A few years ago, William was struggling with addiction and trying to rebuild his life after years of incarceration. Today, at The Recovery Center at our Third Street Shelter, he’s helping other men who are in similar positions renew their own lives.

William began using drugs and alcohol when he was in high school, and as a young adult he was arrested on drug-related charges.  Four and a half years later, while he was on parole at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter, a Project Renewal counselor told him about The Recovery Center.

“I was at my lowest point,” William says, “I was depressed and felt like I had nowhere to go. I was skeptical about The Recovery Center because I was in a struggle with myself, like a tug of war. Part of me didn’t want to go but I gave it a shot.”

Opened in 1968 as the nation’s first outpatient clinic for homeless adults struggling with addiction, The Recovery Center provides easy access to on-site group meetings for both Third Street Shelter and neighborhood residents.

For William, all it took was a couple of group meetings to realize that sobriety was a realistic and worthwhile goal.  “I started to relate to some of the stories that were being told in the meetings,” he says. “I realized that I wanted to be a role model and help the other guys who are like me.” 

After 11 months in the shelter, William moved into transitional housing and he has become a role model and leader at The Recovery Center. He commands the respect of his peers through his honesty, consideration for others, and pride in what he has accomplished in his recovery. As a member of our Peer Representative Program, he has gone with our Intake Coordinator to tell his story to clients in other Project Renewal programs.

William hopes to eventually move into his own apartment. In the meantime, he’s enjoying the simple pleasures in life that sobriety affords him. “When I was using, everything I did was negative,” he says. “But now I go to plays and baseball games and amusement parks. I’m doing a lot of positive things.”