Having come from a family that did not accept him for being a gay man, Jerry H. spent his time searching for the love he did not receive growing up. He emulated the people in his life, turning to drinking, manipulating others and fighting.
Jerry experienced a lot of sadness and loneliness in his life. He got caught up in the unhealthy street life and began drinking and using drugs. Eventually, he lost his housing and employment. After some time living with friends, he began living on the streets. “It was all about the drinking,” he said, and his family and friends could not support him any longer.
Jerry grew tired of his lifestyle and entered a detox program. In 2006, he moved to Bonaventure House but was unsuccessful in the program. “I was doing the bare minimum in the beginning,” said Jerry, “and was hanging out with the wrong people on the outside.”
He moved out of Bonaventure House after six months and was able to maintain his sobriety for nearly a year before relapsing. In 2007, after he began using drugs again, his landlord considered his tenancy to be a danger to the building’s other residents. Again, Jerry was homeless. “I realized nothing had changed,” Jerry said. “The whole cycle had started again.”
In January 2009, Jerry decided to change his habits once and for all. He entered a rehabilitation facility and moved into Bonaventure House in May of that same year. Unlike his first time in the program, Jerry fully committed to his recovery. In his 18 months at Bonaventure House, Jerry attended meetings, sponsor groups and was the President of the Recovery Committee.
Today, Jerry has been sober for over three years. He plans to return to school this April and wants to become an addiction counselor. “I am learning to give back to the community,” Jerry said. Jerry volunteers and works at Bonaventure House. He is a resource for the residents currently living in the facility, offering guidance and a helping hand to anyone in need.
For Jerry, it’s all about love; for himself and for the people in his life. “It’s up to me to be happy, it has to come from within,” Jerry said. Jerry has some wisdom he hopes to pass on to the current and future residents of Bonaventure House: “Living in Bonaventure House, we’re all we’ve got. One addict helping another. Show each other more love, compassion and respect. Life will get better.” These words are not only important for Bonaventure House residents, but for all of us.
You can read more success stories at www.bonaventurehouse.org/about/stories.