When I started using drugs at the age of 11, I had no idea where it would lead. I’d heard the warnings, but I thought I could outsmart the people that end up overdosing, homeless or without family. When I became addicted to hard drugs at age 20 though, all those problems started appearing in my own life.
In 1998, after years of living on the street, I surrendered and was able to sustain my recovery for ten years. But then I faced a serious and painful physical problem and my drug use returned. For six hopeless years, I suffered a severe opiate and alcohol addiction, living out of my van for two of those years. I never thought I’d get clean again.
One Sunday morning at 5 a.m., I woke up as usual—sweating, nauseous and anxious. But that day felt different. I couldn’t go on living this life. I couldn’t wake up like this everyday. I contemplated suicide. But then arose a feeling I hadn’t experienced before—hope. I knew I had a chance at getting clean again. Being homeless and without insurance, however, left me with no where to go. Then I remembered Healing Transitions.
On June 13, 2016, I began my journey to recovery. As I struggled with withdrawals, the staff and participants were nothing but supportive. People surrounded me from the beginning and became my closest friends as we made our way through the program together. Even transitioning out of Healing Transitions was seamless due to the partnerships they provide—housing options and even a car through Wheels 4 Hope paved the way for me to be employed.
Now I work as a rapid responder to opioid overdoses for Healing Transitions. When someone overdoses, I have the privilege of meeting them where they are and making sure they’re okay. Thanks to Healing Transitions, I’ve obtained a solid foundation in recovery and am surrounded by people who want nothing but my success. Many don’t get that opportunity, but I’m thankful I did.
– Rusty Kiley, Rapid Responder to Opioid Overdoses, Healing Transitions