recovery

“Rome’s Words” (LTOP Program Participant at Sierra Conservation Center)

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We’d like to share an insightful letter written by Rome, a participant in our Long-Term Offender Program (LTOP) and inmate at the Sierra Conservation Center (SCC). Thank you for sharing your affirmations of positive change and message for those still struggling as well as their families, Rome!

Rome Quote

“I was raised in a traditional old fashion Southern parental structured home with both parents who provided a stable environment. I grew up in a time where expressing one’s emotional well-being was frowned upon and viewed in a negative manner. This taught me to suppress my inner feelings from fear of being labeled soft, passive or weak. This psychological isolation caused me to suppress my true feelings and desire to seek help for my mental well-being, instead seeking relief by self-medicating with alcohol, marijuana and later methamphetamine.

I would like to express my appreciation to the WestCare team of professionals including the Program Director, Parole Services Administrator, Transitional Counselor and Peer Mentors at the Sierra Conservation Center (C-Yard) in Jamestown, California. I am in awe at the quality of care and attentiveness that they provide to break down the many layers of guilt, shame, denial, anger, pain and fear that I have used and erected to protect myself from the rejection I have lived with not only before my committed offense, but for the 21 years of incarceration as well.

I entered this program with the dehumanizing effects from remnants of criminal and addictive thinking distortions along with my external value system and being resistant to truly opening up to allow myself to be vulnerable with the person who I truly am. My choices and core beliefs destroyed and altered the very fabric of not only mine, but my family’s life as well. Today, I fully understand the entire ripple effect upon the family, friends and community of the man’s life of whom I have taken.

Through this program’s Victim’s Impact class and group setting that offers a safe confidential insightful cycle of therapy, I have not only been able to identify with my core issues, but I have also been able to identify with other issues around me, giving me the cognitive awareness that I never had before.

Today, I possess the coping skills and tools to regulate and manage my emotions and assist others with their own struggles. Today, I truly enjoy a greater quality of life. I sing praises to WestCare, for this has been the biggest platform to re-humanize and allow me to truly belong in a healthy and stable environment that I have longed to be a part of. The level of accountability and integrity here is refreshing.

I can now trust, shoosing to make something I value, vulnerable to another person’s
actions. In the criminal world and society as a whole, our fears and past traumas erode our sense of trust. This has allowed me to express the best part of myself to whomever I come into contact with. Challenging myself to be authentic and compassionate towards others, I no longer need to manipulate or deceive. In prison, many of us struggle to belong, to be good enough or to be adequate.

WestCare has taught me true belonging is the innate human desire to be a part of something larger than myself. Because this longing is so primal, I often tried to acquire it by fitting in and seeking the approval of outside influences. This was not only a substitute for belonging, but a barrier to it. True belonging only happens when we present our authentic and imperfect selves to the world. Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. This program has taught me to stand alone and embrace my recovery from my addictions and destructive lifestyles.

The Long Term Offender Program (LTOP) was ideal for me, a lifer who has suffered further Post Incarceration Syndrome (PICS) and other maladaptive coping skills. This program placed a special selection of men also in recovery to provide dialogue to and support each other mutually. The professional team here has transcended beyond the yard and the ripple effect has assisted in the restoration with my personal family. My wife is a Behavioral Specialist, my sister is a Juvenile Hall Counselor and they are amazed and enjoying the progress and personal growth and maturity that this program has afforded me. My children are enjoying the father that they always desired. I am able to break the generational curse of ineffective communique due to the Family Relations class. I employ these skills into my relationships in life and with my immediate family and the rewards are worth the effort and risk. Today, my children are open and l can easily navigate to them my thoughts and core beliefs. They are happy that I am totally invested in their lives and now trust me to be a grandfather to my grandchildren. We understand that life offers many challenges and we all have thinking distortions that have adverse effects upon the people we interact with, especially the ones we claim to love.

My pleas to anyone reading this, I encourage you, if you have any family members or even yourself that is struggling with addiction: criminal, drug, alcohol or simple process
addictions. Please do not allow the shame, denial or even fear of exposure prevent you from getting back on track and being the blessing to yourself and others.

If you have a loved one in prison, look up WestCare and inquire if they provide services at their facility. If so, do not enable them by sending them financial aid in any form that may lead to fueling their ongoing addiction. Encourage your loved one to seek the proper help. With the help that I have been provided from the WestCare family, I would have gladly paid them every month to show the appreciation for the direction they have provided me in righting my moral compass.

I am truly indebted to not only this program, but the staff as well along with the peer mentors who are second to none in professionalism and compassion. Again, I thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to come into contact with my true self and to also allow me to appreciate the little things that mean so much. Lastly, just knowing and having a support network around you in this type of setting makes recovery that much easier.”

Respectfully submitted with true sincerity,
Rome

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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.

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Program Spotlight: Behavior Education And Treatment (BEAT)

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In recognition of National LGBT Health Awareness Week, a week-long observance to bring awareness to the unique health needs and disparities of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, we’d like to introduce the newest addition to the WestCare California family of programs, Behavior Education And Treatment (BEAT)!

BEAT works with those who are HIV positive or at risk of contracting the virus and have a substance abuse disorder. This can include but is not limited to:

• Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) individuals, primarily racial/ethnic minorities who identify as Young Men Who Have Sex With Men (YMSM)
• Intravenous drug users
• Individuals involved in risky behaviors such as sex industry work, unprotected sex and human trafficking

The goal of the program is to reduce the link between substance abuse and the transmission of HIV while empowering those that we serve through the program to live drug free, healthy and productive lives. Program results will be achieved through outreach, testing, referrals and a combination of residential and outpatient treatment and sober living as well as support with locating stable housing.

Program Information and Presentations:
Jessica Underwood, Program Coordinator
(559) 237-3420 Ext. 20322

Program Admissions:
Belmont Health and Wellness
611 E. Belmont
Fresno, CA 93701
(559) 237-3420

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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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7-19 Blog Post

“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.

Two Newborns Receive a WestCare Welcome!

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Our staff and the individuals that we serve at our MLK Residential treatment facility in Fresno, CA recently held a joint baby shower for two of our mothers within the program, Ebony and Angelica! The Sesame Street themed event welcomed their newborns, Quincy and Jayden, respectively. Their fellow clients helped out by donating gifts, making treats and decorating the room for the shower. We pride ourselves in not only being able to provide help simultaneously to mothers and fathers with a substance abuse disorder, but for having such an amazing support system from our staff and their peers during this time of change for them and their children! We wish only the best for Ebony, Angelica and their little ones and would like to thank everyone who played a part in giving such a warm welcome!

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.

“Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Moving Forward in Life” by Danny R.

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-It is important to allow people to love me for who I am today.-

“It’s 5 a.m. I’m still getting up early to watch the sunrise, go to work at the dog and cat rescue center and share my day with wonderful volunteers. I wouldn’t change that for the world. However, I’m experiencing certain challenges I’ve never had to experience before: A new fear! The fear of having to explain to those who’ve become close to me that I have spent 36 years of my life in a terrifying prison environment. I had an idea of how it would feel, but now that the fear is real, it can be rather paralyzing. Fear is the most subtle and destructive of all human feelings. Fear kills dreams, fear kills hope, fear can hold you back from doing something that you know within yourself you are capable of doing, but it stops you in your tracks. My first inclination was to run away and not deal with the emotions. I was prepared to let go of the beautiful relationships I had established instead of facing the reactions of friends when they’ve been informed of my past years of incarceration. Many questions ran through my mind like: Will they become unattached? Will I lose friends that I’ve come to smile with and exchange laughter with? Should I bother explaining to them? Will they treat me or act differently? The answer: YES! Some will become unattached, others will not want to remain my friends or they will become uncomfortable around me. This is totally understandable. But, their will be a few who will be understanding and will give me a chance for their friendship.

Nevertheless, my biggest fear and no matter how shattering it can be, is that I do have to be honest and tell those that have become close to me that I am a parolee, that I have been in prison for my entire adult life. But, the most freighting question of all is: Will I be alone again? When sharing my dilemma with a friend, she said, ‘Danny, you have struggled and gone through too much to get to where you are standing here today. Do not let your fear of telling people who you’ve come to love and are now important in your life stop you from telling them where you have been the past 36 years. Don’t let fear stop you from moving forward in life.’ And she was right! She made me realize that the expense of losing a dream and losing friends whom I love dearly is part of my healing. I must do what is right and let people know that I have been locked away in prison my entire adult life. It is important to allow people to love me for who I am today. It is important for me to know that my friends will love me regardless of my past failures as well as for the person I have become today.

And so, after revealing to my friends that I am a parolee, I learned that the most profound words for the human spirit to hear are, ‘WE LOVE YOU DANNY, no matter what you did in your past, today we see that you are not that person who committed a crime. In the few months that you’ve entered our lives, you have shown us that you are an awesome person; an honest, caring, compassionate and giving person. We love you Danny and want you to remain close in our lives as the good friend that you’ve shown yourself to be.’ They all proceeded to hug me, acknowledging their love and acceptance of me. And so, the tears I shed now are not from being locked away, but from having, in my life, remarkable people who choose to call me friend. That day, I learned that it is important to give people an opportunity to love me for the person that I am today.” – Danny R.

 

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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Christopher T. Quote

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.