovery, I have seen what works, what doesn’t, and how the best intentions and efforts often end up harming, or yield only minimal positive results.
I have survived multiple suicide attempts. I have been abused. I am in long-term recovery from alcohol and drugs. I have walked with friends through the suicide of a loved one. I have lost family members. I have lost men to drug overdose (both intentional and accidental). I have witnessed many others lose everything to addictions they could not get under control.
I have also helped hundreds of men fight addiction since 2009 through the Timothy Initiative (TI). Many of these men have found the answers to the problems of life that they have sought for so long (men who embrace the principles of TI have a 90% rate of making it beyond 2 years of sobriety).
In 2010, I moved into a poverty-stricken urban area of Tampa, Florida. Here, I have become friends with the less fortunate, and those against whom most people hold prejudice, not realizing these people never had a chance.
I also understand the broken, the addicted, and the "lost" because I was one of them. I still remember the thoughts I had when I first checked into a detox center: "People shouldn’t feel so alone, ridiculed, and judged." Over the years, I have witnessed toxic help from both the Christian and secular communities—money wasted, lives lost, and damage done to those struggling with addiction, and those wanting to help.
I now have started the Sober Truth Project, taking the principles that have been successful within TI and teaching them to the world. To do this, we must change the way the world views addiction, mental health, and those struggling with suicidal thoughts. We need to redefine the role faith plays in how we all recover, to lead people to their true identities as sons and daughters of the Father in heaven.
The brokenness of the world is not only a problem for the individuals struggling within society, but is a problem shared by the whole community.
Dr. Amanda Sharp
Behavioral health + health equity researcher, Person-Centered Care Advocate
I have seen the struggles my father has faced in a culture that doesn’t take kindly to mental illness. My brother battles his own dysfunctional relationship with heroin. I have witnessed how quickly people can slip into homelessness, isolation, depression, and addiction.
Too often our initial impressions of someone prevent us from offering empathy and compassion for their struggles without judgement or stipulations. In my travels, I have served a diverse set of people in impoverished and marginalized places. My exposure has developed my empathy and compassion for others, and I intend to use my experiences to work toward a systematic approach for improving the well-being of those on the fringes.
I have a passion to help reform our healthcare system and create a cultural shift towards prioritizing of people facing behavioral health challenges. I am intrigued by the internal and external forces that influence a person’s motivation to change. In my academic work, I have focused on increasing effective clinician skills, such as expressing empathy and understanding. I am especially invested in implementing person-centered care in treatment and harm reduction strategies for addiction recovery.
I am pursuing my PhD in behavioral and community sciences from the University of South Florida. I am a member of MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers), and I currently use MI in trainings for healthcare providers around the country and sometimes internationally. I work as a trainer and recovery coach on a program that provides recovery coaching and daily medication assisted treatment monitoring. My research aims to provide the perspectives of stakeholders and give rise to the voices of behavior health patients.
My passion is to help others and I aim to do so through personal, academic, and systematic pursuits. The Sober Truth Project represents all three to me. It is a space for combining experience and expertise to redirect awareness and acceptance, destigmatize suffering, and strengthen a collective commitment to serving all.
I remember the color of my psychologist’s pants when he said I would be stuck with bipolar forever. I remember he furled his eyebrows, pressing his pen into his hard clipboard. And how I sat, hunched over, elbows on knees. Perhaps he had pity on me. Because he looked at me and said: “You know, I did hear of this one guy that overcame bipolar.”
It was later winter 2002 and I hadn’t even turned 22 yet. I’d just fallen from a manic spell, and oh boy, was it a doozy. It was my junior year in college and I’d been smoking pot alone in my bedroom when something clicked, filling me with confidence and motivation, which had been absent for months. In the coming days my energy levels increased, and I discovered omnipotence - commanding the wind to blow a leaf, or hearing people’s thoughts.
I even reached the point that I thought I was Jesus Christ reincarnated. I’m not joking.
I was through the roof in the middle of a manic phase. And what goes up must come down, and I crashed hard. Now I had a bottle of lithium and a seat in this psychologist’s chair.
Life had become unmanageable and a day didn’t go by when I didn’t consider suicide. But I also kept wondering about the man my psychologist mentioned. And then I met Jesus.
In Jesus I found forgiveness of sin and a love for myself I’d never known. He showed me how to let go of my past faults and the pride that came with it. Thanks to this relationship I’ve never had another episode again, and I don’t consider myself to be bipolar anymore. But it’s still a matter of submission and devotion, a road I will forever travel in order to maintain my mental wellness.
Perhaps a counselor could tell his dejected clients about me. But that doesn’t mean I’m the one who beat bipolar. That was Jesus. He’s the only one you should be pointed to.
Using the Sober Truth Project's methods for recovery, the Timothy Initiative has a 90 percent success rate. Here are just a few of our stories.
Jon came to the Timothy Initiative six years ago. Before that, he was in a dark, lonely place.
"I had no friends. It was only quiet," Jon says. “And I only had evil intentions."
Not long before, Jon had been fired from a job because he broke into the business on Christmas Day and stole $500, which he spent on drugs. He was also squatting at his parents’ old house.
He then found himself a place to stay at the Salvation Army, but still had drugs in his system when they tested him.
“I was asked to leave after 2 days," he says.
Thankfully, he was still desperate to get sober, and that’s when a friend recommended T.I.
"Most rehabs or sober living environments will say you have to leave after a slip up. But he community here (at T.I.) showed me what God's grace and mercy and love looks like."
Jon had always been searching for something, but he never could figure out what it was.
"Drugs and alcohol filled the emptiness for a while but I was never satisfied. I was looking for identity, a feeling of belonging and acceptance. I was in need of love."
And now Jon has even found romantic love. He was even the first member of T.I. to get married while participating in the program. And now he also has the support of his wife, Casey.
"She's the best accountability partner I could ever have."
Today, Jon is a proud husband, and he has good health and real friends who he calls “brothers.” He leads the T.I. Bible study every other week. He has a solid income, a driver’s license and a truck, and he’s started his own construction company.
And he also has nearly 5 YEARS of sobriety.
But most important of all, he has a relationship with Jesus and is surrounded by a community who has his best interest in mind.
"It is God's intention for us to be in community," he says. "I have love in my life."
Mike was born in Brooklyn to a big, loving Italian family. His father died at a young age and his mother wasn’t in the picture, so his grandparents raised him. His family moved to Hernando County in 1990, and he soon started getting into trouble and didn’t finish high school.
His life was filled with darkness - homelessness, jumping from couch to couch, and committing whatever illegal act he needed to do to get high and make money.
"Every bridge I would come across I would burn, living minute to minute and picking drugs over everything, including family, friends, and my child," Mike says. "I was chasing something and I didn't even know what I was after."
Then in his late 20s he realized he was heading nowhere fast, which ultimately led him to the freedom he has found today.
What are the two greatest treasures he’s found in T.I. and STP? The love of Jesus and a close-knit community.
"Once you allow Jesus to take over your life and you have value and peace in your life, you start living more than you would comprehend when you were completely broken," he says. "I can't stress this enough, you need to surround yourself with people that show you the heart of Jesus, share similar brokenness, hold you accountable, and you are able to walk alongside each other."
Mike’s cup continues to run over, as he reconnected with his daughter and now has a grandson he adores. And he is thrilled to marry a wonderful woman at the end of January!
"My life today has been filled with one miracle after the next, from gaining my daughter back, to having my family back, and most of all having a purpose and value, not just to me but to others."
Mike now serves as director of the Timothy Initiative. Promoted from within in 2019, his journey with T.I. and the principles of the Sober Truth Project have brought him to six years in recovery as of May, 2021.
I spent several years running. I bounced from job to job. I lost most of my friends. Fear controlled everything, and all I could do to handle things was drink or get high. I ran to Florida, hoping for a fresh start, but all of my problems came with me.
I finally broke down. I had been homeless for months and chased away all of those closest to me. I felt there was nowhere to turn. Then a community of Christian brothers, Timothy Initiative, showed me a new life was possible. I wasn’t alone. They were willing to walk alongside me in recovery.
If you or someone you know is battling addiction, in whatever form it takes, reach out and seek help. You are not alone.
Joe Surack, Sober Truth Project