Tony sat in the office of Jenn Lasky, the YMCA’s Open Door Reentry program director. He sighed and let the stories of his past flood the room. The son of a police officer, Tony came from a good home. He was an army veteran, happily married for 15 years. But a few years earlier Tony had tried heroin. He quickly became addicted and his life spiraled out of control. Tony had lost everything: his job, his home, and ended up in prison after making many poor decisions, all to feed his addiction.
After being released from prison, Tony was working through his recovery in a drug treatment program when he heard about the Open Door Re-Entry program. Open Door is a collaborative partnership that offers transitional housing and support for formerly incarcerated men, to help them rebuild their lives. Jenn listened as Tony recounted his circumstances. She had heard many stories of men broken from addiction before, still Tony’s story seemed so close to home, like it could happen to anyone. She could hear in his voice that he was unsure he would ever be able to rebuild his life.
As Tony continued to talk, he twisted the wedding band that circled his finger and thought about his wife, Angel, who he hadn’t seen in months. Angel was in an AA program, working to get clean from her own addiction. As he thought about what they had been through, Tony vowed to give his recovery everything he had. Thankfully, through Open Door, he had the time and support to focus on his recovery. He took the process day by day, and worked jobs in snow removal and landscaping so he could make payments on his court costs and fines. Slowly but surely, Tony knew that he was rebuilding what he lost.
Two years later, Tony looked out at a group of people sitting before him. So many people at this AA meeting felt hopeless, and Tony knew, like him, they would each have an uphill climb to sobriety. But he wanted to help them find hope through his own experiences. So he told them how, after a year of sobriety, he paid off all of his fines and received a driver’s license. The license had allowed him to complete trucking school, and now Tony had a job as a steel hauler. He explained that he and his wife were now in a stable place in their lives, and that they attend numerous meetings each week to try to help others find hope. “I would not have been able to rebuild my life if it weren’t for Open Door,” he says. “Even on the hardest days, remember, change is possible.”
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“I would not have been able to rebuild my life if it weren’t for Open Door. Even on the hardest days, remember, change is possible.”