Alumni News

A Journey To Trust in God

by Office of Marketing | May 28, 2015
Garrin Teed '15
Drug and alcohol addiction is a battle that far too many are familiar with. The journey to overcome it is difficult, but there is hope for those who fight against it. For University of Valley Forge (UVF) recent graduate, Garrin Teed ’15, his journey of freedom from drug and alcohol addiction was a difficult one, marked by broken relationships and homelessness, but ultimately saved by God’s grace. His outcome is marked by his trust in God.

Teed grew up in a Christian household in New York with two parents and three siblings. He began experimenting with alcohol and drugs, which started what he refers to as his “party phase.” The experimentation quickly escalated and Teed began using harder drugs. “At first that seemed ok,” Teed said. “I thought, ‘I’m just playing around with this stuff.’”

Teed moved from one job to another. He worked as a chef for a time and then as a painter. Due to his addiction, in 2006, at age 25, Teed could not save enough money for even a temporary place to live. Throughout this period of his life he was homeless three different times. He spent many nights sleeping in his car and on friends’ couches. One spring, he lived on an army cot in a lawn mower shed for two months. After a work injury, Teed received enough worker's compensation money to rent an apartment for a year. By the end of the year, Teed’s drinking and drug use worsened and he found himself homeless again. His father and a pastor from his family’s church told him about a program they had heard of called Teen Challenge. Teed, 28 at the time, dismissed the idea of a Christian rehab. On St. Patrick’s Day a year later, Teed delved too deep into his addiction and hit rock bottom. It was then that he realized he needed help. It would be the last day that Teed ever drank or smoked again. The next day he quit his job, sold his car and walked into the Teen Challenge center in Syracuse, New York. 

He spent a year at Teen Challenge. He worked on his physical, mental and spiritual health. “The drugs are surface level,” Teed said. “There are all sorts of issues below, that once you’re off of drugs, you can deal with. The only way to do it is through Jesus. He is the only one who can heal.” The program also reconnected Teed with his family. 

Teen Challenge introduced Teed to UVF. “I thought that maybe I could go back to school,” he said. “I had another shot at life, so why not?” Yet, he had no money and no possibility to do it on his own. “I prayed and told God, ‘If you want me to go to school, you have to show me the way.’ Everything just started falling into place,” Teed said. God provided financial aid through university scholarships and work-study opportunities. Over the next five years, Teed studied for his degree and held several jobs, including tutoring other students, painting, working in the UVF gym and in the Office of Financial Aid.

At UVF, Teed found people who invested in his life and wanted him to succeed. Professor William Clarkson, Ph.D., department of business chair, prepared him for a career in business. Melanie Weaver, assistant professor in the department of English, saw Teed’s writing potential and encouraged him to write poetry, a skill he did not know he had. “It’s all God’s,” Teed said. “I pray before I write and God leads.” Teed entered the Edith Garlow Poetry Contest and placed third for two consecutive years. He also completed his internship in the university’s Office of Marketing, which brought focus to his future in the business world. “For the first time ever, I knew what I wanted to do,” he said. 

As he reflected on his life and all of the things he lived through, good and bad, Teed saw God’s fingerprints on everything. He learned a simple idea: to trust God. Although difficult, Teed learned “to trust Him to provide for what I need and know that He has my best interest at heart.”

On May 18, 2015, Teed graduated from UVF with a bachelor's degree in business management. In the fall, he will move to Virginia Beach, Virginia, as a graduate student in Regent University’s Master of Business Administration program with a concentration in marketing. After that? “Wherever God leads me,” he said.