Brought to San Antonio during Hurricane Harvey, Frederick Hornsby is a self-described “cool, laid-back person who has been through a lot.” Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Frederick and his siblings grew up around drugs— his mother abused them and his father sold them. It was just a matter of time before Frederick, 34, began using himself. In 2016, the unthinkable happened when his brother was violently murdered — a tragedy that left Frederick reeling with pain, anger, hatred and severe suicidal tendencies coupled with addiction.

Then, on August 25, 2017, the unthinkable happened again when the costliest and most devastating Category 4 hurricane on record came barreling toward the Texas coastline, inundating hundreds of thousands of homes and displacing more than 30,000 people. While Harvey was unleashing harsh winds, torrential rain and massive flooding, Frederick, who was one of thousands of San Antonio-bound evacuees, had his own internal hurricane brewing, and it was about to make landfall.

It took the trained eye of a CHCS clinical practitioner to notice that in a crowd of a thousand panic-stricken strangers huddled together at a local hurricane shelter, Frederick had something going on beneath the surface. “She’d seen it in my face that I was bothered by something— bothered by my brother’s death. I was tired and just thought she was somebody trying to hear my story, and do nothing about it, so I put her card in my pocket,” said Frederick when describing the interaction that changed his life. “When I left the shelter, I went to stay in a hotel. I was sitting there alone getting high, ready to give up, and then I found the card, so I called The Center and they got me here,” he added.

September 26 is when it all changed. Frederick had tried detox once before, but relapsed within 20 minutes of leaving the program. “I wasn’t ready that time, but I’m ready now,” he stated. Frederick’s road to recovery began with the Integrated Treatment Program (ITP), a residential program that provides a therapeutic environment for homeless people who are diagnosed with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. Additionally, Frederick utilized The Center’s transitional services, including Residential Detoxification and the Crisis Care Center over a three-month period. “The treatment was unbelievable. It was awesome. I tip my hat to The Center for Health Care Services because it saved my life,” said Frederick.

The treatment and recovery programs helped Frederick achieve real, positive change in his life, but it was the people — caring and compassionate, who, by believing in him, taught Frederick to never give up on himself. “The staff is amazing. I wanted to leave detox one day and they would tell me ‘no, you’re not leaving; you’re going to stay right here.’ So I stayed. On a different day, when I wanted to stand in front of a train, they came and got me and brought me to the Crisis Unit. They walked the journey with me. That’s how I knew I could trust them,” said Frederick.

But the real change in Frederick’s life came when he learned how to forgive the people who took his brother’s life that tragic night. “I didn’t forgive them because I wanted to, but because I needed to for myself to move on with the program, and to continue having blessings in my life,” he said. “Now I’m sober. I can focus. I can be honest with myself and other people, and I feel like I can help people in their own recovery.” More than just a self- described “cool, laid-back person who has been through a lot,” Frederick went on to add that “Since I’ve been with The Center for Health Care Services, I FEEL amazing.”

On Friday, January 19, 2018, just four months after Frederick placed that fateful call to CHCS, he found himself doing something he never thought possible — graduating from ITP. Post-graduation, Frederick is still engaged in CHCS services and has successfully made the transition to Adult Behavioral Health Services where he has already met with his new provider. Frederick continues to work with his recovery coach, is actively seeking new opportunities with treatment and recovery programs, has promising job prospects, and will fulfill his dream of going back to school at St. Philip’s College where he is currently enrolled for summer classes.

The once raging storm has finally subsided for Frederick who now lives to tell his very personal account of love, loss, and great determination in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. “Since I’ve been here over the past four months, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to love again. I’ve learned how to forgive. I’ve learned how to be honest. You must have hope and faith that it can get better. I started believing that, and now, everything is happening. There is truly a light at the end of this tunnel.”