Ryan spent a total of 21 months at Luke 15. During that time, he sponsored other residents in the AA program, volunteered at a local soup kitchen and shelter, and got heavily involved with the St. Mary's church community. He felt like a new person.
But throughout it all, there was a weight hanging over his head. "The worst part about this, in my circumstance, is I didn't know whether I was going to go to jail or not," he said.
Prosecutors were seeking eight years in prison for him, a prospect that he said took his breath away.
"[J]ust hearing that number, the possibility of me going to jail for eight years – I really had to persevere in prayer," he said.
When he was finally sentenced, his family members and friends from the St. Mary's community came to support him. His lawyer presented all the progress he had made and the good work that he had been doing, asking for leniency in his sentence.
He was given 12 months for the firearm charge and 11 months for the drug charge. It was far less than the eight years prosecutors had originally sought, but still a devastating prospect for someone who had come so far in his fight against addiction and just wanted to move forward with his life.
In jail, Ryan said, "I did not fit in with anybody. I was so rehabilitated and so religious…People were wondering, 'What are you doing here?'"
He spent his first month in the medium security section of the jail and was then moved to minimum security, where he had more freedom to come and go from his room and was able to get a minimum-wage job with the BC Wildfire Services.
But despite the increase in freedom, he continued to struggle. The minimum security section of the jail did not offer any Catholic services, and there were few to no other Catholic inmates there. He felt isolated in his faith.
"It was hard. But I definitely relied on God and read my Bible a lot," he said.
Ryan said God answered his prayers through a man named Bob Buckham. The head of prison ministry for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Bob would visit Ryan periodically. He became Ryan's lifeline to the Catholic faith.
"I told him about how I really wanted to have Communion again, and he became [an extraordinary] minister of the Eucharist," Ryan said.
When Bob visited, he would bring Communion and read the Bible with Ryan, and the two would discuss the faith. This was helpful, because the other inmates would challenge Ryan's beliefs.
"I would get questions about my faith a lot. And I would defend it," he said.
"All the time that I spent in Luke 15 taught me a level of tolerance and patience and understanding…I was able to really diplomatically communicate with these people…I was just equipped. I just knew what to say and how to say it."
After serving a little over six months of his sentence, Ryan was granted full parole. He went to a halfway house, where he was able to once again attend Mass and get involved with the Catholic community.
With parole came freedom – more than he had experienced in years.
"I had to really make a conscious decision every single day, planning my day – What am I going to do? Who am I going to talk to? How am I going to do this? How long am I going to be there?" he said. "And I started really being focused and really taking my own time seriously, because all that ambition and drive that I had before, I was finally given a little bit of an opportunity to use it."
Today, Ryan is 27 years old. He lives with his family and is training to be a mobile crane operator and get his trucking license. He works six days a week and spends his free time reading the Bible and going to the gym.
He goes to Mass twice a week and attends RCIA meetings, where he shares his experience with the people who are currently in the program.
"I stay busy, and I'm only going to get busier," he said.
Looking back on his experience, Ryan is grateful to God and to all the people who supported him in his journey of recovery and faith.
"I've got to express my gratitude – me being where I was to where I am at now, and just to have the support and people I can reach out to and ask for prayer and help, and they're willing to help me and talk to me and give me their time," he said. "It's done a lot for me...It's really helped me grow. And I'm still growing."