Stories of Hope

Stories of Hope

 Recovery Center

John Doe is a 40 year old unemployed, unmarried man with no children who has been dependent on alcohol for the last twenty years. He was admitted to the Recovery Center on three occasions, and is now living a clean and sober lifestyle.

“I have learned a lot from groups and staff. Everyone that keeps this program running does an excellent job in my opinion. I need to get back out there and start living life like I should be living it. I feel confident but not overly so… I AM GOING TO MAKE IT. It makes me feel proud and honored to have been made peer advocate. The opportunity gave me a feeling of self worth, something I needed…Thank you so much for helping me to see things about myself and others that would have went unnoticed by myself. Please tell the staff that they are incredible people filling a much needed void in society’s addiction problems. You are all profound individuals that I will remember for the rest of my life and I don’t think any of you hear that enough.

People like you save lives on a daily basis.”

This is a story about Carla (not real name), who has remained clean and sober, more than a year after completing the Recovery Center Residential Program.   Carla is considered a person with “co-occurring” illnesses.   Her mental health diagnosis, in fact, was so severe and “chronic”, that she was on the FACT Team.  The FACT Team is a community based program that provides intensive case management to persons that have the severest forms of mental illness.  Often, individuals like Carla qualify for FACT Team because of high rates of relapse and repeat hospitalizations.

Carla entered the RC Residential program in June 2010.  Her history involved not being able to stay clean from drugs and recently losing her child to DCF custody.   Carla’s stay at the Recovery Center was very turbulent, largely due her psychiatric symptoms not being stable.   Although, Carla was staying clean at the Recovery Center, her paranoia made it hard for Carla to have positive interactions with both staff and peers.  She was regularly accusing other residents or staff of doing something to her that was not true.   Meantime, Carla continued to work with the doctor on getting her medications right and with other staff on skill building and trust.  Gradually, Carla was beginning to relax and trust others more.  Further, Carla latched on to the evening 12 step groups that NA and AA sponsor daily at the RC.   Carla eventually was able to complete the Residential Program.   On discharge, Carla was still, often guarded and suspicious.  However, she expressed determination to stay clean and sober.

Today, fifteen months later, Carla not only remains sober and clean, but she regained custody of her child.  Despite her serious mental health disorder and drug problem, Carla completed all requirements that the DCF and the court had for her to show that she was a capable mother.  Carla is known to occasionally call the RC staff to thank them and report on her progress.  This is how we know she is doing well.

Transitional Case Management

Mr. Navy is a 55 yrs old Caucasian male that came to the Criminal Justice Grant program via a letter he wrote to our CBHC screener, while still in jail.  I met with Mr. Navy twice at the jail in order to assess for service needs and develop a plan prior to his release. During our first meeting Mr. Navy appeared to be a reserved, serious, introverted man.  Mr. Navy’s service needs were linked to Mental Health treatment for his long time depression that he believed caused his severe drinking problems and temporary housing because he was homeless and transportation vouchers. Mr. Navy reported that he was willing and able to find a job; therefore, benefits application didn’t apply. At our first meeting at his placement in the community, Mr. Navy reported that he was a veteran with an honorable discharge. I asked him why hasn’t he applied for VA benefits and he said ”too much paperwork.” To many of us that won’t sound logical but to him due to his long time depressed state of mind it was something he thought he didn’t deserve or be able to obtain. I encouraged Mr. Navy to contact the VA and apply for housing and pension benefits. I explained to Mr. Navy that I was able to assist him with any paperwork regarding services and benefits. Mr. Navy was able to follow through with contacting the VA and requesting the applications for housing and pension benefits. Together as a team we completed all the VA housing and pension paperwork. We also had telephone interviews with the VA staff. By this time, I noticed a difference in Mr. Navy; he was not reserved, distant but a talkative and always smiling. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Navy was approved a VA housing voucher and the pension benefits are in the final stages of also being approved. I contacted a landlord in Port Charlotte that was willing to give Mr. Navy a chance, despite his criminal history. The Criminal Justice Grant paid for the apartment application fee and the deposit fee and Mr. Navy will be moving into his own apartment on Nov. 1st.

Healthy Start

A young woman I serve, who delivered a healthy baby girl on 2/13/11, may not have had a successful and happy outcome had it not been for the Healthy Start and Healthy Families programs. Since she is from Jamaica and undocumented, she was also able to benefit from Healthy Start’s prenatal funding.

When she found out that she was pregnant, due to lack of emotional support from Father Of Baby (FOB), she seriously contemplated having an abortion. After much soul searching and with the support of her mother, she decided to proceed with the pregnancy. She was referred to Healthy Start (HS) early in her pregnancy and HS supported and encouraged her throughout her pregnancy and continue to do so now that her baby girl has arrived.

Healthy Start provided her with lists of resources and she was able to acquire a bassinet, baby jump seat, a nice wardrobe of infant girl clothes and a crib. Some of this was provided through Pregnancy Crisis Careline, but client reports she would otherwise not known about this organization without support from HS.

While in her second trimester, ultrasound revealed that baby girl would be born with clubfoot. Although frightened at first, client was reassured by Care Coordinator, provided her with literature about clubfoot and post birth treatment and followed closely by Coordinator as she experienced more frequent than is customary ultrasounds at Maternal Fetal Medicine. When baby arrived, Coordinator assisted client with resolving a few Medicaid issues for baby so client could get baby to orthopedist as quickly as possible so that her clubfoot could be addressed. Since she has to travel to Fort Myers on a frequent basis, Coordinator walked client through obtaining Medicaid subsidized transportation. HS is happy to report that client takes her baby, as required, to all of her specialist appointments and baby’s orthopedic issues are being addressed.

In addition, HS referred client to the Healthy Families program and she has been receiving much needed support and training, on a weekly basis, since she was pregnant and now for her and baby. She finds this support to be very helpful.

Client has told Care Coordinator, during every visit, how “blessed” she feels to have this beautiful baby girl and how grateful she is to have made the “right” decision to give birth to her.