Humans of North Harbor #4: Tai Choo

[For an introduction to Humans of North Harbor, click here]

In The Hands Of God

Tai grew up in a confusing spiritual space.  His parents were both addicts and separated when he was two.  He spent a lot of time with grandparents and split between the two sides of his family.  His mom’s dad, his grandfather, never talked about God. His mom’s mom, his grandmother, was pentecostal and he went to church with her when he was there.  His grandparents on his dad’s side were Christian and in that home he experienced prayer and talk of God and Jesus. His dad was with a woman for a while who was Jehovah’s Witness, and he attended her church for some time.

In 1990, his mom joined Alcoholics Annonymous and became sober.  He spent a summer with his mom that year and witnessed her pray and meditate.  She found spirituality in AA, but never attended church. Shortly after this his dad also became sober for a time.  When he was twelve years old, he spent a weekend with both parents while they were sober and clean and happy for the first time in his life.  During that weekend, they went to an airshow. His mom decided to go hang gliding and was involved in an accident and died instantly. During this very difficult time he pushed away from God wondering why He would allow this.  At 12 years old he began using drugs, drinking, sex and pushing God out anyway he could.

A year into his mom’s sobriety she had told him that she was going to leave him soon, but it would be ok.  He would be alright. At the time he didn’t understand what she was talking about. After she died, it took him a long time to see that this was true.  His dad remarried the woman who brought them to Jehovah’s Witness. Through that relationship his dad began drinking again, there was sexual abuse, and sexual scandal.  Things were very difficult for a long time. But today, he can see that he is taken care of. God’s grace is abundant.

On October 9, 2013 Jess was pregnant with their first son.  Tai had been drinking all day and was in a rage. It was the day of the appointment when they could find out the sex of the baby.  Jess wanted him to come, but he refused and didn’t care about the baby or her or anything other than getting his next drink. While she was gone at the appointment, he went out on the deck and said, “God, please help me!”  His obsession to drink was gone that day. He didn’t drink the rest of the day. He detoxed the next day. Then, went back to Alcoholics Annonymous (this was not the first time he had tried to get sober). He is still sober to this day.  Nothing brilliant happened in that moment, but the obsession was just gone. God had answered him.

"He was in a dark shell of shame, and when he let in a crack of light it just became brighter and brighter."

He says he was in a dark shell of shame, and when he let in a crack of light it just became brighter and brighter.  It was such a beautiful experience for him. His senses became alive. He could taste and hear and smell things like never before.  He had tried to stop drinking before, but always failed. He knows that God is the one that allowed him to break the addiction. His hope grew the longer he stayed sober.  He met people at AA, neighbors he never knew, and realized he wasn’t alone. God gave him power to stop drinking, but also surrounded him with people who could support him. His sponsor in AA told him, “Tai, I understand what you’re going through.  I know where you’ve been and where you’re about to go. My job is not to tell you who to date or what meeting to go to. My job is one thing and one thing only. My job is to get you to God. And I’m going to get you there because that is who is going to help you recover.  I’m going to put your hand in the hand of God and then step aside.” Tai credits this amazing man for saving his life. Four and a half years later, his relationship with God continues to grow.

Tai sees alcoholism as a mind, body, and spirit experience and a lot of the problem is a spiritual malady.  He described himself as spiritually bankrupt and trying to fill it and getting to a point where there was nowhere else to go but to God.  There is still something inside of him that wants to turn away from God. He tends to want to isolate himself from church and Christian community, but He knows the truth that “God is everything or He is nothing.”

"God is everything or he is nothing."

Even in sobriety, he admits to making some really bad choices.  There was a time when he had pushed God away again. He was doing all the things he should be doing in AA, but wasn’t attending church or in community.  He was participating in some sinful behavior and was trying to push God out, but God wouldn’t let him. He had to face the things that he knew were not of God. The act confessing both to another person and to God, allowed him to get back on the path toward God instead of going further back down the road of self-destruction.  Through the healing process his relationships became stronger, a new career path opened up, and God created something beautiful.

Tai describes Christian community as a set of principles that he wants to live by.  He feels like a little kid learning about God, and he wants to learn more. He wants to raise his kids in this community.  As much as he fights community sometimes, deep down he wants Christian community to be their family’s focus. He loves that he can come to North Harbor and look around and see diversity and different people all trying to get to one place; closer to God.  He is learning to trust people and enter into community. Being a part of this project is a step of trust in letting us know who he is.

We appreciate his trust in us!  See Tai’s full story in the video below:

Tai lives in Brunswick with his fiance, Jess, and their two children.  They are getting married this summer. He owns a popular food truck in town.

I wonder...whose hand has helped put my hand in the hand of God? Have I participated in helping to put someone else’s hand in the hand of God?

I wonder...when and how have I experienced the healing power of confession?

I wonder...what are the patterns I experience and/or voices I hear that I know are not from God?  What is the truth God says about that particular struggle?

I wonder...what keeps me from entering more fully into Christian community?  What steps can I take to overcome those barriers?

Written by Elaine DeFreitas

Do you love learning more about your sisters and brothers at North Harbor?

  • CLICK HERE to read our first story. 
  • Contact Elaine [elainedefreitas3 {at}] or Zoë [zoefaithreyes {at}] if you would like to share your story with with our community so they can be blessed as you just have!