Leaving Behind a Life of Substance Abuse

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“Alex is really a phenomenal person and we are all so proud of his eagerness to leave behind a life of substance abuse, and capitalize on his talents and future ambitions.” Pioneer case managers

Pictured Right: Naomi Paige, Pioneer case manager; Center: Alex; Left: Kyller, Alex's son

Alex struggled with substance abuse since he was very young. Pioneer’s first introduction to Alex was in January 2016 when he became a participant in our Transitional Recovery Program, connected to the King County Drug Diversion Court. He completed the Drug Court program successfully, and moved into Pioneer’s Bishop Lewis work release. After one month he was released into the community and moved into Pioneer’s transitional housing at the Stewart House. Unfortunately, without being able to secure employment and build structure in his life, Alex began using drugs again. He was exited from housing for drug use, but was guided back to his programming at Therapeutic Health Services and the Drug Court for help.

Eventually, Alex enrolled in the King County Drug Diversion Court case management program through Pioneer, where he would take advantage of the therapy and counseling needed to begin again. At this turning point, Alex knew he would need to invest everything to make a permanent change to his life. His goal was first to focus on recovery and then work his way to financial independence, a healed relationship with his son and employment in a field he enjoys. Alex became very engaged and committed to his treatment program, along with individual sessions with his case manager and self-improvement. The challenges he faced included the need to acquire healthy coping skills, and to work through communication and anger issues he was experiencing. But this time Alex was willing to do the difficult work to improve and he was committed to continue the journey to reach his established goals.

In January 2017, Pioneer’s Client & Community Services case manager referred Alex to our Workforce Development division where he interviewed to get in the Roadmap to Success (RTS) job-readiness training program. Alex displayed his passion and motivation to interrupt his old lifestyle and begin a new life, and he was accepted into the program.

Alex discussed his interest in reunifying with his 11 year old son, and becoming self-sufficient. He completed an assessment process that pointed to and prioritized the areas of need that were holding him back from long-term success. He came to class daily with an attitude that was willing to work, and he began to visualize the future in front of him. He completed the New Directions CBT program, developed a competitive resume, practiced interviewing skills and created a community with new friends in the program. Due to his investment, Alex managed all of his many appointments with the court, treatment, and case management around the RTS class, displaying his true commitment to beating his past.

One of his case management goals was re-connecting with his son, Skyler. Due to a donation of United Way King County tickets through Pioneer’s CEO, Karen Lee, Alex and Kyller were able to attend the All-Star Softball Classic at Safeco Field. He even learned how to tweet their photo at the game (see the photo with his vocational case manager, Naomi, and his son Kyller) that was shared on the big screen at the game. This event was a meaningful moment for him!

Alex enrolled in the Manufacturing Academy through the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee program in March. By May, he had earned several certifications including: Forklift Operation, OSHA-10 , First Aid/CPR , LEAN Manufacturing and Flagging. He was thrilled the day he learned to weld, and was quick to share his excitement with his case manager. After graduation, he pursued employment through enrollment in a WDC of Seattle-King County grant program. Alex applied for the Tech 1 deburr position at Pioneer Industries. His Workforce Development team and supervisor worked on a specialized training plan to provide him with transferable skills and abilities in the field of manufacturing. This training program offered 160-hours of on-the-job supervised training, and ultimately became a permanent position! Since taking this position in June, Alex has worked diligently to acquire new skills, and recently received a promotion to work with lasers, at Pioneer Industries Plant 1.

He is very excited to graduate from the King County Drug Diversion Court program in January 2018. Alex is anticipating moving into permanent housing, and continuing to be independent. His case managers say he has been a "pleasure to work with," and that Alex is "really a phenomenal person." We are all so proud of his eagerness to leave behind a life of substance abuse, and capitalize on his talents and future ambitions.