When I came to this program, I was broken, afraid, unemployed, homeless, and had just spent a week in medically-assisted detox. I had been to traditional inpatient treatment before. This time I felt that I needed to do something different.
Although I didn’t quite realize it at the time (especially in the midst of post-acute withdrawal), I now believe that what I needed was a place to begin to learn how to live as a responsible, mature, sane human being…………….instead of the terrified, broken, self-hating, and self-destructive addict I had become. I needed a place that would allow me to begin the lifelong process of learning how to balance my recovery with the need to function in the real world as an adult. And, somewhat more importantly for me, a safe place to practice the new skills I was learning.
This program gave me what I needed: a safe, clean, supportive, and rent-free house in the community to live in; intensive outpatient treatment to give me insight into my path of addiction; structure, accountability, and routine; compassionate counseling to address my deeper issues; peer support; exposure to Portland’s large recovery community; and other things too numerous to name here.
But as I stated earlier, I believe that one of the most important things this program gave me was a supportive environment in which to practice the skills I was learning-and would ultimately need-in order to be successful after completing treatment. And through that process, I gained perhaps the most important thing of all: the hope that I really could change my life, and the self-confidence gained from actually changing my life.
My name is Paul and today I am a free man. That wasn’t always the case, I found myself in trouble with the law and hooked on meth. This landed me in Prison. The judge was easy on me and sent me to Columbia River and then South Fork. I had a lot of time to think while incarcerated and knew that I needed to change my ways. In the weeks before my release I had a lot of fear. I was afraid that I would pick up my old habits, run into my old connections, and end up in prison again. Thankfully my PO released me to the care of Bridges to Change. It was here where I was able to get reintegrated into society and become a functioning member of the community.
I wasn’t able to do this on my own. Upon my arrival I felt lost and unsure of what the next step should be. Having just been released from prison I didn’t have much. Thankfully I was introduced to Doug and Jim. Under Doug’s supervision Jim became my mentor. He helped me look for work and provided the moral support and encouragement I needed to get my feet on the ground. Things were slow at first. But after two months I had found steady employment. I also found a host of new friends at New Life Church through their program Celebrate Recovery. Here I became firmly grounded in my sobriety and today have a powerful connection with a God of my understanding. I am still an active member there and eagerly look forward to our meeting each week and feel blessed every time I attend. I am so thankful for the support of Bridges and the fellowships that they introduced me to. I could not have done this on my own and I encourage any one who earnestly desires to change to attend Celebrate Recovery at New Life Church. It saved my life, it gave me a New Life.
I am writing this letter to thank you for all the help and encouragement I have received from the Bridges to Change program. It has made a big impact on my life, and has guided me to a place where I feel for the first time in a long time is a great place to be. I graduated from Nara residential drug treatment on December 14th with no clue as to what my next step was and was then referred to Crystal Cooper by my probation officer Jaree Spatz. From the first moment I met Crystal she made it clear that all she wanted to do was help, and that she made no judgment of me or my situation. She was like a breath of fresh air that I needed to rebuild my life. Never once did she hesitate when I asked for a ride to the food stamp office, or grocery store. She took me to meetings, and to get my driver’s permit, and drove me from place to place for job search. I am now the Sales Coordinator for the Marriott Spring Hill Suites in Hillsboro thanks to Crystal for she’s the one who gave me the ride that day I applied for the job.
I will never forget what Crystal has done for me. She is a wonderful person and a woman of her word and I will forever hold her in high esteem. I am lucky to have walked beside her because she truly is an angel on earth as she has touched my life.
Julie read this poem at her graduation:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We are used to failing and terrified of succeeding. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves “Who am I to be? Brilliant, fabulous, or talented?” I’m just me, but actually who are you not to be? Your minimizing yourself does not serve the world. In fact it robs the world of your light. We are all meant to shine, it’s in every one of us. I would like to thank my family for helping me find my light again and to Terry and all my friends for helping and reminding me in hard times not to flip the switch. Thank You.”
At his graduation, Ken told this story:
“I was out jogging early one morning. So early it was just me and the raccoons out. It was one of those times that I was telling myself how worthless I was as a person. As I passed in front of West Linn High School, I found a quarter in the street. When I picked it up it looked like every set of studded tires in Oregon had run over it. It was old, dirty and beat-up. Kind of like I was feeling. As I ran along thinking about my quarter, I realized it was still worth 25 cents. It was worth exactly the same as bright, new, freshly minted quarter. Bridges to Change has helped me see myself the same way; I have value as a person. I can make something positive of my life.”