Clients of El Rincon Community Clinic have positive life experiences as a result of their time in therapy with us. Many of them share their stories every day with each other in order to inspire others. In hopes that their story will inspire you to support; volunteer, sponsor, or come in for services; some of our clients have chosen to share their story with you. Whatever your situation is we can all appreciate the struggle it takes to make it through a difficult situation. These stories are just a few examples of what it means to persevere.
W. has been a part of the El Rincon Family for over 12 years. Although she completed the Opiod Maintenance Therapy program 6 years ago, she still participates in the services offered here at El Rincon. She often volunteers her time as needed and attends group meetings on a regular basis. She serves as a support to other individuals who are beginners in the program. She willingly shares her knowledge and first hand wisdom of what it means to battle a heroin addiction. Her ability to educate others of the challenges and struggles regarding the treatment process are invaluable.
She tells us...
"I first came to El Rincon in 1996, I joined the program because I wanted to stop feeling sick from the heroin I was using. I wasn't ready to stop using, I just wanted to feel better and that is why I started taking Methadone. I wasn't ready to stop using...I went to groups and I began to learn a lot while I was there. There was a pastor at the clinic who helped me turn my life around. Not only did she change my life, but she saved me too. The pastor led a spirituality group that helped me to build a new relationship with God. That helped me to fight my addiction. I began to look at life differently, and it no longer included drugs. The pastor who helped save my life also was the one who renewed my wedding vows.
There is a family atmosphere here at El Rincon. Everyone wants to help you win in life. I am so happy for all that El Rincon has done for me over the years. They have had a positive influence in my life. I am now able to share my story with others in the program to help them understand how Methadone works. I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for the staff here who has helped me to change my life.”
N. began drinking alcohol at a very young age. In his family "drinking meant fellowship." He saw that it was a social outlet in his family and as a kid he wanted to be a part of the family. He and his cousins would go behind the adults and taste what they were drinking to see what all the fuss was about. He recalls,
"Now that I think about it, I was really an alcoholic first. In eighth grade I was drinking."
N. came from a middle class family and worked in the family business so even as a young person he always had money in his pocket; but he says it wasn't about money for him. He needed to belong to something. He was in search of something where he could be a part of a group, he tried the military but he missed two points on the entrance exam and so he was not admitted and told by the recruiter to try again. In frustration, he decided he'd find something else. As a native Chicagoan he was pretty streetwise and often saw the neighborhood gang culture firsthand. The gangs had a pretty tight nit group; they were strong and supported one another. By all accounts they had what he was looking for.
"I joined the gang and part of the initiation was to get high. I had only messed with pot and a little acid and stuff so I didn't think it was any big deal. I was then arrested for selling cocaine and after being released from prison for serving my time I decided I wanted to party. That is how I was introduced to China White (heroin) by a family member. At first I just passed out, and then I got sick from having that poison in my body…after that though, I had the nicest high. That was in 1992 and gradually I got further and further out there. I really wish I hadn't started but I used for a lot of years. I stopped in 2007. I became homeless, my family shut me out, and I was living a hard life. I had a lot of chances but I didn't want to hear it.
At one point I heard what people were telling me. I figured out I could live differently. My father helped me out and now I've been in the program for a year. When I first came to El Rincon I didn't buy it. After coming to groups regularly, and learned to occupy my time with positive activities, I began to listen. Some meetings were better than others but I could tell the counselors were really serious and I thought I needed to stop playing and listen to what they were saying. Now I go to group everyday."
Slowly but surely the message took hold for N. and he offers this piece of advice to anyone struggling with addiction:
"Give yourself a chance…I mean really give yourself a chance. It's not going to kill you to try; someone told me that, I'm glad I listened.”
S. very simply states,
"I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for the counselors here. The structure is good for me. I attend groups every day and I wouldn't change a thing. This system really works for me."