NorthEast Treatment Centers has selected and trained consumers who have completed drug and alcohol treatment to be Peer Specialists or Behavioral Health Assistants – people who can serve as role models for recovery and help others make the transition into treatment and through the recovery process. Here are their success stories:
I began to drink at age 9. I went to school for a few more years, always under the influence, until I decided to quit in the 10th grade. Soon after, drugs began to slip in a little at a time. I had very bad relationships with men who were verbally and physically abusive. I was a very angry person.
Through it all, I protected my five children, all girls. And when they grew up and had their own children, they protected them – from me. My negative behavior was causing me to hurt the only people I truly loved. My children and grandchildren were becoming distant from me. Something had to change.
I picked up a book about behavioral health services. I tried one place for two days and quit. Then I tried the NET. In the beginning I had nothing to say; I just listened. The information I heard in the group made me feel like someone knew me. I started to apply the information about staying sober one day at a time. I began to feel good about myself.
The NET helped me get sober and move forward, so my past would not be a part of my future. Today, I’ve reconnected with my kids and grandkids, and the relationship is better than I could ever imagine. I am strong, happy and grateful.
My life was a continuous roller coaster with stops at the lowest of lows. I’ve been stabbed, beaten with a bat, and shot in the legs by a drug dealer, cause I took his stash. But the most pain I ever felt was when I broke my mom’s heart.
My dad had lung cancer. One weekend, after his last chemo treatment, my mom had the opportunity to go to Atlantic City with her girlfriends. I was supposed to stay with my dad while she was away. Instead, I went out to get high and ended up in prison for burglary for two years. When my Dad died, I was locked up and could even go to his funeral.
Finally, after a few more prison stays, I was introduced to the NET. With the help of counselors and peers I developed ways to deal with life. I can safely say that I have surrendered to the disease of addiction. Through the NET something in me is refined, regrouped and refreshed each day that I wake up.
Now that I am employed at the NET I have a true sense of self worth, direction and a future I can be really proud of. Who would have ever thought that a suffering addict could ever turn his life around? By helping others I reinforce my desire to be the best at whatever I set my mind to do. I no longer have the desire to use a mind- or mood-altering substance I am a living example of what can happen if a person truly wants to change.
I used to think that alcohol and drugs were the answer to my problems. When I realized that they were the problem, I thought I couldn’t stop, and I didn’t really want to. My self-esteem decreased to almost none, and I felt guilty and ashamed of myself. I was unable to accomplish anything but another drink or drug. I began to break the law in pursuit of more, which turned into a revolving door of incarceration, broken promises, broken relationships, and hopelessness.
My recovery house suggested that I try the NET. At NET, I met people who were like me, and I began to understand that my situation was not unique. With lectures and group counseling I saw that my problem-solving skills were practically nonexistent. With the help of counselors and peers, I learned how to think rationally.
My hope has been restored. Now I know that I can accomplish just about anything that I am willing to work for. I’ve learned to be responsible, productive and a positive role model. I now work at NET as a peer specialist.
My addiction caused me to neglect my family, myself, and all of my responsibilities — and to waste more than 10 years of my life. I had been through plenty of detoxes, but the last time, when I wanted to continue with my aftercare plan, I was introduced to NorthEast Treatment Centers.
The NET helped me in so many ways, but the most important was being welcomed and accepted from the very beginning. Staff members stuck with me through all my ups and downs and helped me to focus on myself. It felt good not being told what my problems were, but being allowed to find out for myself.
The NET still sticks by me and gives me the opportunity to further my education. I have the best of both worlds currently because I facilitate a group for consumers who have graduated from the NET. The group members help me to grow, and I help them move forward with their recovery.
I had been through Kirkwood Detoxification Center’s (KDC) program several times. But when I almost died from alcohol withdrawal, it was my wake up call. I was finally tired of making excuses. That’s when I went through the Consumer Engagement and Transition (CET) program.
CET is for chronic relapsers who didn’t give recovery a try. I was able to come there every day and attend the groups. They transported me to outside meetings, to my after care, and helped me resolve legal issues. It’s hard to open up to anyone, but it was a safe environment, and I could talk to the staff members.
The program was a bridge that connected me to a support network and helped me avoid things that were preventing me from moving on. The staff noticed that I was serious about my recovery, and when I finished the program, they offered me a job. Now as a Peer Specialist, I do these same things for our consumers. It helps them – and it helps me. I feel peaceful now, and I look at life completely differently.
I came through these doors myself – several times. I was running from the law, or running from the dope dealer. I went to KDC because my kids or my mom wanted me here. It wasn’t because of me.
It finally dawned on me: “What am I doing?” I let everything go, my kids, my significant other, and started focusing on myself. It was complete surrender. When I came in for myself, things started changing for the better.
I wanted to further my recovery, so I completed the CET program. Then, I started volunteering here two days a week. I’ve also wanted to give back what was freely given to me, to help the next person, and I was hired as a Behavioral Health Assistant. I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be an employee here. I can’t even put into words what it means to me.
NET helped me over and over again and never gave up on me. I feed off of that. That’s what inspired me and gave me the strength and hope to walk in through the next door.”
For information about Pennsylvania Adult Behavioral Health Services (including sites in Philadelphia, Easton and Bethlehem), click here.
For information about NET Steps, which offers Medication Assisted Recovery in Philadelphia, click here.
For information about Medically Monitored Detoxification in Delaware, click here.