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CELEBRATING THOSE WE SERVE

I am Pamela Farris and I'm here to let you know that WE DO RECOVER! After 40 years of drug & alcohol use and mental issues that led me to homelessness, desperation and despair I had lost my soul. I was at rock bottom with no hope and nowhere to turn. I couldn't stand myself!

Today I have been transformed into a woman with dignity and value; a woman with morals; a woman of integrity. I have learned to hold my head up hight thanks to Haven for Hope and Pay it Forward. With a lot of hard work and perseverance I am now an employee at Haven for Hope. I started by working in the Donation Center and am now the Senior Supervisor over Facilities. All in less than two years.

I owe a lot of this success to Pay it Forward who taught me how to be responsible again and how to participate in my own life and be held accountable for my actions. 

Today I am 2 years and 4 months clean and sober and for that I am truly grateful. I am finally living my best life.

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#residentrecognition

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Anthony seemed to have it all together. He was young, healthy and had a great job working at TPC San Antonio and with the PGA tour. But his drinking was getting worse.

 

He started calling in all the time, coming in late, showing up with a bad attitude. Eventually his boss just couldn’t take it anymore, and Anthony was fired. His family was shocked and upset, but he didn’t care, he just wanted to keep partying, having fun while it lasted. 

 

Eventually he got hired back to his old position, but the partying followed. Without the tools to help him make better choices he fell right back into his old patterns and got fired a second time. 

 

That’s when his family threw him out. 

 

He quit caring at all and started living on the streets full-time. He spent his last paycheck on “beer, cigarettes and a little bit of dope”.

 

Eventually he ran out of everything, including beer, cigarettes and dope. He had nothing. 

 

It was when his situation was at its worst that a woman drove past him, and then pulled over. 

 

“You look pretty bad. You need to get something to eat.” 

 

She gave him $10 without him even asking. Because he was starving, he went to use the money to buy food. But Anthony was in such bad shape that the store owner refused to let him in the store, even when Anthony showed him the $10 from the good Samaritan. The owner grabbed a baseball bat and chased him out of the store and then called the cops, who showed up and handcuffed Anthony.

 

“You have two choices right now. You can go to Bexar County jail, where you DO NOT want to go, or you can get clean.” 

 

Anthony voluntarily entered treatment. He spent one week in detox, followed by 10 months in treatment. But Anthony was faced with another challenge. While he was on the streets, he had lost everything, including his license, social security card and birth certificate. Luckily, he remembered his social security number and birthday. Armed with that minimal information and with the help of his recovery coach and the folks at Haven for Hope, he began slowly rebuild his life.

 

As Anthony approached the end of his treatment program he had a choice to make. He thought about how much he had put his family through, and he wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. Although initially he had intended to return home after treatment, he came to the realization that he needed more time. Enter Pay It Forward.

 

Anthony moved into our dorm six months ago. When new residents join us they are informed about the structure and rules of our program. One of those rules is that residents are given one month to secure employment. Anthony wasn’t about to take that long. 

 

That same day he found the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, sat down at one of the computers in the dorm and filled out 12 job applications. It took him all day. Not long after that he received an email from Home Depot saying they were interested in meeting with him. He started working there in January and has since grown and excelled.

 

In addition to the resources, structure and support that he’s found through Pay It Forward, he gives Street2Feet credit for his healthy recovery.

 

“I run with them a lot. I do a lot of the 5Ks. That’s one of the big reasons why I stuck around. I was still smoking cigarettes when I started treatment. I’m not smoking anymore.”

 

Anthony is most looking forward to being there for his nephew after he graduates our program.

 

“Really, I just want to go back home to my nephew. I was the one who used to take care of him, because my sister, she’s in addiction too.” For now, Anthony gets to see him every other week, where they hang out and go on runs.

 

The last time Anthony had any alcohol, drugs or cigarettes was March 7, 2023.

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For this edition of Resident Recognition, we would like to introduce you to Natalie.

 

Natalie initially came to us as part of our HOPE program. The HOPE program is a partnership with Bexar County and Lifetime Recovery that offers incarcerated women a therapeutic alternative to jail or prison. 

 

“Right before the HOPE program came to me I was in Bexar County jail for, like, the tenth time and I was looking at more prison time.” Realizing that something in her life needed to change, she decided to give the HOPE program a try. After 90 days she was enjoying a new outlook on life and was offered the opportunity to interview for our dorm program but wasn’t sure she wanted to move in to sober living.

 

“I was so against sober living. I just didn’t want to do it. But I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that voice inside me that said ‘Don’t do it’. That was six months ago and it was the best decision I ever made.”

 

She says Pay It Forward has given her the chance to be the mom that she needs to be both for her current children and the one on the way, which is due to enter this world on July 6.

 

“I feel like Pay It Forward saved my life. It kept me sober and connected with other girls who are also sober and going in the same direction as I am.”

 

Her favorite part about our program is the camaraderie with the other ladies. “We go to meetings together, we do everything together. I love being around girls who have the same goals as me.”

 

Natalie is already looking towards the next phase of her life with excitement. “I can’t wait to be self-sufficient. I feel like PIF helped me with keeping a full-time job, and paying rent, and doing things that most adults take for granted, because I never did those things before. This place taught me how to be more responsible and do the things that I should have been doing anyway but never did because I was in my addiction.” 

 

Another part of her growth here has been learning how to be a leader. “I feel like being Dorm Captain I’m put in the position of being a leader. I wasn’t used to that, but I’m getting there.”

 

Yes. Yes she is. 

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Guy’s recovery journey began on February 2, 2023. He spent 7 months in treatment, where he says he got the help he needed to stabilize his mental health and work on healing himself. He went on to complete intensive outpatient treatment before joining the Pay It Forward SA family in August of 2023.

 

Guy smiles when he talks about how he has grown since joining our program. “There are rules and structure, but they are not limiting as far as what you can do and accomplish. There was no pressure on me to rush through the process. Everything was very comfortable. I was allowed to do things my own way at my own pace to get what I needed for myself and my recovery.”

 

This structure has allowed Guy to thrive. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be here and serve and give back to what’s been so freely given to me. It gives me an opportunity to be more accountable and responsible and productive as a member of society. And Pay It Forward allows that freedom to get there. I don’t know of any other program that allows that, where there’s not all that pressure.”

 

Guy also says that he would not be where he is without the help of the staff. “Your staff, starting from Chris Perry to Cherie and Lisa, who is great with the Recovery Coach process, helping us all to get our bus passes and get to scheduled appointments on time. I am just very, very grateful.”

 

Guy says that he is looking forward to being an exceptional resident for the remainder of his time with us and wants to continue to stay in touch and involved in the future. “I hope I have the opportunity to come back, for all those who have succeeded, to come together and celebrate.” 

 

We can’t wait to celebrate with you Guy. We’re very proud of you.

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This is Cheryl. Her sobriety birthday is October 12, 2022. She lives in our Women’s Dorm and is enjoying meaningful long-term recovery that she credits to her time at Pay It Forward. 

 

Cheryl came to us from North Carolina where she had relapsed after five years of sobriety. Her son lives in San Antonio and had been trying to bring her here for some time. When Cheryl landed at the airport her son picked her up and brought her straight to campus.

 

She says that Pay It Forward is the best thing she’s ever done. She laments her previous experiences with treatment where she would get out and fall right back into her old habits due to the fact that she was a loner. PIF helped her learn how to interact with other people and be part of a community that is a huge part of her recovery success.

 

When Cheryl graduates she is planning to get a place and move in with her daughter, who is relocating from North Carolina. Cheryl has not seen her daughter since moving to Texas,  the longest she has ever gone without seeing her. 

 

Great job Cheryl!

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This is Oscar. He moved into our Men’s Dorm on November 21. Before becoming part of the Pay It Forward family Oscar had struggled with homelessness and alcoholism. He has been in and out of rehab for the past 7 years. Since moving in to our dorm his outlook on life has changed. He is enjoying life and seeing things as he never has before and says he is grateful for and confident in his new future. Oscar currently works as the Gym Host on the Haven for Hope campus. Way to go Oscar. We’re proud of you!

“Quien soy porque estoy aqui. Y donde quiero estar al terminalesta de temporada. Mi historia no tuvo un bonito comienzo pero eso. No define quien soy es el resto de mi historia que es loue decido aser con ella."

-Sebastian

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