Working to Improve - D.A.'s Story

Picture and name have been hidden for respect to our client.

DA is a 30-year-old white man who has struggled for years with the overwhelming destruction of addiction. DA has been on this path since his early teens. At a young age, DA knew that he was gay, and this made his life even more challenging. As a gay man he hated the thought that life didn’t offer him the things that seemed to come easily to his peers. He became convinced that his sexual orientation was the ultimate joke God had played on him. Armed with this belief, he said each day he became angrier and more defiant towards people, especially his family. Shame, guilt, and despair built up in his life until he had to find a way to stop the pain. He found relief by beginning to use drugs at the age of 14.

DA has been using drugs for 16 years. He has been repeatedly put into jails and institutions just to return to the only life he seems to know, always finding ways to get and use more drugs. When introduced to the Assertive Engagement team in 2016, DA hoped that with help he could find stability in his life. The Assertive Engagement team put services in place that would address his mental health issues and drug use. Unfortunately, he was not open to making the necessary changes that would yield him different results. Soon after entering the Assertive Engagement program, he left and returned to using drugs. The Assertive Engagement team would see him occasionally in the community, and he was always pleasant, letting the team know he was still on the same mission. A team member ran into him at a local mall during the Christmas holiday where he was going from store to store, stealing to support his drug habit. The team member offered him services and words of encouragement, but DA was hungry, angry, lonely, and exhausted. He could not see anything except the mission he was on.

DA was soon arrested for larceny and violating his probation and sent to prison for nine months. Upon release the Criminal Justice Resource Center placed DA in housing, but he was discharged into homelessness because of non-compliance. DA was sleeping in his car when he came back to the Assertive Engagement team to ask for help. The Assertive Engagement team accepted him back into the program, and he was eventually placed into housing with the Straight Talk Support Group. DA was still reluctant to go the extra mile to address his mental health needs and to do what was needed to remain drug free. In DA’s world, all he needed was a job so that he could buy things and look successful. DA’s family felt the same way. They believe that as long as a person is working and looking good, their addiction does not matter. The entire family lived in a world of denial, not acknowledging DA’s destructive life issues.

Convinced that he was different from other people with the same disease, DA remained on the same toxic path. When he relapsed, his shame and overwhelming guilt led him into a chaotic cycle where suicide seemed like his only option. His suicide attempt landed him in the local hospital where he said he found the Spirit of God. Fortunately, the Assertive Engagement team was able to get him back into the same housing program where he vowed to do whatever was needed to remain clean and in good mental health.

DA has been clean for two and a half months now. He has faithfully attended his mental health appointments but still refuses to do anything to address his addiction. DA has been working at a McDonalds since March and has gotten another job in the food industry. DA’s main goal at this time is to have his own apartment, and he is working hard to achieve that goal. Just like all of our lives, his story is a work in progress. When DA decides to treat his entire self and include substance use services as part of his daily treatment, he will become a success story that he can be proud of. The Assertive Engagement team and Housing for New Hope will continue to support him in his recovery.

#success #homelessness #Durham

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