Where I have been and where I may go aren’t as important as where I am. Right now, I am healthy and I am whole. I was before a ship adrift with no captain at the helm, but now I am an anchored vessel with compass and captain prepared to meet any rough waters I will encounter. But a captain and ship are of little use without a crew. My community of brothers here at Caritas is my crew. If the ship starts to sink, they’re right there with me to patch the holes and drain the leaks. If the sails tangle or tear, they are there to help guide my ship on its chartered course. Without a strong, united crew, I’m not so sure the ship could stay afloat, much less navigate through open waters; where the danger lies, where ship wrecks can happen.
But through them and myself, I have faith where there was none before. I have hope now, that together we will reach our destination, wherever it may be. It is our journey together where we see broader, brighter more beautiful horizons. And right now, where I ‘m at…well, let just say I have a spectacular view of the sun inching over paradise island. Every day, every moment, together we inch closer and closer to it.
Before entering the Caritas program, my life had become unmanageable and I had begun a downward spiral into what I perceived as my own personal hell. I felt as if my soul had died and I was lost trying to find myself in a thick everlasting fog. I have only just started to peel away the layers of frustration and sorrow to find myself in a new and positive light that will forever shine if I allow it.
My goal is to gain the strength and courage to continue my new journey that will ultimately lead me to a life full of joy, friendship and prosperity. I am pleased to say that I have started to change and I am proud of all the relationships I have built as a Caritas resident and to be a part of something that has opened my new eyes to a world filled with opportunity.
Today I am writing about how much courage it took for me to come into this program, especially at my age, being in my late 50’s. When I first heard about this program being two-years, I couldn’t believe it! I was very reluctant to come into the program, but I had no choice in the matter. I had spent most of my money. I was tired of being in a shelter. My family said that this program would be the best for me to deal with my addiction. Well, I started in 2010 and it is now almost 1 year later! I can hardly believe a year gone by and I am still here!
The journey has been a struggle right from the start. Each day I am here I asked myself over and over again, how did I get here? The answer is simple; I couldn’t deal with the reality of life so I escaped with drugs. Also, I could not accept life on life’s terms. I must admit that I have learned a lot about myself and my behaviors which led me to my addiction.
While I have been in this program, I realize that for many years I have been blaming everyone else, like my doctor, and especially my ex-wife for all my troubles. When really, I have to accept and take ownership that I slowly gave up on life. I guess to sum it all up, there is no one to blame but myself. I realize that I must move forward and stop blaming everyone. I am looking at a new beginning…
As a child my mother would tell me “Sometimes you have to go through hell if you want to get to heaven.” Back then I really didn’t understand what this meant. But now that I have been through my hell, I am starting to see the light at the end of my tunnel. Before seeking help for my problems, life was filled with pain and sadness; I was blind to the beauty that was around me. My anxiety and depression got to the point where I felt that the only way to get a grip on the life was to bury myself in the smoke, pills and booze.
Waking up in the morning was one of the saddest things that I had to do because I knew that the day held nothing positive for me. I would stay up for days without sleep because I did not want to face that feeling. After three-overdoses, I tried to take my own life. After waking up in the hospital and seeing the pain in my family’s eyes, I knew then that this needed to stop. I told myself right then and there that no more would I be the small one, the frightened one, running from life, afraid to really live and see what this world can hold for me.
It was here that I found out that I’m not alone in my struggles. With the help of the staff and community I can now see what my underlying problems are that were causing me to think and act in such a destructive way. I won’t lie, it is not easy and some days can be hard. But knowing that I have all the support of the community to fall back on makes me feel loved. It is really nice to walk around with my head held high and to finally be proud of how I am and who I am becoming. Now when I go to sleep, peace is in my heart and mind. A smile comes across my face when I thinking about what tomorrow holds. Life is not a task anymore, it is a gift!
What I have gained through community living at Caritas is everything that I have lost, eventually would have lost and so much more. Most importantly I have a better understanding of myself and who I am. This is something which could only have been attained through community living. We are able to view ourselves through the eyes of others when otherwise we are blind from our denial. I have a relationship with my family which I am rebuilding rather than destroying. And I am putting into practice the life skills which are shown to us.
I believe in community living because it is the only way that I have been able to learn certain aspects about myself. It is through others that I am able to view myself in a new light, develop understanding compassion and to see the real me.
I used to feel helpless and hopeless trapped in my addiction. Slowly through the painful yet pleasant process I have developed a sense of hope. I have drive and motivation for life. I have goals which I cannot reach on my own. I would like to express my gratitude to all the staff who help show me the way, and all the fellow residents for helping me every day to see who I am.
Drugs, alcohol and gambling is what I turned to at an early age. It robbed me from many opportunities, and took extreme positive potential away from myself. It drained the life of those who loved me the most. Drinking mouthwash in a homeless shelter was the end result. I was totally desperate for a new way of life.
I chose to be a part of a community, to live and follow a healthy, structured way of living. After a year clean and sober I am now allowing myself to feel. Most importantly, I understand (for the most part) why I feel the way I do.
I no longer look at recovery as a chore. It’s a way of life that keeps me aware of my actions. Recovery to me is a way of life that I truly enjoy. I am blessed with this opportunity. My attitude and outlook upon life is changing and for the better.
I took a gamble on recovery! This journey is rewarding and for myself, will never end!
I feel I fell down when I was smoking weed instead of going to school and learning. The only thing I really learned in high school was how to sell and smoke weed. I also learned how to cook and to drive which is about it. I let my addiction to weed and numbness take over school and everything good in my life. It controlled me when I was with my parents. I hated being with them and only wanted to be where the drugs were. Where the drugs were was with people who abused me and made fun of me and guided me in the wrong direction.
It took me until when I started getting more involved with harder drugs and with the cops. I went to jail and didn’t like it there. I realized that the way I was living was going to end me up in jail for a long time. I needed help and couldn’t ask for help myself. I was trying to find out a way to change or get help but never had the courage to ask or maybe the motivation to work on changing. Before I was released from jail I was asked by my parents to seek treatment before I was released. I told them that I’d been trying to find a way out and this was the only way – I guess.
I decided to come in about two weeks after being released. I was smoking weed again and was realizing that it made me sick and it was the end of life for me. I told my parents when I was down to the last joint that it will be the last joint of my life. I told them I’d go get help and really want to start living life straight and sober and no more getting into trouble with the cops and ripping off people, family and friends.
Coming to Caritas was me getting back up and starting to realize that life isn’t over and there’s still lots out there for me to do with myself. When I was down I gave up on myself and hated who I was and what I had become. Since I’ve been here at Caritas I have started to put meaning back into my life and have started to love myself. I know being here will push me to be a way better person and appreciate life and live life to the fullest every day. I also feel by the end of my journey with Caritas that I will care about myself more than ever and love myself and others more than I loved the drugs when I was down. I just hope I can get my attitude in check and not let my emotions take over me anymore. I feel I will be in full control of my emotions and be loving and caring about everyone and everything in life. I will appreciate everything I have in my life and the opportunity to take two years of out my life to change who I had become and be a better person inside and out.
Being a member of the community here at Caritas has taught me many things. I have had the opportunity to learn about myself through other people. I’ve learned that everyone has noticeable short comings and if I focus too much on other people’s weaknesses I blind myself to the innate good-spirit that every person has. I have learned that from any person I can find value and meaning from a relationship with even if I find little in common. I have learned that my actions have a direct effect on others as does my attitude. I have learned that being truthful about how I feel is the best policy because otherwise people can see through my fake persona.
Living at Caritas has given me the opportunity to be a leader and be put in situations I otherwise might not experience. I have developed a sense of self-confidence I didn’t have before and am aware of areas of myself that I should improve upon. Before coming into the community, I was extremely under-socialized and unable to cope in a world where personal interaction is vital to life. I now have established a sense of who I am in social contexts and am unafraid to present myself.
I have also learned the value of building several meaningful relationships instead of putting too much faith in just one person. By having variety in the people I interact with, I will not disappoint me. I have learned to not let my values, choices and attitude be evenly effected by the possibly wrong choices of others. There is value sometimes in standing alone if doing the right thing entails it. At Caritas I have gotten to know almost every member of the community and built value in each one of these relationships.
He came from humble beginnings in a rough city and country
He made due with whatever was provided to him by his mother and other siblings
He joined the work force after high school, a diligent worker, respected and admired
He always aimed for perfection and will not rest until he worked for it
He had a dream to be successful and pursed higher education through scholarship
He struggled financially to support his family while studying, yet he fully managed
He put to work what he learned in business and people skills to good use
He continued to achieve every possible dream a man could have
He became prosperous in a supermarket enterprise and earned the respect of the community
He became interested in the arts and became a well known art collector and historian
He is an outstanding member of his local community and an active participant
He has a heart of gold and never ceases to help his family in every shape or form
He suffers as much in a silent way for the sake of peace amidst his sons’ turbulence
He is a father who would be loved and most admired yet taken for granted
He is definitely a spiritual guy through his good deeds and respect for mankind
He is my father and my Hero whom I wish I could have a little bit of his selfless attitude, diligence,
patience and perseverance that I could pass on to my own children in the future!
Thank you Dad for being you and loving me the way I am!
Audley writes: The worst mistake I’ve made in my life to this day, I would have to say is to finish high school and instead of going to college for a career, I chose to go with a friend to Florida for a year, which is where my drug habit started and it so happened that it was my friend who introduced me to drugs.
What I learned from that whole experience is not to follow friends they could lead you in a direction that you did not want to go in. I also learned that it’s good to be a leader not a follower.