Spreading the Human Connection

Monday, May 04, 2020

Six months ago, Ralph was addicted to meth and alcohol and running out of chances with his family. Today, he’s in recovery and making face shields for local hospital workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Ralph had tried hospital-based detoxification programs in the past, but they never stuck. The game-changer was Central City Concern’s Recovery Mentor Program and his treatment counselor, Robert (Bobby) Tsow.

“Without CCC, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Ralph said. “I’d be in jail or I’d be dead.”

The process for Ralph started at CCC’s Hooper Detoxification and Stabilization Center, where he spent ten days withdrawing from meth and alcohol while receiving around-the-clock care. From there, a peer mentor drove Ralph directly to CCC’s Madrona Studios, a supportive housing program where he would live while completing intensive outpatient therapy through the CCC Recovery Center.

For the next four months, Ralph would work hard toward recovery – this time, with the long-term support he had been missing in his past experiences with detoxification and sobriety.

Ralph checked in with his program mentor every day, participated in support groups and attended daily meetings of Narcotics Anonymous. He received primary care treatment at Old Town Clinic, mental health therapy and regular sessions with his counselor, Bobby. He did homework and developed new tools for coping with anger, stress and thoughts of using. He found purpose through the CCC Community Volunteer Corps, which let him give back to the community after feeling like a “taker” for so long.

Then the coronavirus pandemic put an end to in-person meetings and gatherings, risking the social connections that had been foundational to Ralph’s recovery. But CCC developed new plans and protocols to adapt to the unprecedented situation, ensuring that the networks of support that clients like Ralph rely on would remain strong.

Most of Ralph’s counseling sessions with Bobby moved to the phone instead of face-to-face, and his regular recovery meetings changed as well. But Ralph also had a phone list of supporters to call on, a mentor, Zoom meetings – in addition to the groundwork he had already laid. He didn’t feel alone.

“The Recovery Mentor Program gave me all the tools I needed to stay in contact,” said Ralph.

When Ralph graduated from treatment in April, he had a quiet ceremony with just Bobby present. But he still felt proud. He knew he’d met a big goal.

Bobby was proud of Ralph, too. “He was hungry for recovery and a new way of living – open, teachable and willing,” Bobby said.

“The Recovery Mentor Program gave me all the tools I needed to stay in contact.”

After his graduation, Ralph shared that he was looking for a job, and a fellow member of the program made a connection for him. He worked with an Employment Specialist at CCC’s Employment Access Center to put together a professional resume – and he landed the position. Now, Ralph works the nightshift at a company producing face shields for front line hospital workers.

“I’m in a position to reach out and help others,” he said. It feels good when he returns home to his apartment after work.

Thanks to CCC’s dedicated staff and compassionate donors, Ralph has been able to stay on the path to long-term recovery during this time of turmoil. “I have my life back,” said Ralph.

When you make a donation to our COVID-19 Emergency Fund, you are giving the gift of human connection to individuals transitioning away from homelessness and addiction. With your support, we are strengthening the bonds that will keep us all connected through COVID-19 and beyond. Please make a gift today.