Stories of Recovery

A Success Story by Ronald C. (SUDT Program Graduate at Sierra Conservation Center)

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We’d like to share a success story by Ronald, a graduate of our Substance Use Disorder Treatment (SUDT) program and former inmate at the Sierra Conservation Center (SCC). With our SCC contract changing to a new provider at the end of April, we’d also like to use this moment to send a very special thank you to the wonderful WestCare California, Inc. staff and leadership at SCC for their many inspiring submissions over the years! Thank you all for Uplifting The Human Spirit through your tireless service to our in-custody program participants!

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“Hello,

My name is Ronald C. I paroled from CDCR in Jamestown on September 05, 2018.

On August 20, 2014, I made a decision to turn away from my drug using and criminal behavior and turned all my energy from negative to positive. I knew I needed help and I knew I could find that help within CDCR. I was transferred to the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown, which had a Substance Abuse Program (SAP).

I was accepted in the SAP there and completed the 6 month Substance Use Disorder Treatment (SUD) program, yet I was wanting more. Later, I was accepted in the first Long Term Offenders Program (LTOP) that catered toward life-term inmates. With these two programs, I was able to identify warning signs that could possibly lead me down a road to negative behavior. The program allowed me to see who I was when I made decisions in my life and who I am today. I learned the difference between remorse and regret and what being responsible for ones actions is all about.

My recovery is not just a matter of abstaining from drugs or criminal behavior. It’s much, much more than that. I maintain my recovery by staying connected to what kept me sober and criminally free. I am encouraged and held accountable for any negative behavior and continue to establish and accomplish new goals.

Today, I surround myself with positive and sober people. I work a full-time clock-punching job for a commercial plumbing company in Riverside, California, make $22.00 an hour and work at least 40 hours a week. I attend AA meetings 2-3 times a week and volunteer at the local Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Program. I sponsor anywhere from 6-8 men there and on Friday nights, I facilitate a Relapse Prevention class to the Beneficiaries at the Adult Rehabilitation Center.

Lastly and mainly, I do not forget where I came from. I owe a great deal of my success and the man I am today to the counselors in that trailer at the Sierra Conservation Center.

Respectfully submitted to whom it may concern or give hope to.”

Sincerely,

Ronald C.

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For over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents and families.

A Story of Change by Deborah G.

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“On January 17, 2015, I came to Fresno and enrolled with WestCare because I was a drug addict and needed help. I wanted to be a better person and entered into WestCare’s sober living program. One month later, my 25-year-old son Nikolaus was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident in Hawaii. I went to a meeting at WestCare’s program, The Living Room, the next day and collected my 4 month chip in my son’s honor. I kept going to groups and tried to live for my son, Niko. I stayed clean, but had a lot of work to do.

Sad but clean, I attended the first job preparedness class offered by Catholic Charities through Fresno City College in May of 2015. The class given by Dr. Ronda Herb on October 10, 2016 was the motivation behind my successful results. I completed an online course in February of 2017 to become Deborah L Gilleran, RADT (Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician). On March 29, 2017, I began my internship at WestCare California which included facilitating outpatient 12 step meetings and inpatient Wellbriety groups. In the last 10 months, I became involved with Reading and Beyond, where I obtained my GED on May 2, 2017. Upon receiving my GED, I enrolled into a counseling certificate course through California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAP). I am 4 weeks into that class and in 1 year I will receive my certificate for CADC 1 (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.) Along with the course, I will need 3000 intern hours in the drug and alcohol field, which I am blessed to say that I will be able to achieve because I have just accepted a full time job with WestCare California. I am now Deborah L. Gilleran RADT, RMS Counselor Tech!

I have been very blessed to be involved with Catholic Charities, Fresno City College, Reading and Beyond and WestCare California. Thank you all for caring about people in your community!”

Sincerely,

Deborah L. Gilleran

WCCA Logo PNGFor over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents, and families.

“I Am Thankful For The Many Blessings” by Christopher T.

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It is our pleasure to share a success story on behalf of our WestCare California STOP Area 1 program that assists parolees by linking them to appropriate services including substance abuse treatment and employment assistance.

“Prior to being incarcerated, I was employed with Goodwill for two years. I was released June 2016 from the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC). I was paroled to Sacramento County under Parole Agent, Antonio Torres. Once released, I was able to stay with my mother and siblings until a referral for housing became available. As of July 2016, I received a referral for housing. I am now a current participant of the WestCare California STOP Area 1 program. I am so thankful that my waiting period was very short. I was giving this opportunity to have shelter, food and an opportunity to obtain employment. I was admitted to the Walters House   treatment center in Woodland, CA located in Yolo County. I was very grateful to get the assistance that was needed in order for me to move forward. In September 2016, I was admitted to the Humanity House Sober Living Environment. Mrs. Cynthia is firm but nevertheless, has your best interest in mind. I attended the Sacramento Community Based Coalition (SCBC) re-entry program, which provides employment and educational services to parolee clients.

I’m in the process of test preparation for the GED and in the meantime, I am working for the Caltrans Parolee Work Crew Program. I am very thankful to their staff for giving me the opportunity to shine. Besides getting myself together and staying focused, I managed to get temporary custody of my daughter. I love my mom for being so supportive through all my encounters and being the wonderful Grandmother that she is. I am thankful for the many blessings.” – Christopher T.

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For over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents, and families.

A Recovery Success Story by Christine J.

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Christine J.

It is our pleasure to share a success story on behalf of our WestCare California STOP Area 1 program that assists parolees by linking them to appropriate services including substance abuse treatment and employment assistance.

“My name is Christine. I am 35 years old and in 2014, I was sent to prison for aggravated arson that stemmed from a 19 year meth addiction. This offense ultimately changed the course of my life. I found myself running from parole, homeless and hopeless and I knew that something had to change. So, on my son’s 15th birthday, I told him my plan and that I loved him and that I would be back.

Eight months ago, Pathways found me sleeping on their doorstep begging for help and offered me one last chance to pull myself out of the grip of this hell that I had been living in.

Today, due to the grace of GOD and the encouragement and guidance of WestCare California and Pathways, I feel as though I am on the right path to restoring the woman and mother that GOD purposed me to be. Now at 233 days clean, I am not only employable, but I am employed and just signed the lease to my very own apartment, a home of my own.

Through this experience, I know two things to be true: GOD is grand and there is beauty in my breaking.

Thank you WestCare California and Pathways for all you have shown me. I would also like to give a special thanks to my mentor and counselor, Shawna H. Go, Team Shawna!” – Christine J.

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For over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents, and families.

“Moving Forward” by Stephan S.

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stephan-s-difference“I remember as a child growing up in San Francisco’s downtown Fillmore area. During the 60’s and 70’s, it had become an African American historical business district which brought about jobs, home ownership, youth programs and social togetherness. I hung out in the Turk Street Project area. I grew up with violence and I learned to fight back. I was 18 when I was first arrested.

When you’re locked up, you meet more people who are doing crazy stuff and you learn that stuff. When I got older, I did crazier stuff and ended up doing time. I served 22 years incarcerated. I was in Folsom, San Quentin, Solano, Susanville, Deuel Vocational Institute, Corcoran and California Men’s Colony (CMC). During my stay at CMC, I got the news that my mom died and I wanted out. I knew I had broken my mom’s heart as did other siblings before me.

Released in December 2014 with $200 gate money, I was paroled  to Sacramento County under Parole Agent, Gerard Morita. I had to check in Monday – Friday by noon, which was very difficult due to back and leg issues. Although I was homeless, I always took pride in my appearance. While homeless, I was working odd jobs through people in the community so I could receive earnings to pay for shelter. This went on for months.

Agent Morita referred me to California Consortium Services. There, I had access to showers and meals, which I utilized  Monday – Saturday. Eventually, I acquired a small pickup truck which enabled me to do service jobs for prospective clients. In the interim, I was assigned to another Parole Agent, Kenneth Dixon. Parole Agent Dixon managed to get me a referral through WestCare California, which provided housing, meals and outpatient services. Dixon is the fairest PA that I’ve ever encountered!

On December 2015, I was admitted to Humanity House, a Sober Living Environment. While there, I attended outpatient services and classes at Another Choice Another Chance on Franklin Blvd. under Mr. Thesolonius Story, AKA ‘Bo’, and his fellow staff. Thank you, Another Choice Another Chance for scheduling and re-scheduling with me and for having compassion. I obtained my Social Security, opened up a bank account and graduated from the WestCare program. To every employee at WestCare California, I thank you all for putting up with me until the end.

I thank God for his mercy and to those assisted in the process of my change. I am staying focused and will continue to make a difference.” – Stephan S.

“Learning to Trust the Process” by Troy W.

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capture“It was brought to my attention that I should pause to say ‘Thank you’ to the people who have assisted me in my process of change. Realizing the error of my ways and working on the thoughts and behaviors that led me to incarceration has been one of the most difficult things I have had to deal with in my life. I thank God that every day, keeping the change becomes easier because of the people I have been fortunate to surround myself with. I am convinced that some people have been strategically placed in my life that have taught me that connections matter. I am thankful that I have connected with people like you who have essentially been a cheerleading squad telling me that I can make it.

I am moved to tears when I consider how well things are going in my life right now and it’s all because of people like Ms. Cynthia and Mr. Forte, the House Manager at Humanity House, the wonderful staff at the Sacramento Community-Based Coalition, Ms. Natalya Edwards,  who keeps reminding me that success doesn’t come overnight and that it takes practice and healthy living. I’d also like to thank Dr. K.D. Weldon, Sr. Although he is younger than I am, I have adopted him as my mentor. Dr. Weldon taught me that everything has a purpose and my past is part of my metamorphosis to the bright future that is ahead.

Lastly, my parole agent, Kris Hardy, who from our first meeting, instilled in me that a man is defined not by how much he does in life, but what he starts and finishes.

My future looks bright and I have the people listed above to thank for it. I am making a commitment to continue what I have started, but furthermore to help anyone with a criminal past to know that they too can succeed.”

Sincerely,
Troy W.
WestCare California’s STOP Area 1 Program

“Follow the Straight Path” by Ahmad H.

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giving-back-4“I was born to a pair of street hustlers and raised in the small city of Richmond, California. I was only 2 years old losing both parents to the streets and the prison system.

Without their leadership and guidance, I too gravitated to the streets of Richmond. I abandoned my dreams of being an athlete and entertainer for the more tangible idea of being a gangster and running my city. Unfortunately, a lot of other young black males had the same idea and I earned myself a life sentence in prison for the attempted murder of a rival gang member.

While incarcerated, I initially went through a state of deep denial. Blaming was the main culprit in my stunted growth. I began to attend Islamic services every Friday. Islam compelled me to look at myself in a way that I never had before. I began attending self-help programs and reading books. The most memorable were the autobiography of Malcolm X, ‘Know Thyself’ by Na’im Akbar and ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ These books, self-help groups and a new found faith in God gave me the strength and guidance to tear down  the angry and irresponsible young man I had become. I had to rebuild myself with the goal of being a man of principle and integrity.

I was released from prison on March 16, 2016. I paroled to WellSpace Health, a recovery home in Sacramento, CA. While there, I met countless people who supported me in re-entering society: Kim, Clo and the entire staff at WellSpace. My caseworker from WestCare’s STOP program had me placed in a sober living home under the care of Ms. Cynthia Mose. Ms. Mose, Bo Story and my Parole Agent, Eduardo Duran, gave me the necessary freedom to get my drivers license, social security card and find employment. Sadly, our system isn’t always supportive of a smooth transition back into society, so it is very important that you have your family and people like the above mentioned in your corner.

Today, I work with troubled youth and I am still pursuing my dream of a career in athletics and entertainment. In my opinion, to be truly happy in this life, one must pursue their dreams and give back to the community that you stole from.  I’m doing that and I am at peace and truly grateful  for this opportunity to  shine.

Praise God for He is the Greatest. Dream big and believe in yourself. Finally, seek help and be humble to accept assistance. I could not have done any of this without the support of my wife, family and all of the beautiful people that God placed in my life.” – Ahmad H.

 

WestCare California Alumni Lead by Example

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Gregory A. and Robert E.

“Despite a very hard life that at times was spent in the streets, on and off drugs and in and out of jail and after many tries and against all odds, Robert E and Gregory A participated in and completed the residential treatment program at WestCare California’s MLK Residential facility.

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In the face of temptation, these men were able to practice the tools that they learned in the program to overcome past relapse triggers. They have since become Alumni and return to support the current clients at the facility. Robert and Gregory spoke in front of the men as a testimony of how they have overcome their active addiction. They also encouraged the men to stay strong, work the program, go to meetings, get a sponsor and not to go back to their old lifestyles.

For their efforts, I awarded these two men with ‘Thank you for Uplifting the Human Spirit’ tokens.” – Celestino Rayos, Coordinator, Men’s Residential Treatment 

Summer ’16 Nurturing Parenting Celebration

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We would like to congratulate our 15 newest graduates of the 15 week Nurturing Parenting class held at our MLK Residential facility! This class aims to not only improve parenting skills for mothers who are currently helping themselves in residential treatment, but strengthen the bond between them and their children. Even though some of the ladies already completed their program, they still made it a point to come back and finish the class! The recent Nurturing Parenting Celebration ceremony gave the class’s participants a chance to share some of the projects that they made in this class including a portrait of what their family means to them. Despite the tears that they might have shed, each graduate was also asked to read a letter that they wrote to their children which highlighted their journey together and the bright future that lies ahead. We are so proud of all that they have accomplished and wish only the best for them and their families in the future!

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Strides to Success: Scott I.

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Scott next to a water tower, just one of several structures that he helped build at Hilltop Recovery in the wake of the Valley fire in Fall of 2015.

“When I arrived at Hilltop Recovery, I was a 40-year-old parolee who was facing charges for a DUI. I bailed out of jail knowing that I was going to Hilltop to finish out my parole term. I had never been to a rehabilitation program before and I had no idea what to expect. All that I knew was that it had to better than jail. Once I got settled in and started to learn about who I was, I became willing to take a chance and let down my guard. It was obvious that the way that I had been doing things was not yielding any positive results. I can still remember the moment that it all started to make perfect sense. My counselor was talking to me during our weekly one-on-one session and this is what she said to me, ’You should take full advantage of this situation; it could be the greatest opportunity of your life.’ Ever since that day, that is exactly what I have done.

The resulting plea agreement for my DUI was that I was allowed to spend 12 months in this program in addition to the 12 months that I had already spent here. Some people hear that and say, ‘That’s crazy! How could you be here for that long?’ My response is, ‘I am blessed and that I have finally found myself and that I have embraced my new lifestyle and the new man, son, companion and most importantly, ‘father’ with open arms.  I have been through a lot in the last 11 months. The valley fire is the one thing that sticks out in my mind. The complete loss of the facility and the not knowing what was going to happen next was very scary. I had already started to build some great relationships with the people that created Hilltop and the staff members who work here. All of my fears were quickly put to rest as we all came together as a family and did whatever was needed to keep this place alive.

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Hilltop Recovery Services

Since then, my life and the bond that I share with the people here can only be described as amazing. These people are not just my friends, staff or counselors; they are my family. The love that I have for these people cannot be put into words. It is spoken through action. They have taught me so many valuable lessons and my life just continues to improve. They have also shown me how to embrace my struggles. The old site is a memory now and will always be missed. We have a new facility now; it is something that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. We have spent countless hours to make this happen and it gives me a great sense of pride knowing that I helped create it. Knowing that it will be here for many more years with its doors open to help the addicts of the world to show people like myself that there is a better way to live.” – Scott I.

Hilltop Recovery Services is a residential substance abuse treatment facility located in Lucerne, CA that serves clients referred by WestCare California’s STOP Area 1 reentry program. For more information on their program, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HilltopRecovery/