Stories of Hope & Recovery
On a cold winter night in 2009, Zachary Bullard found himself in a familiar place — the back seat of a police car — hearing some very unfamiliar words.
The officers told Zachary that SAPD, the Sherriff’s office and The Center for Health Care Services had started a new program and they could take him to 601 N. Frio — the Restoration Center, or they could take him to jail.
“For almost two years, I was in and out of detox and I ran the gamut of recovery programs —Salvation Army, Lifetime, all of them. I would sleep at The Courtyard in Haven for Hope sometimes. I went through Detox at The Restoration Center five or six times, and although I always completed successfully, I always just left, and didn’t go anywhere for treatment. I started IHRP (In-House Recovery Program), but I didn’t complete it. I heard their suggestions, and I would start feeling better, but then I would leave,” Zachary remembers.
Finally, I stayed in IHRP for six weeks and they showed me a different perspective of the steps (the AA 12-step program) at a different level. At first, to completely just give up and follow a program was really hard. I always want to do things my way and I didn’t know that I needed to try someone else’s direction. Since then, it’s been everything they always told me it would be. In May, I will have been sober for four years,” he said.
A combination of experienced counseling, an open welcome and Zachary’s will made the difference.
“I made it because people kept telling me that I could be the one in 100. The counselors never judged me, they never gave up on me. Whenever I came back, they were always welcoming. They didn’t talk down to me because I was coming back over and over, they just kept telling me what to do,” he said.
Today, Zachary is working as a Recovery Support Specialist in the IHRP program. He helps new clients navigate the program, taking them to group sessions and meetings, and supports them as they get started in their own recovery.
At 20 years old, addicted and five months pregnant, Jessica Alcala felt broken and lost. Heroin aggravated her life-long struggle with asthma to the point that she couldn’t walk, and she landed in the hospital. “The doctor didn’t judge me – he suggested that I try a methadone recovery so I wouldn’t affect the baby,” Jessica said.
Jessica called the Center’s Opioid Addiction Treatment (OATS) program, and within a week or two, she was receiving treatment and enrolled in the Mommies Program, a special unit specifically designed for parents and expectant mothers who struggle with substance use.
“I was scared out of my mind and didn’t know what to do. I had two counselors — one in Mommies and the other in OATS. Both counselors were very positive, very supportive, just trying to help me out the best they could.”
Through long, honest conversations with the experienced counselors at The Center, Jessica learned that she had developed an insatiable need to put everyone else’s needs before hers. With a child on the way, she needed to reset her priorities.”
The Center is very comprehensive in their support. When I was worried about my case with Child Protective Services (CPS), my Mommies counselor called a special staff meeting. After that meeting, she told me that it would take a couple of months, but my CPS case could get dropped. I realized that if I stayed in the program and continued to improve, everything would work out.”
Six years later, Jessica is a Licensed Chemical Dependency intern, working in the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). She is in college, pursuing a degree. As an artist, she plans to establish an art therapy practice. And her baby?”
Today, my son is six years old and I wake up every morning feeling happy. There is a happiness you can have without relying on a substance, and I feel blessed to be alive. The Center taught me how to be a better parent, and encouraged me in so many ways as I got free of heroin,” Jessica says.
“I want people to know that the people here really care. They are so positive; they have seen it work. People are living the rest of their lives happy and sober. It changed my life, it really did.”
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