Client Spotlight: In His Own Words
Dave Charbonneau sat down in June to talk about his experiences with addiction and PRC.
You narrow yourself into a corner when you use for a long time.
I was emaciated, missing teeth, homeless, jobless, unemployable, and contracted HIV. When you’re in that place, it’s hard to see any possibility. What’s on the other side? SO MUCH – that’s my message.
After twenty years of trying to get sober, my primary addiction was to meth, I finally did it at 42. Now I’m 50 and so grateful for my life. I’m a licensed electrical contractor with my own apartment, a couple of vehicles, and a community I love! I’ve got so much.
It wasn’t easy to get here. I went through Joe Healy Detox at least three times, sent over by UCSF’s Ward 86 to get help. I went through Ferguson House a few times, and Acceptance Place more than once. The attitude was “Come on in, Dave. Let’s try this again.” There was no shaming about having a difficult time “getting it.”
“Come on in, Dave. Let’s try this again.”
Addiction is not pretty. It’s hard. I would be in a good place, feeling fine walking down the street, and it was like being struck by lightning: “go get high.” I would wake up a day or several days later and go – what just happened to me?
When I finally surrendered to recognizing my addiction, PRC helped me create structure, care for myself, and reach for help when I need it. When I think about learning how to “go grocery shopping” at Acceptance Place, it’s amazing how instructive it was for my life. Now I call it “Dinner Party Preparedness,” but it’s the simple skills that help you consider yourself in context and able to cope: think about what you need, how much, how to make it last, and what’s your budget.
Now when lightning strikes, I reach for my support system. The passage of time makes it easier. I’m stronger on my own, but I wouldn’t be here without PRC. Initially you have to be surrounded. I called it Team Dave – a therapist, a psychiatrist, a lawyer, a sponsor. I was surrounded by a team of advocates and professionals.