Recovery Through the Years: Jimmie’s Story
Almost 10 years ago, we met Jimmie for the first time soon after he completed treatment in our Day by Day substance use disorder program. We’ve now had the pleasure of meeting with him twice since then; once in 2019 and again just last month. Read his story below in three parts.
For over 20 years, Jimmie lived with a substance use disorder. We eventually lost his job because of it and realized at this low point in his life that it was time to make a change.
An Evolution from Addiction to Awakening
Jimmie’s road to recovery was not a straight one. He went through treatment twice before finally coming to House of Charity. And it was here that he was finally able to take his life back.
Now Jimmie is a full-time student at MCTC and is studying addiction counseling. He is determined to complete his education with straight A’s. He knows firsthand that drug and alcohol addiction is common among people experiencing homelessness, and after seeing the impact his counselor had on his life, Jimmie realized that he could play a significant role in perpetuating the circle of recovery for others like him.
Another result of his newfound sobriety, he rediscovered his enjoyment for acting, one of the many hobbies he had in high school which were lost amidst his addiction. In fact, he recently auditioned for an MCTC school production and got the part!
A Future that’s Bright with Hope
By taking back his life from his addiction, Jimmie has been able to not only change his life, but to channel his life in a way that has the potential to save others. His goal is to have a direct and positive impact on people whose situations he understands. House of Charity stood alongside Jimmie when he needed it and Jimmie is stepping up to do the same.
“I realize now, but I’ve always known, only I have control over what goes on in my life, more than anybody else. Becoming empowered has been both the hardest and the best part of conquering my addiction. I want to cheer on other people and tell them, ‘you can do that! You have the ability within you.’”
Jimmie’s story illustrates how even at your lowest point of addiction, if you are willing to take ownership of your recovery, recognize the need for that structure, and hold yourself accountable to maintaining that structure, you can overcome just about anything. Jimmie’s life is full of promise now, and he says he couldn’t have done it without the consistency and support of House of Charity.
Despite a relapse, Jimmie is better than ever! He is again attending MCTC to obtain his Bachelor’s, and he hopes eventually Master’s, in addiction counseling. He has a nearly perfect GPA and is a part of groups and clubs at school. He is staying focused by attending church and regularly visiting a mental health center.
He has his own home and Jimmie says that independence can either help or hinder recovery. He has chosen to let it help. Jimmie says that being able to go home every night, lock his own door, and cook his own food in his own kitchen has been a good reminder of what he stands to loose if he starts using again.
His home, school and social groups are his foundation and he’s confident of his future where he can use his past experiences and what he’s learning now to help others.
“When I was a kid, people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I always answered, ‘I want to help people.’ Well now I’ve found a way to do that.”
Jimmie is now very involved in local theatre and it has become his way to be a part of the community and help others. As stage manager, he helps the actors and directors tell important stories that raise awareness about history and the experience of our unhoused neighbors.
He is also a state delegate and uses his experience to advocate for legislation and change. He is making a difference in our community by sharing resources and directing people to places that will help them find housing and other helpful resources.
Jimmie is using his experience to help his neighbors and we are so glad to be able to connect with him again.