The LifeBridge Health blog brings you SHARP Stories, which highlight the ways that the Sinai Hospital Addictions Recovery Program (SHARP) has helped many people reclaim their lives. Here is Tanya R.'s story, starting with a poem she wrote about SHARP and how it benefited her.
S- Saving my life, because I forgot what life was like.
H- Hope, to change my ways.
A- Always, needing and wanting more.
R- Revive, through SHARP I’ve come alive!
P- Promise, but not the empty ones from before.
SHARP has helped me flourish by giving me nourishment to feed my mind, body and soul.
What was your "lightbulb moment" that brought you to SHARP?
I was in Sinai’s emergency room, where they told me I had an abscess on my arm and would have to stay. I started thinking that I didn’t have anywhere to go when I left, but to the abandoned house where I was staying. It was time to get myself together. I asked about treatment and they referred me to SHARP. I had been in treatment a lot of times and was on a methadone program a few years prior, but I was still using because it didn’t seem like they cared; so why would I? SHARP was different. I knew some people at SHARP and they talked about structure and that is what I needed.
What were your goals when you entered the program?
I wanted to stay clean, get my own house, and have my kids live with me, not my mother. I wanted to stay clean, get my own house, and have my kids live with me, not my mother. I missed time with my adult daughter, but my son still needed me. I struggled with it for a while, but my counselor was tough, but supportive. I kept talking to my no-nonsense counselor, my no-nonsense therapist and the psychiatrist and they helped me work though it. My sister helped me by letting me stay with her. When she gave me a key to her house it really helped because I knew I was changing. My counselor gave me some information about a residential program for women and I got my own house. It was a good thing too, because I found out I was pregnant with my youngest son. I got my wish to raise my son and then I was blessed with another child that I could raise the right way; clean and sober.
How did the program help you reach those goals?
My counselor told me I deserved more. I kept seeing people at the clinic that were achieving things and changing their lives for the better. Going to groups and learning how to trust people, how to lean on people for help, I began to gain confidence in myself. At first I didn’t want to let the staff down, but then I didn’t want to let myself down. I was patient of the month and recognized at the patient recognition ceremony by the staff. They told me how much I had changed and how proud they were of my progress. All this helped me even more to take pride in myself and my recovery. I decided to do something on my own to continue to build my self esteem. I found an educational program and am working on my GED and they are helping me to find a job.
What are your goals for five years from now? Ten years from now?
In five years, I plan to be employed, own a home and have a lump sum of money for my son’s college education. In 10 years, I plan to own my own business and hire people in recovery. I want to be living a good life with my children and grandchildren.
What would you say to anyone who was in the place you were when you first came to SHARP?
I would say, take a chance. Unlike using, this is not a gamble with your life. You can always go back and your pain will be refunded free of charge. I would tell them to open up and let your counselor help you. You can’t get help if you don’t ask for it and SHARP will make sure you get all the help you need. SHARP wants to repair lives. Look at where I am now and all I have achieved. If you really want help, this is the place to be. I have been here for five years and I am really grateful, thankful, blessed.
- submitted by Jessica Formicola, clinical manager of SHARP
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