I started using drugs at the age of 10, it quickly became a daily thing. By the time I reached sixth grade it was already at its worst. I began selling drugs, breaking into houses, and was in and out of the detention center. The courts had finally had enough and put me away until I was 18. As soon as I got out, I picked up right where I left off and it continued to get worse and worse. I didn't care who I hurt or what I had to do for my next high.
In the early 70's I started asking for help. It was then that I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous, but I didn't take it seriously. I spent a few years going back and forth between jail, the psych hospital, and the streets. Finally, I was introduced to Home of New Vision. They helped me understand my disease of addiction and gave me the tools and connections to manage it. Thanks to Home of New Vision I am now on the right path to getting my life back in order. With the tools, the support of people around me, and God's grace, I have been sober since June 13th 2014.
- Ron Phillips
My name is Allyssa Lorene Caulk. My sobriety date is July 30th, 2015. I am the youngest of five children and I am blessed to say that I enjoyed a happy childhood. Born a pastor's child, I had a religious upbringing. Being sober has allowed me to see where God's hand has played a role in my life.
At 14, I began drinking at parties and smoking weed with friends. Weed quickly became a very important part of my life even though I had to keep up appearances as the captain of the cheerleading squad and a DECA officer (DECA is an association of marketing students that compete around the country). I also started dancing at the age of 5 and it allowed me to work with choreographers all around the country, from New York to California. By the time I was 17 years old, I was in a relationship with an older guy, but that didn't stop me from bringing weed to the boy's table at lunch asking, "Who wants to be smoked down today?" The summer before my senior year of High School I was T-boned by a drunk driver and put in a wheel chair for 4 months. My dreams of becoming a professional dancer were suddenly shattered. Around that time, I was also introduced to the drug, OxyContin. I immediately fell in love with it and found myself looking for it on the streets until the age of 20. I had found myself in another relationship, because one would bleed into the next.
I found out that I was pregnant on New Year's Eve, 2011. I gave birth to beautiful baby girl named Lillian Elizabeth Caulk on August 28th, 2011. Two months later, I was feeding her when my sister walked down to the basement to tell me that my 27 year old brother had been in a car accident in Nashville, TN. After a week on life support, we had to let Jamie go. He had a huge impact on my faith in God and would always remind me that I am a beautiful, strong woman with much to offer this world. Losing him was the hardest thing that I had ever gone through.
Four weeks later, on November 19th, 2011, my mother was watching my daughter Lillian while my sister Christa and I went to a Michigan football game. Halfway through the game, Christa received a text message saying, "Lillian's not breathing." "We have to leave now," she said. We rushed to the hospital to find her strapped up to the same wires that Jamie had on just a short month before. After an hour, St. Joes and its employees had done everything they could and I found myself saying goodbye to yet another loved one.
Three months later I got into the most toxic relationship I had ever been in. He had showed me the drug, Suboxone, and it gave me similar effects to the opiates I found comfort in years prior. It was a year after my daughter had passed when we couldn't find any Suboxone and were extremely sick. He told me "I have something that will make you feel better." He then tied me off and shot me up with heroin. I instantly loved it. I began to steal my parent's credit cards just to buy more. Then, one night in June of 2012, my father, who was a teacher didn't come home from school. We drove up to Belleville High School to find his car to be the only one in the parking lot. We called the police and after 15 minutes of searching through the school a fireman came up to me while on the phone with my sister to say "I'm sorry, but he's gone." That's when my heroin use went to a whole new level. I even showed up at my Father's funeral high.
I stayed high for two years, living in cars and stealing from stores just to maintain. I even sold off almost every single family heirloom and piece of jewelry that my father had given to my mother. I used crack, Xanax and anything that made me feel different, as comfort. Finally, one summer day, my sister called law enforcement on me and I was admitted to a psych ward. Soon after, I was admitted to the "Home of New Vision" detox program and residential treatment. After three weeks and a very manipulative nature, I was allowed to move home. Needless to say, I met a boy in rehab and ended up relapsing days later. For the next 9 months I was in and out of jail, rehab and psych wards with short stints of sobriety. My last relapse ended with me being arrested at a facility called the Engagement Center. I went to jail for three weeks, surrendered, and never looked back.
Today, I can say that I live free from the obsession to use. I live in transitional housing with some pretty amazing women. I work the steps, I call my sponsor daily, I read my big book, I attend meetings daily and most importantly, I have a Higher Power that has been with me my whole life. I have a disease of perception, and for a long time I was not able to see that. As a result of this program and being in recovery, I can honestly say that I am grateful today for the time I had with my brother, daughter, and father. I wake up grateful and go to bed grateful. I live a beautiful life today. I have a job that is completely supportive of me being in recovery and women in my life that would do anything for me. I am also in the process of making amends and gaining my family's trust back, showing them the strides I am making, resulting from working the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Actual, legitimate, friendships with women. Crazy, right? So, with that being said, I'd like to thank Home of New Vision for having a hand in saving my life.
I am a person in long-term recovery which means that I have not used a mind or mood altering substance since January 13, 2013.
Home of New Vision has been a huge part of my Recovery. In May of 2013, I was sentenced to complete the Jackson County Recovery Court Program. Part of the requirements were to become a client at Home of New Vision. I have never met such caring and companionate people, who truly cared about me and my recovery. Little did I know that later on down the road, these people were going to become some of my very good friends. The people that I worked with were there for me when no one else was. They walked me through some of the hardest times of my life.
My life is completely different today. I have my family back in my life, especially my amazing 11 year old Caleb, and now my adorable 5 month old, Teddy. I genuinely love people today, and people love me for who I am instead of what I have. I have learned throughout my journey that every day is not promised, so I live life to the fullest. I care about people and their feelings and I would do anything to help someone. I have also been blessed with an amazing job. I work as a Recovery Coach at the Home of New Vision, helping people get through things that I once went through. I can honestly say that I love myself and what I am becoming.
In the future, I would love to go back to school and further my education in the field of addiction and eventually work with juveniles. I believe making an impact on someone's life at an early age, can help them make the right decisions for their future.
I am truly grateful for the life that I live today. I have learned that "life storms" are going to come with or without my permission. I know that as long as I keep making the next right move, things are going to be ok and I can overcome anything.
- Marci Elkins
"God has a plan for me", said Debra Fowler, "He sent me the right people to help me stay sober and turn my life around." I started drinking when I was fifteen. I led a wild life drinking and fighting and getting in trouble with the law. On November 27th, 2014 I drank a lot of alcohol and when I was walking with my little nephew, I tripped on the pavement and fell face down on the road. I was so drunk I didn't even try to catch myself. I ended up with two black eyes, scraps and a swollen mouth. I looked a mess. That was the moment I knew I had to stop drinking. It was a hard decision.
I came to Home of New Vision in February of 2015. I was a nervous wreck. I cried all the time and I was afraid to even leave the house. I remember at my first visit my case manager hugged me and told me she was going to help me in any way she could. She will never know how much that hug meant to me. My case manager has helped me get my life in order. She goes with me to my appointments and she is there to talk to if I have a question or a problem. My peer calls me just to check up on me and helps me get to support groups.
Home of New Vision changed my life. I can honestly say that I would not be celebrating my one year of sobriety on November 28th if I had not found this agency. I think about that a lot and I am so thankful. I know that Home of New Vision was part of God's plan for me.
- Debra Fowler
I think I was about 6 years old when I had my first drink of beer. I remember my younger brother and me drinking my dad's full beer he had left out in the garage. I took one drink and instantly decided I hated it while my brother downed the whole rest of the can. I started drinking hard liquor (I loved it from the first taste) and doing drugs in middle school. I was ridiculed and bullied my whole childhood, so I hung out with the outcast kids because they accepted me. The friends you hang out with in school definitely define you by association. My friends were all burnouts and partiers so of course that's all I did.
I have been physically, mentally and sexually abused my whole life. My whole life was one traumatic event after another and I learned to numb my feelings with drugs and alcohol. By my late teenage years I was passing out and having seizures when I used certain drugs. At 19, I got busted for dealing marijuana and was put into drug court. However, they only tested me for drugs so what did I do, I just switched my drug of choice and started drinking beer. I completed the program, started going to college, and spent all my extra money the school gave me on partying and drinking at the clubs and bars. I did that for over 10 years until my financial aid and loan money ran out.
I was in the Fire Academy when I got my first DWI. I had seen many deaths and many people using a lot of drugs in front of me so I was naive to the fact that people can actually die from overdosing. It wasn't until I found my girlfriend dead, lying on my chest when I woke up one morning, that I experienced this actually happen; she overdosed on pills. I started drinking extremely more, numbing the pain any way I could. That's when I got my second DWI and moved back in with an ex-girlfriend, Shelley. She overdosed within a year of Jackie's death. One night I went to the city to find her pain killers. When I returned home and walked through the door of our apartment, I found Shelley laying there lifeless in the living room. I decided it was time for me to stop caring about people and I continued to numb myself. My favorite uncle passed away a couple of months later and my father blamed me for it.
The next year my best friend came crying to me for help. She had overdosed on heroin and been resuscitated back by another using friend. She wanted me to start hanging out with her more because she was hoping I could help stop her from using. I pushed her away, I knew I couldn't help her and that she had to do it for herself. She OD'd a couple of months later and died on the 4th of July; a day we would typically hang out together every year, but that year we hadn't. Finally I got my 3rd DWI in October 2014.
Recovery court, Home of New Vision, Born Free, AA meetings, and my girlfriend Hannah are the ones who saved my life. I live a happier life today sober. I'm still new to sobriety but I'm growing slowly everyday into the person I want and am supposed to be. When I first came into the program I was very quiet and never thought in a million years I would have 8 months sober. My girlfriend Hannah was definitely my rock when I first got sober. I would tell her every day about how doomed I was and how there was going to be no way possible that I was going to make it. I would pout to her all the time about not being able to make it and my struggles. She promised me she would do this with me and she has. I had no hope whatsoever. Every time my brain was drifting off she was there to set me back on track and I really do owe her my life for that.
Home of New Vision definitely helped me change my life. Now I just come walking up to the door whenever I want or feel like I need to. I hang out and do community service there all the time. It is what works for me to stay sober. I am now a peer support there and I feed new comers my advice of what worked for me. HNV helped me out with so many resources into the community and Shannon just has the greatest advice. You just can't go wrong there.
My life is so insanely different now. My life use to revolve around parties, drinking games, going to the clubs and bars. I use to work my tail off at two jobs just so I could spend it all drinking with people who I thought were my friends. I'd get into fights with all these random guys at bars/clubs/concerts. I needed that liquor encouragement to face anybody. I was the one at the bars and clubs buying everybody drinks all night long so they would like me or think I was cool.
Now my life revolves around my sobriety. I have a sponsor and work the steps. I'm also currently working the MRT steps. I have two therapists and two case managers. I have my peer Shannon which is just amazing in every way possible. I attend woman groups, AA meetings, and I chair meetings now. Something I would have definitely thought I would have never seen. I go to sober related events all the time, volunteer and do community service as much as I can. I help others out and give them advice whenever needed. I try to stay positive and say hi to everyone I come across now. I would never do that before, I was always afraid of what others thought of me. I also currently work a part-time job.
My goals for the future are to get a scholarship so I can go back to college and finish a degree. I want to move out of state and find a job that I just love. I hope to get married to an amazing woman, have a set of twin boys, or possibly adopt or become a foster parent. I also have a bucket list of about 100 things on it that I would like to accomplish.
My sobriety date is December 6th, 2014.
- Ray Ray
Sobriety Date: 2/12/2015
How HNV has impacted my life: I have a job. I have a sober house to stay at. I have people I can call my friends. I have people I feel really care about me and hope I do well.
How life is different: I have a job that I like and I'm trusted at my job. I am taking responsibility and complying with courts. My mom leaves her purse in the car with me now and today I don't need to go through her purse, because I have my own money. I am actively involved in the Recovery Community and I am on the board of WRAP. I am currently training to become a facilitator for SMART Recovery.
Goals for the future: Continuing my education through WCC, continuing to be a part of the WRAP Board of Directors, to facilitate a SMART Recovery meeting.
- Jeff Holt
My name is Jeff Desmond and my clean date is May 15, 2015. I used to spend my days smoking pot, drinking and playing video games. I didn't have any friends that weren't users. The Home of New Vision has helped me in my recovery by helping me to see that I have an addiction problem. They found a long term treatment center that was very beneficial to me. After treatment they also helped me to seek employment, safe housing and food assistance. In addition they've supported me with legal issues, all of which has lowered my stress level and helped me to focus on recovery. My life has changed from chasing marijuana and alcohol daily, to a whole new way of looking at life. I am working out regularly, attending meetings and trying to live life clean and sober. I feel better both physically and mentally and with the support I have today my dreams can become reality. I have goals now that I never had before. I now plan on getting a job, paying off my court fines and continuing to attend self-help meetings. Most of all I hope to find a girlfriend to share life with.
- Jeff Desmond
"Luckily I was half dead."
Heather Scheuer is one of the few people who ever uttered these words. She was describing the beginning of the end of a 15-year battle with heroin addiction.
At age 35, Scheuer has been in recovery for five years. She depends on an impressive support system of family, friends and co-workers in her daily life in Ann Arbor. To keep the old drug demons at bay, she stays busy seven days a week with a full-time job, a part-time job and college classes at night.
Her full-time job is as a peer case manager and certified recovery coach at Home of New Vision, the substance abuse treatment center that helped turn her life around. She helps others who are starting or trying to maintain their recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.
In July 2008 she was found "half dead" by Detroit police, strung out and semi-conscious in a car in a parking lot. She had been doing drugs for almost 15 years, including five "hardcore" years in Detroit. She's lived in a dope flop house, cheap motels, friends' places, with boyfriends - anywhere she could crash and merely survive as a full-time heroin and crack junkie.
That's all she did for five years: Plan for how to get her next fix. She was so sick that day that the police couldn't put her in jail; they had to take her to a hospital. While she lay there, too weak to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, she had the epiphany that all addicts hope they someday run into.
"I couldn't fathom having to go back out into the streets and do what I had to do to het high that day. I didn't want to do it, I didn't have it in me," she remembers. "I was laying in that hospital, close to death, that I was like, 'OK maybe I don't want to do this anymore.'"
She called her parents in Troy. She comes from a solid middle-class family; her dad was a deputy sheriff for Oakland County, her mom was supervisor of emergency registration at a large hospital. But she had been at odds with her parents since she dropped out of high school her junior year at age 16.
She had started with marijuana and worked her way through alcohol, LSD, cocaine and heroin. With addiction and the need for drugs often comes lying, stealing, taking the family car in the middle of the night, getting kicked out of the house, repeated treatment center failures and relapses, DWI and other arrests leading to a criminal record, living in homeless shelters, wandering the streets. Her parents tried to help time and again, even after she moved to Florida for several years and explored the drug scene there.
Over the last couple of years while she was flopping in Detroit, Scheuer would reconcile enough to go home for a holiday dinner or an occasional visit. "My dad would say to me... 'I'm not going to be around forever. When are you going to get it together?' And I would kind of blow it off because, I mean, I was high when I was out there."
On July 3, 2008, when she called from the hospital, her dad was still willing to try. "My dad pretty much just said, 'What do you want me to do?' He had gone through this for almost 15 years now at this point. I just said...'ll do whatever I have to do.'
He suggested that she return to Home of New Vision in Ann Arbor. She agreed and, the next day, July Fourth, her parents dropped her off at the treatment program she had failed once before.
This time, she was so weak for the first few months that she couldn't have walked out of the program if she wanted to. After a few months she regained her strength, stayed sober, followed the stringent rules, worked and attended the group meetings.
At the 10-month mark, as she prepared for a court sentencing on her habitual drug-offender charges, neither she nor her lawyer knew whether to expect prison time or continued treatment. The Oakland County judge gave her two years of probation and continued treatment.
"The judge, by the grace of God, let me stay in treatment. If I wouldn't have went to the hospital that day (the previous July), I would have went to prison because I wouldn't have had the chance to have any type of sobriety before I went in front of the judge for sentencing."
Scheuer returned to Home of New Vision and finished her 15-month stay, graduating from the program on Sept. 24, 2009. She felt happy with her progress, but fearful, as all addicts are, of how things would go while living outside the treatment program.
After the graduation party, she remembers her dad dropping her off at the house where she would live with three other women who had gone through the program. "He gave me a hug and a kiss good-bye and said, 'I'm proud of you. Keep up the good work.'"
Four days later, on Sept. 28, 2009, her father died in an accident while trimming tree branches in his front yard.
Scheuer went to her mother's house for 10 days and friends from the treatment program came along for support.
"The only thing my dad ever wanted was for me to be sober and happy, so from the initial moment I found out, I always just felt that I can't use now," she said. "I finally gave this to him, and if I take it away now, I can never get it back."
"It's kind of weird to say it, but I just always get this sense that if my dad had still been around, and everything was easy when I got out of treatment, I don't know that I would have stayed sober. I just get this sense that my dad is gone, his life was taken, so I could have mine back, in a weird way."
These days, in her role at Home of New Vision, she delivers that same mix of compassionate support and tough love that she needed - and still needs - in her recovery. She has emerged from the rubble of a shockingly dysfunctional time in her life with a remarkable success story that can be held up as hope for other addicts in their darkest, toughest times.
"It just seems like a totally different life, a totally different person," Scheuer said. "It's almost like I'm talking about someone else and not myself."
- Story by Lynn Monson
- January 2014 - The Ann
Heroin took me to places I had never imagined. As time went on I found myself in riskier situations than the one before, hospital after hospital, needle after needle. Even the nearness of death by overdose wasn't enough to slow me down. Heroin was a constant monster on my back, always hungry. It didn't matter what I had to do to get more or how, the monster had to be fed.
I started to lose everything- jobs, housing, cars, friends, and family. Legal troubles were and had been the norm but it wasn't until I robbed the one person that had never asked for anything in return that actually jolted me. My step dad had only been kind to me from day one; still I broke into his house to support my habit with anything I could find. The guilt and shame was more than I could bear, I knew I needed to do something different with my life.
My mom directed me to contact Home of New Vision where long term residential treatment was available. I hadn't been to long term treatment yet, the thought of 6-12 months was scary but my way of living wasn't working. So I called, there my journey of recovery began.
At first, I thought I just needed to stop using heroin but it was more than that. I soon found I didn't have many coping mechanisms to deal with life on life's terms. It had always been easier in the past to not feel anything but high. The 12 steps were an essential part of treatment. I had to attend meetings if I wanted to stay in treatment. "Get numbers, read the literature, get a sponsor" were all suggestions that were given.
Once I began to listen and follow the suggestions, my life became a little brighter one day at a time. Good things started to happen to me. My family wanted to talk to me and spend time with me. They even drove an hour away to visit me. I started to form relationships with other women who have since then saved my life. I became employable. One of the most amazing things was being accepted into college. Not only did I start school but I was offered a job on campus as security- me an ex-criminal! I persevered and continued my education.
Shortly after starting college, I met my now husband. It was my first sober boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. That was real scary. It was so foreign to have a man treat me good and like I was of worth. Today, I know I am of value, but then I was just learning. We soon got married, had a beautiful baby girl, and bought a home to start our family in. Life was good to both of us. Through all life's big changes, many miracles, and struggles, I continued my education.
I graduated with an associate in criminal justice and general studies with honors. My desire to help others battle and conquer addiction was still strong, leading me to a Bachelor's in Social Work with honors. Right before graduation with my BSW, I was offered an opportunity for employment at Home of New Vision. I was hired in as a part-time case manager helping the SUD population. The experience has been priceless and continues to feed my passion to help others recover from the ravenous disease of addiction. Today, I have over 8 years of continuous sobriety. Recovery can and does happen!
I entered Home of New Vision on August 7th 2003 at the age of 32. I had
been in and out of treatment several times at this point but never
longer than 28 days. When my therapist suggested this program I was
hesitant at best but totally without options so I decided to give it “a
try”. After 13 enlightening, life changing and occasionally hard-won months, I graduated.
To say this program changed my life is really an understatement. Still sober since I left, I often recall things that I learned there and apply them to my everyday existence. The friends and the support system I received are still very present in my life today. Things my therapist told/taught me still ring in my head when I’m having a hard time. I know that I can call any of the staff today and be fully supported. These are things I really needed but had a hard time obtaining for myself. I could literally go on for days about the ways this program changed my life for the better and is still doing so today.
Since graduating I have accomplished things I never even considered possible for myself. Honestly. I was a low-bottom drunk that had succeeded only in sabotaging any good thing in my life. I had nothing. Today I am a mother, wife, sponsor, trusted friend and responsible and loving daughter. I finished my bachelor’s degree and am going to graduate school in the fall, I have run marathons (a dream of mine), and I have a good credit score. I Got my license back (after 2 dui’s) and actually have a good driver credit through my insurance company. The blessings in my life are too enumerable to count. There are things that I absolutely never thought would be possible for me. My life has changed and admitting myself to Home of New Vision is the reason why.
I came to Home of New Vision as a preemptive strike to stay out of jail after getting my 3rd DUI (a felony) in January 2012. Alcohol and drug dependency have been an ongoing battle in one way or another my whole life. Since coming to Home of New Vision, my life has changed in countless positive ways. I attended their out-patient Women's Specialties program for eleven months with several women, all with their own addictions and life issues. I now have 19 months of continuous sobriety!
With the guidance and support of case managers, peer support specialists, counselors & doctors all on staff and on site, women like myself are able to learn how to help support each other and accept support. Because of the tools I received at Home of New Vision and 12 step programs, I can truly say I am happy, joyous and free today. So much so that I now am a volunteer peer recovery coach/support able to give back what was so freely given to me when I needed it most in early recovery!
I thank God that Home of New Vision is here to help so many men and women from all walks of life and with many different addictions to become sane and sober members of society, some for the first time in their lives!
- A. S.
A Life from Sickness to Hope
It was March of 2012, when I made the best decision of my life. Before making this decision my life was filled with drugs and addict behaviors. Ever since I was a little boy I didn't feel like I was a part of anything. I always tried different ways of making myself happy. In all these attempts it finally led me to drugs and alcohol. I found out that I was a heroin addict! This drug ran the life I lived for the next ten years. I thought I was doomed. Then I found a new path with the help of Home of New Vision, and their mens recovery transitional housing
I remember moving in like it was yesterday. I was filled with fear of the unknown, and the people I was going to be living with. For some odd reason when I walked in, I was welcomed with love. At this moment, I was relieved of the fact that I never had to use drugs or alcohol ever again. I was introduced to the house manager and the rest of the clients. Everyone could see I needed some love, and that's exactly what they gave me. I was so happy I had contacted Home of New Vision for help.
The first couple of weeks I was informed to sit back and let the guys show me how the house runs. The guys were willing to take me to recovery meetings, and one of them took me to a great restaurant on Main St. to get a job. Home of New vision was helping me to get integrated back into the community as a sober citizen. I was sober at their transitional housing for seven months; therefore, I was able to make a smooth transition moving out of the house and into my own place.
At this time I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Home of New Vision. They did help save my life, so I decided to become a part of their peer support program. This is when they taught me Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC). I made a decision with the help of Home of New Vision to use my new obtained knowledge and training, for supporting the clients at their transitional housing. This recovery work kept my addiction at bay, and I also was able to help other addicts, like me, find a new way to live.
Home of New Vision will always be a part of my recovery. Without the tools and services they offered me I'm not sure that I would be writing this short story. These services and what I learned through them keep my life on a direct path towards recovery. My life is full of blessings today. At this time I would like to say thanks to Home of New Vision and the staff for being such a big support network in my life.
- J. G.