Here is a conversation with Shavon E., a client of the Project Contact Outpatient (PCO) program, about her experiences in treatment.

How long have you been enrolled in the Project Contact Outpatient (PCO) Program?

I’ve been enrolled in that program since April 7th of this year.

Where you enrolled in the PRIDE Site residential program before that?

Yes, I was in the residential program before that since September 23rd, 2018.

How did you initially end up coming to the Center for Recovery and Wellness (CRW) in the first place?

Things in my life were just unmanageable, it was getting worse and worse. My drug usage was spinning out of control. So first I went to detox and then rehab, and someone at the rehab told me about CRW and how it was a good program. She got one of my counselors, they set me up for an interview, and that’s how I ended up here.

How has your experience been in general with the outpatient program?

I have a very good rapport with my Counselor Beth. I haven’t met her in person because of COVID but we have a good relationship. I feel like I can speak to her about anything. She gives me hope. It’s good because when you’re in the program you have this safety net, you’re going to get drug tests, you know that there are certain rules you have to follow and things like that. And you have the people in there to talk to. But when you get out the program it’s a different story. I’m in Narcotics Anonymous (NA) but if you’re not connected and if you’re not in the program, you need someone to talk to, because life shows up when you come out the program. There’s no taking a drug test, there’s no safety net anymore. You either want to recover or you don’t. So it’s good that I’m in outpatient where I have someone to talk to about the things I go through in my daily life.

It sounds like Beth is a really good counselor, what do you think makes her good at her job?

Beth has very good listening skills. And this is not my first time around the block but this is my first time actually surrendering and actually wanting to recover for me, not my kids or my parents. I tell her certain things, for example I told her that I felt like I wasn’t doing my step work as often as I should, things like that. And she would remind me like did you do your step work this week, or how far along are you? I’m still in the process of getting back to my kids and she would just offer me hope. That Shavon, you’re going to get your kids back if you do not use drugs, right? You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. So just know that, if you don’t use drugs and if you keep following the guidelines of the agency you will get your kids back, and that just gives me hope. In this pandemic, my business is off and on, they stopped all my visits because they want the kids to be safe. And so I was going through some feelings. Like I’m clean, I did inpatient, I’m doing outpatient and I still can’t go to court and things like that. And she just gives me hope that everything’s going to be okay.

Have there been any particular aspects of the outpatient program or before that the residential program that you found especially helpful?

When I was in the inpatient program, they had a group called seeking safety. It was an allwomen group run by a counselor named Adriane and I found that group very helpful. I felt like I could speak about some personal things that women go through. And I felt that Adriane was very supportive, she was another counselor that I could talk to about anything. For me, the counselors were very supportive of the changes that was happening with me while I was in the program and I think that was very helpful. Because it’s not just getting clean from the drugs, but it’s the personality, it’s the behaviors, it’s different things when you’re getting clean. It’s not just being abstinent from the drug. And so you go through different changes, your mind tells you this and you think about these thoughts and they were very helpful with that process.

What was the idea of seeking safety?

That group was for women to get together and talk about their feelings, like what are they going through, what are their thoughts? We talked a lot about plans for the future, what are our goals. Some of us had kids, some didn’t. There were some transgenders, and we just talked about things that we couldn’t talk about when we had groups with the guys.

Is there anything that you think makes CRW unique?

I went to one other program before and I happened to complete that program. That program was also okay. Sometimes when you go to a program, even outpatient or detox, a lot of people work at these places because it’s a job. That’s how you feel. And I feel like at CRW, it’s not just a job, the staff really care.

Would you like to share any closing thoughts about anything?

I just want to say that I’m truly grateful for CRW because here I am now. I’m going on a year clean, I was in residential for six months, and I never could see this far. Like I said, this is not my first go-around. In 2010, I completed a program and I tried to do it on my own but I lost my parents. And for years after the program I didn’t know what to do, so I did what I know how to do best and that was using it. And now I know that I don’t have to use no matter what, I can go through life struggles without using. And so I first got that there at CRW, so I’m just grateful.