Helping Others on My Journey Back

It’s hard to believe, but three short years ago, I was a homeless alcoholic. I drank to ease the pain of my severe depression. But, I lost everything: my family, my friends, my home, my job and even my self-respect.

My story isn’t easy for me to tell. I was born in Colorado to a stay-at-home mom and a workaholic dad. When my father was around, he was always putting me down. He was an alcoholic and introduced me to alcohol when I was 14. Four years later, I met and fell in love with a young lady from Canton. We moved to Ohio and within two years, we had our first of three children. These were my best days ever.

Our marriage became troubled over time. I was attempting to drink away my problems like my father had. I was constantly moving between Ohio and California, but I couldn’t get ahead. Every time I would make progress, something would happen. My best friend did by suicide. My storage locker was broken into and nearly everything I owned, including my precious art supplies, was stolen. I couldn’t keep a job or an apartment longer than a couple of months. Again and again, I found myself homeless…and hopeless.

I realized my behavior was also hurting those I loved when I read this note from my adult daughter: “I don’t want you to drink because I hate it. I can’t let you continue to drink in my house. I hate it that my son knows that you drink a lot, so if you want to drink, get your won place. I don’t want to let you down, because I’m probably the one person who cares most for you. I don’t want you to run from your problems. I want you to have a life here.”

I had to stop playing the victim. It was time to change. I ended up at the homeless shelter, where I was connected to Coleman for mental health services. I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety and referred to a Coleman case manager and a Coleman nurse.

Coleman helped me find my own apartment with my own bed. It may not sound like much, but to me, it was everything! I was finally on my way to recovery. In my own space, I began to pursue my passion for art again. I’d never lived anywhere long enough to finish an art project, but when I moved to my Coleman apartment, I completed my first project ever, and I continue to work on them.

My Coleman case manager and recovery coaches help me with my health care appointments and guidance through the positive changes in my life. After volunteering for a local NAMI program ,I received the NAMI “Peer of the Year” award in 2014, and I’ll be celebrating my third year of sobriety in July 2016.

And it doesn’t end there. I’m on my way to independence, recently becoming a part-time Coleman employee and living in Coleman housing as a Residential Management Technician. It brings me great fulfillment to work with people who are where I was just a few years ago.

I’ve seen miraculous differences in my life since coming to Coleman! I realize without Coleman’s support and assistance, I may never have reached my full potential. I went from believing I was a nobody to knowing I AM A SOMEBODY. It’s like a second chance at life!

I want to see the full potential of everyone I’ll work with at Coleman and to tell them, “I have been where you are. Stay positive and continue to make strides. Your life’s destiny can change as mine has.”

A true story of a Coleman client from Stark County.