The Journey up from Rock Bottom: An HSP Story

by
Sarah Davenport, FCNI Staff
July, 22, 2020 -

Ted found himself at rock bottom--again. As an unrecovered alcoholic, Ted was again living out the devastating consequences of instability and poor choices. He had lost his job, his girlfriend had moved out with their two children, and he was evicted from his apartment. The final blow came when Ted was arrested for his second DUI and ended up sentenced to six months in jail. With nowhere to go but up, Ted committed himself to his sobriety while serving his time. But when he was released, Ted realized that while sober, he had nothing to return to--no family, no home, and no purpose.

Post-jail, Ted half-heartedly went through the motions of his probation--he filled out job applications, attended AA meetings and searched for housing. But it wasn't until his probation officer suggested that he work towards reunification with his children that Ted started to see or even feel a tinge of hope. For added support, Ted was referred to a local Housing Support Program (HSP) offered through the Department of Social Services and Family Care Network. HSP would help Ted secure housing and overcome other obstacles to reunification.

Ted and his new HSP case manager, Lou, talked through goals and mapped out critical tasks. While encouraged by the new support, Ted had no confidence in his own capabilities. Having self-medicated for so long, Ted struggled with his unmet mental health needs and lacked critical life skills which impeded his ability to follow through on things he knew he needed to do. Ted's team connected him with additional community resources and supports, including mental health therapy, and life skills and work readiness workshops and classes. Lou also remained steadfast in his support and encouragement of Ted, especially on the days when Ted's self-doubt succeeded in crippling him.

Wanting and achieving are very different things, and Ted struggled to believe that he could actually achieve what he desperately wanted--the right to be with his kids. But Lou's belief in him helped keep Ted motivated, kept him pushing forward despite the difficulties. Through therapy, Ted gained stronger coping skills that helped him manage his anxiety and increased his self-confidence, which, in turn, helped him present himself better to potential employers and landlords. With renewed perseverance and after several face-to-face meetings, Ted successfully secured a two-bedroom duplex through a private landlord. HSP then helped Ted get all of his necessary furnishings, including small appliances and a bunk bed for his kids. From there, Ted no longer allowed himself down-days; every day was a day to get something--at least one thing--done. He worked hard to secure part-time employment that would help him learn a marketable trade and he remained on track to complete his probation requirements. Finally, Ted not only saw a hopeful light glowing at the end of his once dark tunnel, but he could actually envision himself reaching it.

Ted and his kids have transitioned from HSP to the Wraparound Program so they can begin the challenging work of reunification--family therapy, supervised visits, and continued growth and healing. Ted is hopeful that he'll earn partial custody of his kids soon, and that he'll be able to meet all of their needs, something he never thought possible. And he and Lou continue to talk and support one another, Lou remaining one of Ted’s strongest supporters. 

Enormously thankful for another chance at his life, Ted is committed to never seeing rock bottom again.