Treatment and Community Involvement Aid in Recovery Journey

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Catherine was broken. She experienced a violent home life and had been diagnosed with mental health issues. In addition, she struggled with a substance use disorder and had to face having a criminal record.  When she was unable to maintain stable housing in Hawaii, Catherine decided to move to Washington State to be near her daughter and grandchildren. She settled in pretty well as she adjusted to the cooler weather in Washington and resided for several months in an apartment that she found to rent.

Unfortunately, Catherine needed professional treatment and counseling to heal and without it she fell back into substance abuse. Her life started to unravel again as her battle with addiction ultimately caused her to lose her stable housing and severed her relationship with her daughter.  Catherine was forced to live on the streets, but she was determined to seek help and embrace a life of recovery.

After filling out multiple housing applications and being rejected because of her poor credit and a blemished background, Catherine still persevered and finally was introduced to Pioneer.  In December of 2015, Catherine enrolled in substance abuse treatment at Pioneer Counseling’s Tacoma Clinic. Within one week, a counselor connected her to Pioneer’s Tacoma transitional housing program. There was an opening and Catherine got an apartment, she engaged with her case manager in the housing program, continued her counseling at the clinic and started to build up her self-confidence to make a positive change in her life.

The change wouldn't come fast, and was not without challenges. However, Catherine committed to beginning her life anew, and fully engaged in her substance use disorder treatment every week. Getting involved in the community was also a major step in her journey to become a productive member in the community. Catherine drew from her personal past experiences to assist others who were also struggling. She taught recovery classes for domestic violence survivors through Recovery Café in Tacoma  and volunteered in Pioneer projects and at local churches in her free time.

As the months rolled on, Catherine continued to invest in herself by taking cognitive behavioral therapy and other classes at House of Matthews transitional services.  The Resource Center in Pioneer’s Rialto House was also a haven for Catherine to discuss creative ways to cope and celebrate benchmarks of success along the way. In working with her Pioneer case manager, Jose Torres-Oyama, Catherine uncovered a way to promote her emotional well-being and keep her mind occupied when she felt vulnerable to relapse. Jose called upon community donations to provide materials to support Catherine's jewelry-making hobby she had placed on hold during this transitioning period of her life. Case management also advocated for funding to support the expensive co-pay for Catherine to see a professional psychiatrist and begin managing her mental health effectively.

While at Pioneer, Catherine made a positive impact on many of the other residents she came in contact with by sharing household supplies, and advocating for her neighbors as they navigated through community services. Eventually, it was time for Catherine to move on from Pioneer’s transitional housing and she located permanent housing at a local apartment complex within walking distance from various bus routes. Now she is spending quality time on her physical and emotional well-being, focusing on her jewelry-making hobby, spending more time with her cat "Mr. Stretchy," and continuing her focus on her recovery. She plans to continue counseling, where she hopes to eventually transition off some medications and advance her education. When staff last spoke with Catherine, she was working on building back her relationship with her daughter and she was beginning volunteer work at a local activity center for seniors.

The staff at Pioneer is so proud of Catherine’s success in rebuilding her life and everyone is confident that she will continue to contribute in making positive changes in the Pierce County Community.

Thursday, January 11, 2018