Hear Our Impact
Read stories about how the Recovery Center of Hamilton County has changed lives throughout the years.
Brian S. | Former Member | Current Staff
I’ve started and stopped writing this essay several times, never quite feeling like I am able to express what the Recovery Center of Hamilton County, from the staff to the volunteers to those people like me attending classes, has really meant to me, what it’s done for my mental well-being, and what’s it continues to do as I rebuild my life. So I'm going to shut down my inner editor and just do what I do best... wing it.
I’ve often said that my life cratered before I started taking an active role in my recovery. It was literally the bottom. I was stagnating, I saw little hope for the future, I just wasn’t sexy anymore. The years I spent languishing in my depression, as everything in my life from my career to my marriage to my inability to stop it piling, beat me down. It was like I had smashed the desert floor like Wile E. Coyote. The puff of dust was still clearing when I discovered the Recovery Center of Hamilton County.
There’s not much I remember about the first weeks of classes that I took. I spent most of them crying and journaling, hoping the facilitator wouldn’t call on me or look my way. As time passed, I started getting more involved in the classes and started feeling the first nudging of flourishing. Before long, people were greeting me, I was making connections with peers and staff. As one session turned to another, I began becoming more involved with the Recovery Center. I became an unpaid spokesperson for it, telling people what it has done for me, what its mission is, and how valuable it has been in my recovery.
There are a lot of people that I met on this journey that hold a special place in my heart. Pam, who was working the front desk the day I came to tour and sign up for classes, Jeanie and Debra, Chris, our effervescent fearless leader, and Maria, who never lets a setback dissolve the smile on her face. Most especially, I’m thankful for Bill Brown. Bill listened to me when I was at my worst, has been my biggest supporter, and a good influence here. He saw some of my raw strengths and steered me towards opportunities here at the Recovery Center that would benefit from my skills.
Without the Recovery Center, I am not sure I would feel as good as I do these days. Before, I was struggling to make it through. Now, I’m working, I’m returning back to the person I was, and I’m giving back to the Recovery Center through my volunteering efforts.
This place has truly changed my life.
Alyson D. | Current Member
Thank you so very much of for the “Louise C. Theis” Memorial Award for Excellence in Pursuing Wellness and Recovery Goals. It is the most meaningful award/certificate/diploma I have ever received.
It has more meaning to me than even my college graduation diploma. It took me 9 years to earn an undergraduate degree and it was extremely difficult in many ways. But the work I have done to do my best to recover and keep recovering from my illnesses, has been so much more challenging. The fact that I am alive today is a huge thing.
The Recovery Center has meant life to me. We are all so lucky to have such an amazing place in our city. I would not have made the progress I have made without the Recovery Center.
Learning some sign language at the Recovery Center was the start to helping me get my speech back. Throughout my life: pictures, feelings, movements, shapes, colors, and patterns have been the things that have “made sense” in my brain. The way most people learn: through words and numbers and conversation, has been much more difficult for me.
The sign language movements and how we were taught we could add emotion to the movements is what helped my brain to start to “click” more. I began speaking with my speech therapist while I did the signs with my hands and arms. The signs helped me to think of the words that I wanted to say.
The doctors then suggested that I try singing along with some of my favorite songs. The doctors showed me a way that my device could slow down the songs, so I didn’t feel so rushed in trying to get my mouth to say the words.
Every day when I think about something I would like to say, and even write, it is the signs from sign language that come first to me in my big up head brain thinking part. And then that is what helps me to say the words or write them down.
Regaining my balance enough to be able to get rid of the wheelchair, then the walker, and then the cane took a lot of physical therapy. But the support I got from the Recovery Center staff and members gave me the hope I needed to “keep at it.”
My peers at the center have always showed me compassion and respect. And during the time when I used a wheelchair and could not speak, that compassion and respect showed me that my life was still worth something.
Developing the brain illnesses that I have has meant a lot of struggle in my life. My life has become very different from what others had thought it would be, and even from what I thought it would be. There have been days when my body and mind have been so exhausted, in so much pain, and with such severe confusion. And during these times I did not know how mentally or physically I would be able to keep on.
But I have. And the struggle has given me such a unique view of the world and life. I see things so deeply. And I have learned things that have such meaning. And although I still feel lost from myself, I am starting to find a self again. I believe that had I not gotten so sick, I may have been even more lost from myself for my entire life.
So, from the deepest place inside of me; I want to say “thank you” again.
I recently made a soul collage page in the Soul Collage class at the Recovery Center. I want to include with this letter, the writing that I did to go along with that collage. It describes a big part of my recovery journey, and I thought you might like to read it.
Soul Collage class has also been a huge part of my recovery. When speaking was so difficult, it allowed me an artistic way to find the words inside that were so lost. I will attach to this letter the writing I did to this recent collage.
Blessings to All the Staff and All the Members at the Recovery Center. You have really meant LIFE to me.
David H. | I.T Administrator
I wonder sometimes if the members realize that I get as much, or more, out of facilitating groups as they do. The recovery center is a place where I feel like I belong. I don’t feel judged here. I witness strangers showing kindness and compassion to each other on a regular basis. I worked hard to avoid being symptomatic before I started here, and now, thanks to the recovery center, the classes, and my peers, I've learned that being well is more than just avoiding being sick; it means living the best life you’re able to live. My peers inspire me to step outside my comfort zone and think beyond my illness. That’s how I define hope; believing that life can be better. The recovery center has definitely inspired hope in me and I’m going to keep facilitating for as long as I’m able in the hope that I can repay that gift to someone else, the realization that they’re not alone and life can get better..
Emily S. | Intern & Staff
I began my experience at the Recovery Center this past summer. I was working there 4 days a week as an ‘Events and Development Coordinator-Intern.’ Immediately, I was in awe of how wonderful the Recovery Center was. I was welcomed right away and began forming relationships with the members and staff like I had known them for years. The atmosphere is so peaceful, non-judgmental, and calm. It just feels like a safe place. As the summer passed, I realized how much I was going to miss the Recovery Center when my internship ended. Luckily, Chris (Executive Director) and Bill (Program Manager) invited me to facilitate a few classes in the following session. I was so excited! I liked the Recovery Center so much, I decided to stay! I have learned so much about my field of study, mental illnesses, and recovery, as well as myself during my time at the Recovery Center. I could not be more grateful for the support I have received from everybody there"
Steve, Current Member
Hi, I am a person with a mental illness. When I was 22 I was diagnosed with a Schizoaffective disorder. A year later I attempted suicide and have been in the Lewis Center twice. Ten years ago I was in the hospital for suicidal ideation. When I got out I realized I could not make it alone, I needed daily support. I have benefitted not only by the specific information provided by each class, but by the intangibles such as boundaries, social skills, self-respect, courtesy toward others and finding happiness and purpose.
Specific things I have learned is information on mental illness, computer skills, cognitive skills (Building a Buddha Brain), social skills (Coming Out of Your Shell), relationships (Daring Greatly), and classes I just enjoy (Healing Though the Arts.) I can express myself better and am more centered. I teach a class on Herbs and Supplements and I am more decisive and less paranoid and obsessive.
I’ve been going every day for a few years now. Some of the classes I have taken are Building a Buddha Brain, Information on Mental Illness, Yoga, Arts and Clay Sculpture.
Pam, Current Member
I started a year ago after being invited by one of the staff members to try the Recovery Center. From the first class I took I felt comfortable and at ease. I had been volunteering at a recreation center for six years. I answered phones, gave tours and welcomed clients. It was a dead end job - I had nothing to be motivated for. I needed something different. I came to the Recovery Center without reservation. The first day I felt at home. Classes were stimulating and the variety of classes made it hard to choose. The staff helped me pick classes that were focused on my needs and desires. I even took classes for fun. The class workbooks were wonderful. I began to understand myself better. I learned from everyone here - how to handle my illness with new understanding. I've always felt comfortable with peers here. I have a routine established to come to classes. I feel worthy again. I feel strong and committed to my peers and staff members. This has been one of the best experiences I've had. I truly value the Recovery Center - it has touched my soul
Kenya, Former Member
The Recovery Center helped me build self confidence. Before the Recovery Center I used to be a real introvert with a serious Anime addiction. I used to not go out because I was bullied a lot in school. Because of Taekwondo classes and the friends I've made over the past year the Recovery Center has helped me deal with my addiction and I am now a "social butterfly"
David, Current Member
I'm grateful to the Recovery Center for many reasons. I'm grateful for the job, I'm grateful for the wonderful staff and members, and I'm even grateful for the challenges that I've faced along the way. Working at the RCHC has been an integral part of my recovery. It's a wonderful place where people have the opportunity to grow as individuals by learning, socializing, expressing themselves, all in a clean, safe, comfortable, accepting environment. The lines between staff, volunteers and members are blury. It truly is an environment where we learn from, and support each other. I can't imagine a better tool in the recovery process.
I'm a former client at the Recovery Center. I wanted to let you know that the Recovery Center has done wonders for me. Thanks to my involvement there, I felt more ready and able to rejoin the community. As a result, I now have a full-time job at a downtown insurance company. I am off of disability for the first time in over ten years!!! I feel so very good about myself. Thank you so much for making this huge leap possible. Without the Recovery Center, I wouldn't have this job today.